Post Natal Depression:

Ghostrider, my first-ever single came out in April 2014. I literally broke my back to get it out. Having no single was like being an actor with no headshot/profile photo on my portfolio for people to get an idea of just who I am and what I’m capable of doing. Plus I had twins!

Now here is some interesting data for you. As of this afternoon, the total number of Ghostrider digital sales since April 20th 2014 is…

45 MP3 sales and 280 online streams, (meaning Spotify etc and excluding the four and a half thousand views currently on YouTube). That’s it! I did sell out a couple of hundred Ghostrider CDs at my recent gigs in Australia and New Zealand though. They were the first and last batch to date as making CDs isn’t cheap.

I am my own worst critic so even though it was hard to get this music out and it wasn’t made in an expensive studio, I was very disappointed about one thing, considering my large network of friends and contemporaries, that I hadn’t created something compelling enough to make people want to share it or buy it (for less than a dollar!) Ouch! That speaks for itself in my books. Plus as they say, your friends are not necessarily your fans. Although we do live in an age where people are so distracted and don’t really buy music anymore, why should they when they can get it for free!? That’s a story for another day.

We live in an age where the music field has been levelled. When an indie artist releases a new song, the listener is expecting something as good as Coldplay’s new single. I have some great early recordings that Coldplay released before they were signed, they are also pretty raw and stripped down, back then, you had time to develop behind the scenes. Nowadays, You have to grow in full view of the world at large, learn, develop, release and keep doing it till you one day become as compelling to share as a cat in a hat video!

I am however, still proud of my first single because…

1. Ghostrider (Radio Edit) :

This was a difficult baby! I was using old recording software which is like being on Windows 2000 in 2015! It made things 10 times harder. Never mind the 11 months that it took me to save up for a new laptop after the old one curled up and died! That’s also why the song sounds a little retro and lacks in something but I’ve since saved up and upgraded my software 🙂

The song was written in Zimbabwe in 2011 and subsequently recorded whilst on the move in…

  • Harare Zimbabwe (demos, electric guitars, drums and bass – 2011 and 2012)
  • Antwerp Belgium (I redid the acoustic guitars – Spring 2013)
  • London UK (Vocals recorded whilst sitting on the bed holding the mic in my hand, as having a mic stand can often be a luxury if you live out of a suitcase with no base of your own. Ironically, the bedroom in question is behind Abbey Road Studios in St John’s Wood London – Summer 2013)
  • Amsterdam Holland (I programmed the twinkly synths in the verses, note by note whilst living in a rodent-infested flat in Jordaan… Yikes! Still better than being on the streets! – August 2013)
  • Los Angeles USA (Synths, editing and mixing while attending a music industry convention – September 2013)
  • Victoria Falls Zimbabwe (final touches and mixing – January 2014)
  • London UK (Final mixing and mastering – March 2013)
  • Copenhagen Denmark (I sat and edited the music video in one 12-hour session)

 

2. Ghostrider (Deep-Space Edit) :

The second twin came a lot easier! I started tracking the guitars in Victoria Falls in January 2014 and finished the rest of the recording in Copenhagen in February 2014. It is also a more stripped back acoustic version so not as much maintenance was involved. I also edited the music video in a similar fashion, I think I was still in Copenhagen…

 

Post Natal Depression

Now after all this, you can imagine how broken and depressed I was when I finally launched my new ‘babies’, spending many sleepless nights in South Holland, making music videos, designing my websites and all the various banners for social media, making the art work and talking to the distribution company, who did such a crap job (again, like in 2012) that I have since left them! They couldn’t do what they were simply paid to do!

I create, design and come up with all my own artwork:

Ghostrider Banner

After all this, with no money left for any marketing, I’m lying on the floor broken, my babies are finally out… and nobody even knows about them or seems to care! Wait?! I’m exhausted and you’re saying that the work only begins now?! Now is when the marketing campaign begins. Sending the song out to various media outlets etc. Most of which don’t want to know you until you’re somewhat successful or connected to the right people.

Captain’s Log | May 15, 2014:

 

Then by that afternoon, a plan had been made. Onward to Germany!

Captain’s Log 2 | May 15, 2014:

 

This is where the signed bands get to win. They make the music and pass it onto the companies whose job is to get it out to the world. Radio Interviews, Radio Play, Blogs, Magazines, Live Tours supporting bigger artists, Jools Holland, Super Bowl Halftime Shows, Song Placements on TV ads, Posters on Billboards and the London Underground etc. To release Rihanna’s song Diamonds, they spent about one million US Dollars in the America on marketing that song alone! People need to know it’s out and in such an oversubscribed market, it’s hard to get a word in sideways!

