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Ria Marie is bringing a little soul to the country music capital of the world. After the release of her latest single, Honey, the Tennessee native has made her way onto Nashville’s own Lighting 100. Two years ago, she was discovered by two UK producers, and has since been collaborating with them without ever meeting. We sat down with the sassy singer to discuss her sources of inspiration, her debut EP, and her favorite breakfast food. Check it out below.
Who are you and what do you do creatively?
So about three years ago, I met these two producers on Instagram. They just DM’d me and asked if I wanted to work with them. And they sent me a track that turned out to be the single that I released, Honey. My mom was in the music business and we have a studio at our house, so I’ve always been a singer. Music has always been apart of my life but I didn’t know that Pop-R&B was my lane until I met these guys.
Do you write your own music?
I do. I write with those producers and some other songwriters in Nashville. Fun fact, I actually wrote Honey with my mom [laughs], which is pretty cool because not a lot of people write with their mom. She’s also my voice teacher, so we’re really family oriented.
Speaking of Honey, where does this track come from? What is it about?
So the first line of that track is “Met you at a party at your girlfriend’s house…” And I actually met this guy at a party at his girlfriend’s house [laughs]. They were kind of just talking though, not really exclusively dating but we just met there and we hit it off. We had this instant chemistry.
Okay, okay! Are you guys still together?
That’s so cute! Let’s shift gears a bit because I know that you live in Nashville. How difficult is it to advance as a Pop-R&B artist in the country music capital of the world?
When I moved here, I remember talking to my mom about whether or not I should make the switch to country. My mom was an artist in the 80s and she told me that I should stick with what I feel. But I did almost make that switch to country and I’m glad that I didn’t. Nashville is such a growing city and it’s not only known for just country anymore. The Pop scene, R&B, and even Alternative-Rock has been growing rapidly here. People are moving from LA to Nashville, and they are going to these bars and asking to hear something different and Nashville is listening.
I have been seeing different artists coming from LA to Nashville or New York to Nashville. Have you thought about leaving at any point?
Nope. I really love Nashville. I’ll be here for awhile.
What are some sources of inspiration for you when it comes to writing music?
It’s actually kind of strange. I was talking to another co-writer not too long ago, and before we started he asked me where I normally take my music from. Honestly, I take it from other people’s experiences. I’m an empath. So when people are talking to me about their problems or relationship struggles, I take that and put it into a song. Other than Honey, most of my songs have nothing to do with any of my experiences. I know it’s kind of weird as an artist because most people use their personal experience, but I like to tap into a character.
Do you feel like that approach allows your music to connect with people in a different way?
I think so. I would say that my music is sassy. Me as a person, I’m not generally a sassy person, but when I get into my music, that’s where my sassiness comes through [laugh].
What are some other ways that you would describe your music?
Fun and up-lifting. I don’t have a lot of sad songs. Most of it is about female empowerment.
So I know that you are an R&B singer, and I know your mom has been a big inspiration for your music. Who are some other artists that have influenced you and your sound?
I would say Ella Fitzgerald, Whitney Houston, and Christina Aguilera were huge inspirations for me growing up. As I’ve grown as an artist, I really enjoy HER, Ella Mai, and I love Ariana Grande’s sassiness.
Will we hear any similarities to these artists on your EP releasing this fall?
Maybe. I am going to release some singles first and just push it as a single-based EP, then release the entire thing in early 2020. I have a few songs in my head right now, but I’ll also be going over to the UK in February to finally meet the producers that I’ve been working with for two years.
Okay, last question. What’s your favorite breakfast food?
Probably pancakes. Definitely blueberry pancakes [laughs].
You can keep up with Ria Marie on IG @riamariemusic