I have been lucky enough to speak with the fabulous Riva Taylor...
about her new single, Mr Right, and its story. I ask whether there is too much pressure put on women to be settled and in relationships; what she has planned as we head into 2019 and a few albums that are important to her.
Taylor tells me about the musicians who inspired her to go into the business; a precious musical memory and whether she gets much chance to chill away from things – she ends the interview by selecting a great track.
Hi, Riva. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi! It’s been a good week. Christmas festivities in full swing; planning some exciting things for the New Year. Celebrating with friends and forward motion - enjoy both a lot! (Smiles).
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Hi. I’m Riva! A singer-songwriter from London. I’ve been singing from before I can remember and making records since I was twelve.
Mr Right is your new single. What is the tale behind the song?
This is a song about music and men. Let’s say the song stuck, the ‘Mr’ didn't.
It is about the constant that is music in my life. Something that has always been there; a positive force. The song personifies music as a more ideal man. It draws a comparison between the inconsistency and unpredictability of relationships and the constant joy that can be found in music! There is a reference to Adele's Someone Like You in the second verse. The listener could substitute music for any of their passions in life and the song still works (I hope!). If they’re really lucky, they could insert the name of their partner!
Given the relationship demands and expectations suggested in the title; do you think there is too much pressure on women to settle for someone?
Wow. I could write an essay on this! We are definitely living through an interesting time with some significant changes and shifting attitudes in this area. Women seem to be challenging social norms and expectations more than ever. While there are some undeniable pressures for women by a certain age to settle, I don’t think there is too much with a growing weight placed on gender equality, choice and scientific advances throwing all sorts of interesting questions and options into the ring for women.
I love a podcast and there are constant questions surrounding ideas of polyamory, true love and happiness. Do we need to find a ‘Mr. Right’ to achieve our own self-satisfaction and happiness? I know for many friends, happiness has come in the form of settling down. For others, it’s been understanding and accepting that they don’t need to or there is no rush. There seems to be a greater understanding of our choices when it comes to the quest to achieve our own fulfilment potential!
Do you think there will be more material coming next year?
A whole album’s worth! I can’t wait to share what I’ve been developing the past few years with everyone.
Are there particular artists that inspired you to get into music?
Into music the first time...so many and, at different points in my career as I effectively re-entered music after a pause from it all when I was in my early-twenties. In fact, as a kid on the West End stage, the beginning for me was Streisand and the old Hollywood golden girls who glamorised performance (for me) and made me want to get up there. As I grew up a bit, Annie Lennox, Kate Bush and Sade were all playing in the house when I was a kid and I was obsessed with their music videos and live performances.
They opened my eyes to a world of artistic individuality - their music was as original and authentic as their image felt. And there are still artists who emerge and inspire me to continue and explore new avenues and options for my career. Evolution is so important for any artist - Adele being one.
Do you already have plans for 2019?
I’m releasing more music. I’m excited to be heading over to the States to do some more writing early next year - although the album is done I think it’s important to never stop if you’re feeling creative! I’m also really excited to be starting a songwriting night at The Roundhouse which I’ve been helping to organise showcasing some of the amazing songwriting talents we have in the U.K.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Tough one. I’m going to give you a few! Standing on the Twickenham pitch about to sing the National Anthem - the buzz; there were BIG flames flying everywhere and so much suspense.
My debut at the Royal Albert hall and the nervousness and excitement associated with the importance of that; especially knowing Prince Charles was in the audience.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Coldplay - Parachutes
An album that I will always listen to from start to finish! Such great material on there. Reminds me of lying on my bed studying for my GCSEs with so much excitement for the future.
Michael Jackson - Bad
Always a go-back-to. Lifts my mood whether that’s during a workout or in the car. It is full of nostalgic happiness. I remember making dance routines to it as a young girl. Amazing to hang with the producer who made this in L.A. and hear the stories behind its making.
Kate Bush - Hounds of Love
Another inspiration of mine. I grew up hearing this in the house. My dad was such a fan! Another one I used to mime to as I mimicked Kate’s dance moves!
I have to add to this one of my favourite feel-good albums of the past few years - Taylor Swift’s 1989. A great Pop record. Taylor’s choices and approach to the business always interests me.
As Christmas is coming up; if you had to ask for one present what would it be?
I’d love to take my mum and go to Borneo and hang out with the beautiful little orangutans. So tragic what’s happening there and I’m looking to support and encourage people to protect them any way I can. I’m also obsessed with the idea of a pet cat right now but maybe bit cruel for Santa to bring her down the chimney...so she might be a part of my life in the New Year. I’m liking the name ‘Stella’. Sorry, I totally gave you two there and neither can be wrapped up and put in a stocking!
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Wow. That’s such a tough one. There are a few! Love to support the legend Elton (John) before he retires...I have a few months. I also have this dream of performing alongside Matt Bellamy and Muse, performing an epic power ballad at one of their shows!
My own rider usually involves a lot of fruit and lemons, flat Coke; a small amount of port for before the show and celebratory drink for after (unless I’m performing the next day). Milk for Stella (T.B.C.).
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Persevere. If the magic doesn’t happen overnight - which it likely won’t -, do not lose hope. Longevity is everything so long as you can find joy in the build. Surround yourself with a team who will support your vision, who you respect and challenge you to be your best. It can take time to find that but keep looking. Remain true to that vision, you know!
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
These will be announced in the New Year...
IN THIS PHOTO: Grace Carter/PHOTO CREDIT: SHOT BY PHOX
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Enjoying Grace Carter’s vibe and her track, Silence! Looking forward to hearing what’s next from her.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
It’s always quite difficult to switch off from things - the ‘out of office’ is never on! But, it is healthy to. I enjoy my fitness and yoga and start my day as much as possible in the gym. I also love art for a bit of escapism and inspiration. Chilling with friends is always a healer!
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Ha. Thank you! Imagine Dragons - Bad Liar. Always enjoy their music!
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