So on with the mission! To keep making music and stay ‘game fit’ whilst working towards catching up with myself online, to finally release something that represents me now and reveals the magical moments I enjoy internationally in the real world, today!

Ryan

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How Said Name Was Birthed:

Sky Divers

Where to begin? … with the name of course.

African Astronauts:

I am an artist; a singer, a songwriter, a producer, a multi-instrumentalist, but when it comes down to it, I am a singer. I love singing and that’s what I want to do… Sing!

For me, singing is meditation, it is fun, it is healing, it is prayer, it is self-expression, it is my connection with other people, it is my release… Singing is my true passion!

When I meet people who ask what I do for a living, they often offer advice as people usually want to help. Advice that often demonstrates their lack of understanding of the business as it is today, which is not like it used to be, as with most industries, since the advent of the amazing internet. I often term this as BM (Before the Matrix existed) and AM (After the Matrix came to exist).

In an attempt to explain what it’s like being an artist today, barring the very, very lucky few, I say ‘humour me for a minute’…

Twenty years ago, if you wanted to be an astronaut, you’d have to be one of the  lucky few chosen and capable ones, who were trained up by NASA and got to fly to the moon! Like… Wowzers!

Today, if you want to go to the moon, you have to build your own rocket! I mean, figure out how oxygen tanks work, learn about rocket science, chemical, electrical and space engineering, figure out how to build a crapper that works in zero gravity and so much more!

You just wanted to fly the thing to space, after all you’re an astronaut, that’s your chosen career. Well, not until you build a rocket by yourself matey! The sky’s full of them! Plus, you don’t have the zillions of dollars in budget or the multitudes of genius-level people that are behind such NASA projects.

Then after years of not giving up, of trial and error, of sweat and tears, of heart ache and many amazing moments too of course, you finally land your little ol’ rocket on the moon and there you find the music industry guys who say “Ah, welcome to the moon, now that you’re here, let’s talk business!”

CAP3B

One of the main points is that since the internet leveled the playing field, pretty much anyone can dream of, and actively pursue a career in music/the arts when before, it was only the few super stars who got to enjoy such privileges as having their songs recorded, with fans in different countries having access to those recordings. Now comes the problem of a very oversubscribed industry (understatement of the year) so this journey is not for the faint-hearted, especially if you have no financial support and come from a continent like Africa which is about as far from the Pop music ecosystem as the moon itself!

So yes, people think the idea of a home-grown Zimbabwean aiming for the same job that John Mayer or Ed Sheeran has is absurd! Just as ludicrous an idea as Africa having a space program. I must be a nutcase! Well, welcome to the mad house! lol

I am a fully capable musician who lacks the benefits of having grown up in the main ‘incubators’ of today’s Pop world, whether it be London, New York or Los Angeles etc. Where people like Adele and Amy Winehouse get to attend Arts Schools that can connect you to the elusive gatekeepers of this industry once you graduate. I can’t even afford to pay rent most months never mind consider such formal avenues!

So my chosen path has been the longer road involving self-development which labels don’t really get involved with nowadays. As one industry guy in LA told me when I played him my demo,

We don’t really do development deals anymore. It’s like trying to sell a half-cooked meal, so we go for the full ready-to-go meals, the cream at the top, which is in abundance (thanks to the internet). You have great songs and a great voice. You need a producer to make your songs radio ready…

This was a huge setback seeing that good producers want to be paid (like musicians do too)… I’m usually living off the smell of an oil rag!  Where am I going to meet someone willing to donate time and resources for free or swaps?! This is where I decided, fine, if I have to learn to cook the whole shebang myself… challenge accepted! This way, I never have to go hungry ‘creatively’ until the right connections are made.

That was in late 2009 so it feels great to be standing in my metaphoric kitchen that is now in pretty good shape!

What I also see, is my unique African background filled with optimism and resourcefulness,  coupled with my unusual story as being more of a strength than a weakness, especially once this rocket really starts to gather speed.

Most of the World seems yet to catch on to that general notion of the talent being harboured south of the Equator. Some contemporary artists are often tempted to hide their African connection as a result, but onward I fly, my personal journey is well underway but my best efforts are yet to be seen. I’m only just getting started and I hope you enjoy the ride as much I do 🙂

Ready for launch!

Ryan

Ryan Koriya | Ghostrider (Deep-Space Edit):

Ghostrider is my first (twin) single released independently in 2014 and in ‘rocket’ terms. I built the whole thing myself doing all of the following: Songwriting, Vocals, Music Production, Studio Engineering, Mixing, Performing of Instruments, Programming, Music Studio Editing and Music Video Editing! I managed to save up enough to pay someone to Master the track for me (Phew!)

This was recorded when I was touring in Copenhagen Denmark in February 2014.

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