Although she’s been busy with live shows, writing, and more, the wait is over. Australian-born musician Rhia has released new music for us and it’s better than ever. Her new single “Fire” is an electro-pop anthem built on soaring vocals and melodic hooks that you’ll immediately want to put on repeat.
I got the chance to talk to Rhia about how she first got into music, how she would describe her music without using genre names, her songwriting process for her single “Fire” and so much more! Keep reading to see what she had to say!
Tell me a little bit about how you first got into making and performing music.
At 10, I started doing professional recording sessions as a vocalist for other artists. My first performance was at 10 also, and because the community around me was so supportive and I enjoyed it so much, I just kept going and things kept building from there. I started writing and performing my own stuff quite young, but I think the first song I ever sang in a big performance was by Mary Mary. Can’t believe I remember that [laughs].
Was there a specific moment or person that made you realize that music is what you wanted to pursue professionally?
To be honest, when I first started doing the recording sessions, I was already set on it being a professional career, and it was a part of my identity by then. I think I decided a few years before that. I used to make my best friend write songs with me. She kept saying, “but I want to be an actresssss…” [laughs].
You’ve been busy but it’s been a short while since you’ve released new music. What made now the right time to release new material? What did you learn about yourself, both personally and as an artist, in that time?
Yes – I’d been very particular about waiting until I felt it was the right song to release. I’d been doing so many live shows during that time and writing for other artists and I just started to feel like I didn’t resonate with my previous songs as much. To be honest, it was a natural progression of how everything unfolded, including “Fire”, and the other songs and collaborations I’m releasing. “Fire” was born from a random Instagram follow. The Break Science tracks also unfolded in the same way. I’d been listening to “Cruise Control” like an anthem for the whole year. And then Adam Deitch coincidentally reached out and asked me to collaborate with him.
I just felt as though I was happy with where “Fire” was at. There are still things I’d change, but I am so proud of it. I was excited to release it.
In that time, I learned an astronomical amount of things about myself and my artistry. One thing I learned was that I’m the kind of person who would prefer to take the peaceful route (whether you have to or not) when something is bothering you, but then you find you can easily end up becoming a little too silent when you need to speak up and openly look out for yourself. I began to pay attention to choosing my battles, and trying to find a stronger voice when I really needed to stand up for myself. I learned to trust myself more too. I’m incredibly grateful for the ability that I had to grow.
I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey to listeners with their music. You classify your sound as electro-pop, but if you had to describe it without using genre names, how would you describe it?
That’s an awesome question — thank you for asking that. To me, it sounds ambient, cinematic and emotional. It’s simple, moody, and there’s a “release,” if you will. It’s very rhythmic and I wanted to make sure there was a lot of bass and sub bass, which feels good. I think, at the same time, the simplicity of the production is also complemented by having quite a lot of rhythmic detail in it. For example, how a breath I take before a line is corresponding to a rhythm included in the production. You might only notice if you’re listening with headphones. I’m a big fan of attention to detail.
Let’s talk about your latest single, “Fire”. What inspired this song?
I’d been paying attention to my relationship with people and scenarios that hold you back or squash you. It had been a really hard few years in my personal life because I became the only surviving member of my family, other than my Grandma, who was a mother to me growing up. I took on a caring role for her and it got to a point where it was absolutely squashing who I was. I cared so much, but it got to the point that it held me back because I wanted to help. It put a damper on my personality and I felt like I couldn’t speak at certain points. I realized how relationships had done this in the past as well, and I began to reassess things.
“Fire” was inspired by those experiences, and it resonated with the need for myself, or anyone experiencing something similar, to take back their strength when something is diminishing your sense of self. It could be anything: work, love, friends, family, a scenario, or even yourself; it’s so easy to find patterns of doubt and negativity that we partake in without realizing. “Fire” is about finding the strength for freedom from that.
What was the songwriting process like for this song specifically?
I first took different passes on the mic to find the melody for the song. It was quick and then I developed it from there. I wrote the lyrics and then I actually re-wrote the song another two times because I really wasn’t feeling like the first two concepts were hitting the nail on the head for me. From there once I had the right lyrics, I recorded and moved on to the editing the vocals.
Do you tend to write by yourself or do you like collaborating with other writers and artists in co-writes?
I definitely prefer to write by myself. Co-writing or writing with other musicians is an awesome way to bring different layers that might not be present if you work autonomously. I like to do both depending on the situation, but I definitely have a very strong focus on my approach to writing solo. Writing with other musicians is equally as fun though.
Was there any major changes to “Fire” that happened once you got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?
We just ran into a lot of annoying issues, i.e. getting one sound right and then tweaking something and losing all the goodness. It was super frustrating.
I know you’ve been working on songs for another release. Is that project finalized enough yet where you know how many songs are on it and what people can expect from it?
Absolutely. They’re singles, and I can’t tell you how excited I am for them to come out; they actually just won ATM Awards too! Listeners can expect anthemic electronic pop with soul. There are two singles so far with more to come (on this project specifically). There are also other releases with Break Science, and collaborations with Borham Keys and more.
What are some music industry-related goals or benchmarks that you’re aiming to reach in your career over the next couple of years?
To keep building – touring, and more releases. I would eventually like to get to the point where my music is honored at the Grammy’s, and keep growing and learning.
Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner nerd so what is something that you’re currently nerding out about?
100%. I’m obsessed with and consistently nerding out about audio engineering, mixing and mastering. I got into pro-audio in 2008 and I love it just as much as being an artist, songwriter and musician.