The New Era of Reya

Dark pop artist Reya has been on quite the journey. Overcoming obstacles and refusing to be undermined, the London based artist has set out on a mission to take back control. Her recent single “kinda like it” narrates fighting back and taking a more rebellious stance as she steps into the shoes of the villain. With a sinister soundscape, Reya shows that she means business, as she sings, “I’m bad to you but I do it so well, I’ll be your poison keep you under my spell.” Paying homage to her colourful upbringing and heritage, the multi-lingual artist also sings in Spanish in many of her newest releases. This new era of Reya is all about being her most authentic self in every way possible. 

We spoke to Reya about her new singles, role playing, and the importance of empowerment. 

We’re absolutely loving your empowering single “kinda like it”! The track has a darker and more rebellious tone compared to your previous single “attention.” Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind this track and how it represents your fight back against disrespect?

The inspiration behind the track is essentially imagining being the bad guy, and kinda liking it. It was written at a time where I was feeling like I couldn’t express myself properly and I felt like I kept getting walked all over. And I thought to myself, what if I was karma and disregarded someone else’s feelings for once. Of course you don’t, however sometimes it’s fun to think about the what ifs in life. Like when you think of the perfect comeback in the shower after an argument, that’s what “kinda like it” represents to me.

“kinda like it” sees you stepping into the villain’s shoes. Was it fun playing a different role in this and did it awaken something within you?

It was definitely fun, that’s one of the many things I love about music. It doesn’t need to be your reality for you to make it into a song, sometimes your imagination can take it further, or even be the perfect outlet for those negative thoughts. It awakened the feeling that trying to be perfect all the time is impossible, so just be real and allow whatever I’m feeling to shine.

How does the eerie energy of “kinda like It” enhance the message and emotions conveyed in the song?

I wanted the song to be something the listener could imagine vividly while listening. As if they were the bad guy too, the villain in a story. I felt that by creating such a soundscape, one could feel the lyrics on a different level. For this song I was extra particular about the sounds used, especially in the percussion, as I wanted it all to sound as organic as possible while being blended in with digital sounds.

As an artist, how important is it for you to use your music as a means of self-expression and reclaiming power? How does this theme of empowerment translate into your overall artistic vision?

Music is my entire life. I know what it feels like to have it taken away from me. And I never want to lose my power ever again. So therefore both sonically and physically I have taken back that power, and being in control is the best in my opinion. I think power looks different to everyone, for me personally it means doing whatever I want. Whether that is making a song that sounds like a villain today or a 2000s pop song tomorrow. I write rawer lyrics than I used to and I try to be more honest in both my music and in my personal life. That’s my main goal, be as true to myself as I can, but that in itself is a process.

Based in London, originally from Norway, grown up in Spain and with Chilean heritage, how has your multicultural upbringing and roots influenced your unique style and sound as an artist?

It’s my way of feeling connected to my heritage and where I grew up. This way I keep everyone and everything I love close, even though they may be far away. It has definitely opened me up to so many different worlds sonically, I love blending flamenco guitars and percussion with more western pop. This is a path I can’t wait to continue exploring.

The journey to get to where you are today has been a rollercoaster. Do you believe the hurdles you’ve faced have ultimately made you stronger and is there any advice you would give to anyone else who are struggling with their battles?

Absolutely they have made me stronger, some are still in the process of doing so, but I know it will get better with time. My best advice is, remember that thing you didn’t think you’d ever overcome? Are you breathing? Then you did overcome it. And in the words of Dory from Nemo “just keep swimming” because better things are coming. And even if today doesn’t seem like it, it’s all part of the journey of making you exactly who you were meant to be. So give yourself time and kindness, you’re doing great.

Can you tell us about your latest single “ain’t my problem” and the concept behind it?

This was a fun song to write. That same day I received a text from someone from my past, where the words “you’re no longer my problem” rang in my head. It was a lighthearted song of just wanting to move on from a situation as sometimes new beginnings are needed when all is said and done. It once again blends Spanish and English, and sonically represents this blend.

Do you think “ain’t my problem” differs from your previous singles and what direction do you hope to take your future releases?

Yes, it definitely does. I think that I am currently in the process of figuring out exactly what it is I want to do sonically. I guess that’s part of growing up and trying to expand my palette. I hope my future releases keep staying true to what I want to write and make.

What’s next for Reya?

Reya wants to just write music that makes her dance, laugh or cry so hopefully you can feel an inch of that same feeling through your speakers someday.

Follow Reya on Instagram

Photography: Daniel Herrera 
Words: Alexander Williams