"Jay.Keyz has written a song for me. We have finished the album and it's time to release the hound. 'My King,’ was released on February 12th. This song allows you to discuss what your non-negotiables are. 'My King,’ empowers both men and women and is about setting your intentions for the right kind of partner.” ~ Riya Davis #newmusic #song #reggae #rnb
Riya Davis grew up living the military, preacher's kid kinda life. She was born in South Dakota yet was fortunate enough to travel the world and soak in cultures that would help to shape her into the beautiful soul we have all grown to adore. If you or someone you know has grown up as a preacher kid, then you know that singing in the church choir is mandatory. Unlike most PK’s, Riya was allowed to listen to all kinds of music sparking inspirations such as Chaka Khan, Elle Fitzgerald, Rachelle Ferrell, and her numero uno...Lisa Fischer!
For Riya’s 17th birthday, her dad gifted her a studio session. Riya was ecstatic to meet Kirk Thompson explaining; "He took a shine to me and taught me the ropes. I just figured that I would go on tv and be famous, but that didn't work out [lol]. I started off with session work, so no one knew me unless you hired me”.
Riya’s dad sang as well and knew the in’s and out’s of the music business. He helped to guide her along the way as well as, taking on the role of her vocal coach. Listening to Riya, I must say, he did a dandy job! She eventually began to gig for bands and local artists gaining unexpected and amazing notoriety. Riya did guide vocals for a variety of artists and publishing houses including guide vocals for the one and only Glady Knight, explaining; "After fanning out, you realize that they are human and this is work. It’s awesome, but they come to you for a job, requiring you to stand up and do your best. I approached this as business rather than freaking out. I knew I had potential and there was something for me. There's more potential for me out there and it was an honor to be a part of that project”.
Although her passion for music was deep and wide, Riya’s parents wanted her to obtain a more "conventional career”, so she did. Her happy meter was not anywhere near where she wanted it to be. Riya craved the spotlight, singing, and stages. By the age of 19, she began to make her dreams a reality. Riya met Jimmy Borges, Betty Loo Taylor, Loyal Garner, and Azure McCall who kept her extremely busy. She began to gig and do backgrounds while increasing her happy meter stats, once again.
"I sat in with different bands and I got to know the musicians. I would ask if they would take guest singers. Overtime, I got better at sitting in and I was the special guest.” Riya continued; "This is an old school tactic that I learned from my dad.” Riya was once again paving her own path into the world of music. She joined a band yet, life took over and Riya needed to focus her attention on other things; "It just wasn't the right time for me”. Riya later reconnected with her longtime friend, Jay.Keyz, who would reignite her passion like no other.
"I was doing session work for Jay.Keyz. He called me and told me that he wrote a song for me. I was super excited. We recorded, 'My King,' in Wendell Ching Studios. He put that song into the universe as my stepping stone song. I was very reluctant about putting it out; I'm not known for reggae. I'm more of a love, peace, and harmony guy. He knew that this song would be for me. 'My King,’ allows you to discuss what your non-negotiables are. This song empowers both men and women. Everything is fast, flashy, and half naked these days. This is about setting the intentions for the right kind of partner. Go get your king or queen and don’t let your boundaries and standards fail because you just want to be with someone.”
"Kauai [Hawaii] started playing 'My King,’ on the radio a week before we released it. Now, it's playing everywhere, even in the Caribbeans and New Zealand. Jay.Keyz had written a song for me, we finished the album, and it's time to release the hound.”
Riya has a beautiful voice and an even bigger heart. On Valentine’s day, Riya and Sheroc released "Love Story". Other Riya classics include "Fallen," "Can't Take That Away From Me," and "Remember You," which are all getting mad support globally! Although Riya may have paused her singing skills for a bit, she never gave up on her dreams! She has performed background for icons that most artists dream of. There were times when she was discouraged yet, she held her head high and continued doing what she loved, music!
"My biggest obstacle was proving myself. I’m not from Hawaii per say, so I didn't grow up knowing a lot of people here. I had to get my foot in the door. My job had to be about what I could prove. When I would get my foot in the door, I would have to kind of push it open a little more. Name recognition is huge and if people don't know your name, it's even harder. I didn’t give up and stuck to what I wanted to do from the beginning, even when I was tired. You're not going to come out of the gate running, you have to work for it. I'm not a slim figure, I have had that literally said to my face. People say things just to hurt you, but I can't let that stop me from being me. They liked my voice before they saw my face or my body. Its endurance and not losing sight of that. It’s about passion, not about being rich or #1 on instagram. It's all about sustaining a career. If I can make people happy and smile while I’m paying rent, I'm happy. That's what keeps me going.”
Make sure you stay tuned for the video release of "My King,” by Jay.Keyz featuring Riya Davis. "My King,” has had well over 20K streams in less than 3 weeks! Riya will be releasing a full EP by the end of the summer. She promises tons of surprises on her new album so make sure you follow her at the links listed below. Until Next Time… Stay Focused and Stay Golden Team!
Riyas Most Special Moments: "There are so many things that I’m grateful for.”
"My Grandpa didn’t know english, but he loved Nat King Cole. I had the opportunity to work with Natalie. Being on stage with her and listening to her playback that song was a full circle moment. This was the only music my grandfather would listen to so that was a really special thing.”
"Meeting Chaka Khan, at the Blue Note. We shared a dressing room and had a brief encounter, it was amazing. I didn't touch her stuff but I did use her fan.”
"Meeting Lisa Fisher!!! I went to her show and there was a meet and greet. I got to pick her brain for a bit and told her how special she was to me. This was a full circle moment. I was meeting the people that made me want to be a singer and that was the most amazing thing. Lisa is the most prolific background singer in the world and one of the most beautiful voices you will ever hear. The whistle tone in my voice was inspired by her. ”
Riyas Advice for Artists:
"Even if you don't plan to record right away, it's good to record so you can understand and be comfortable with your sound. Sometimes people don't like their speaking voice so that was important.”
"If you're not playing right now, keep practicing to keep your voice or hands strong.”
"Success is marked based on what you feel is successful. Don't base your success on other artists. It’s your journey and you will create an amazing journey of your own. Take a moment and look at the cool stuff you have done and what you're doing. It's ok to be proud of yourself. You are your biggest fan.”
"Go sit in on a session. Ask the artist if it's ok and know your keys. The band will respect you and it will be easier for you.”
"Networking is key, it shows that you are serious.”
"Don't give up! You can't eat off of passion but you can use it to eat with. Hang in there, I'm still hanging, so just hang in there. Make good friends, have people around you that you trust, someone who encourages you and picks you up when you fall. If you don't have those people, know I am rooting for you. For those that subscribe to haters, don't do that to yourself. Don't worry about haters, stay passionate and focused.”
Fun Facts with Riya Davis!
"I am bilingual. I speak English and Palauan (Republic of Palau / Island in Micronesia).”
"I love my cats and posting about them on ig.”
"I write some of my lyrics, but I’m not a writer. I don't trust my pen. I read too much Dr. Seuss as a kid, I feel like I have to rhyme everything so the guys help with that.”
"Our band is all guys and I have a son. I joke that I need some more estrogen around me. I'm always the lead singer so I'm always the only girl. I have a lot of female friends though. I cannot wait to invite my girls to sing with me.”
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