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"My music is about honesty, it's about how I feel" - Interview with singer-songwriter Ryan Koriya
Upenyu Makoni-Muchemwa, Kubatana.net
September 09, 2011

Read Inside/Out with Ryan Koriya

View audio file details

Ryan KoriyaRyan Koriya is a singer-songwriter and has been based in the UK since 2003 when he began to successfully build an international profile for his rock band Mann Friday. He also then took up the bass guitar so as to complete the band's rhythm section as well as singing backing vocals. Ryan is now enjoying his centre-stage role as the purveyor of his own songs as he builds a following for his self-titled solo project.
Source: Ryankoriya.com

Have you always wanted to be a musician?
I think from when I discovered that I was one, yes. In Form One at Prince Edward High School, a prefect came and asked if anyone was interested in playing the violin. I cannot for the life of me ever remember thinking about playing a musical instrument before but when I went and played, it was great. Took to it like fire. By Form Two I had colours in music, which I don't think had ever been done. At that stage I just knew that I loved music. Listen

Do you ever wonder what your life would be like had you not decided to take up violin that day?
Yah, I can sort of see the alternate picture. My job would be sitting in a chair, 30 000ft above the sea and going: "Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen this is your captain Ryan Koriya speaking. We're flying at 30 000ft tonight and we're going to be in London at 6am." I wanted to be a pilot from when I could first talk. I love planes. But flying lessons were very expensive. Music was the natural progression. I started teaching at Arundel, the International School, Prince Edward and Chisipite. I think I could have been a pilot, but I would have been very bored. Listen

What informs your music, the way you write and compose?
A lot of my lyrics come from me being an in-depth person; I'm about feeling and emotion. So I write about what I'm feeling. I think that's what people connect with. They want to feel something. Music has got to be honest. My music is about honesty, it's about how I feel, and I draw from my personal experiences, things that I'm passionate about. My imagery comes from the Zimbabwean landscape. Even when I was overseas, I was dreaming about the Zimbabwean skies at night, I was dreaming about the sunsets when I go to Domboshawa. Listen

You were relatively successful in the UK, why did you come back to Zimbabwe?
The very honest answer to that is I went over there in the hope of getting to the US. You can imagine that it wasn't easy being a Zimbabwean. I got to England and joined a friend's band and I was going to do my thing as well, but then fast forward seven years later, I'm standing in a room and I'm going ‘Wow! What happened?' I got distracted and I got pulled into a direction, which involved me playing in a friend's band and working really hard. That's where the success came from. I put everything into that, because as a fulltime musician I was building my career. Unfortunately, as a band not everyone was on the same page, everyone else was thinking about themselves first, whereas I was thinking about everyone else first. So I realised that as a bass player I couldn't carry a rock band by myself. So I decided I needed to reset and get back on track. Coming home was really important, I needed to come home and have a sort of spiritual cleansing, and just get back to my roots. That wasn't always an option, as a musician, when I was overseas I couldn't just decide to come home for Christmas. It's difficult and expensive. My main focus in Zimbabwe is to make the Ryan Koriya album and then show it to the fans I have from Mann Friday. Most of them don't know that I can sing, which is interesting. Listen

How is being a solo artist different from performing with a band?
It's very different, definitely. What I've found quite profound was that as a band, I had more confidence to promote. It was easier for me. As a solo artist it's difficult. The way the industry is now, I'm a one man show, I can't afford to pay someone to do my website or be my producer and record my music ... I have to do all of that on my own until I start making money and until my brand is established. Whereas as a band there were more hands on deck, and different people have different strengths. I have to do all of that on my own. I have to be 25 people in one. I've got to be my boss, I've got to be my songwriter, I've got to be my singer, my web-designer and PR person. It's hard work and it doesn't stop, because wherever I am and whatever I'm doing, I've got to be thinking about how I'm moving forward. Listen

What do you enjoy most about being a solo artist?
It's an absolutely amazing feeling to know that I'm in control and I can do things the way I want. I can wake up and make my own decisions, and sometimes I'll ask other people. Ultimately it's my decision. I love the freedom of being able to do that, and I'm very excited because now I have the confidence to stand up on a stage on my own.

How would you describe your music?
It depends on what time of day it is and where we are. Last night I was calling it baby making music. Its love, it's positive, it's growing. It calms you. It's basically called, for lack of a better description, soft rock, or melodic rock.

What does success mean to you?
My success is me . . . living off my music and the guitar is paying rent. I can finally stop struggling.

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Audio Files

  • Being a musician
    Summary:
    Language: English
    Duration: 47sec
    Date: September 09, 2011
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 739KB

  • My life as a pilot
    Summary:
    Language: English
    Duration: 57sec
    Date: September 09, 2011
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 898KB

  • My music is about honesty
    Summary:
    Language: English
    Duration: 32sec
    Date: September 09, 2011
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 503KB

  • Coming home
    Summary:
    Language: English
    Duration: 1min 31sec
    Date: September 09, 2011
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 1.7MB


  • Working solo
    Summary:
    Language: English
    Duration: 1min 05sec
    Date: September 09, 2011
    File Type: MP3
    Size: 1MB

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