Lia Rye has spent the majority of her teenage years in the musical spotlight. Having studied at the Brit School, while most teens, it could be said, don't really think too much about their future careers, Lia's was already underway by the time she was 15 when she released her first single.
Her music blends alternative pop and rock with lyrics that tell relatable, thought-provoking stories designed to capture the hearts and minds of all those who hear them. She unveiled her debut EP 'Fever Dream' last month, and XS Noize caught up with her to discover her favourite track on the collection and whose career she'd most like to emulate.
Who is Lia Rye?
Lia Rye is an 18-year-old singer, songwriter, and occasional bassist, just on the borders of alternative.
What would you say is your unique selling point as an artist?
Well, I'm a young black female alt-pop / rock artist, and I tend to play bass and sing when performing with a live band. I don't think that's something you see every day!
You studied at The Brit School, one of the country's most established music and entertainment institutions. What did your time there teach you, and what advice would you give anyone considering applying?
The importance of collaboration, teamwork, having confidence in yourself, and the vastness of music are all things that I have learnt during my time there. My peers inspired me all the time, and it was so amazing to be surrounded by such talented and insightful minds.
If you want to apply, I say this from the bottom of my heart, just be yourself. I know that is very cliche advice, but you'll know whether it's the right place for you as it's not for everyone. Do not think you need to have achieved amazing things before you even apply. You're either 14 or 16; you're literally at the start of everything, so just show that you have a passion for whatever strand you want to apply to, and that will be enough.
You released your debut single at just 15 - that must have been a lot to take on, given the pressures and challenges that come with being that age. What do you recall of that time and of what it felt like to have your music out there in the world?
Yeah, it was a very busy and interesting time! The recording session was in December, I was given my first gig in January - which I needed to sort out a set for - and I had my school mock exams around that time too. I had to do a lot of research on how to release music, so posts on music blogs were my best friends. I also had to organise rehearsals for the song and find the recording studio, which took a few weeks. Overall, it was a hectic time, but it taught me a LOT of things. When the song came out in Jan 2020, I was so incredibly proud of myself as I put in a lot of work, and I was brave enough to finally put myself out there!
You've said in the past that you're influenced and inspired by the likes of Bring Me The Horizon and Lorde; how exactly do those acts filter through into the music you make?
Well, I'd say those acts simply influence the variety of my sound. From listening to so many alternative and rock acts, I have crafted a sound which is a mix of everything I have heard. I would not say my music is directly adjacent to those acts, but they have helped me to develop my musical world.
Your debut EP 'Fever Dream' came out last month. Where'd the idea for the title come from?
Oooh, well, I got the name of the EP from the now title track. The track "Fever Dream" is a metaphor for perfectionism and how this painter is stuck trying to do the same thing over and over again. Therefore, I envisioned the painter to be in a fever dream of frustration. 'Fever Dream' (the song) was originally called eclectic; however, due to it being spelt wrong in multiple studio sessions haha, I opted to call it 'Fever Dream', which is the main hook of the song. I thought it was cool enough to just call the entire EP that.
How would you sum up the collection for anyone yet to hear it?
An eclectic mix of tracks within the alt-pop / rock sphere ranging from anthemic singles to mellow ballads.
Which is your favourite track on the EP and why?
Probably "Fever Dream", as it's my favourite song lyrically, and I love the production for it.
Is there any particular message or story behind the EP? What do you want those who listen to it to think about or remember?
There isn't really a particular message behind the EP; I would just like people to resonate with the emotions each track creates. Each song does have its own narrative, so I'd love for people to have a think about what they are. I find it really interesting to see how other people interpret my stories.
Will you be touring in support of the EP? Can we perhaps expect to see you at any festivals later this summer?
Grr, I sadly missed the sign-up time for festivals this year; I was so busy with school, so there was no time for me to sort slots out. However, over the summer, I will be going down to a few open mics and attending whatever performance opportunities I can around London, so keep an eye out!
The likes of BBC Introducing have supported you. How important to you is it to have such high profile 'backing' like that, and what impact has it had/does it have on you and your career?
Hmm, I'd say it gives you a bit of music cred, aha. Being played on platforms like Introducing are small achievements that you can put under your belt, and they help when reaching out to other platforms. It hasn't been a make-or-break thing, but it's one of the many steps forward to more features and opportunities.
Finally, as a fairly new artist, whose career would you most like to emulate? What does genuine, long-term success look like to you, and how do you plan to achieve all your goals and ambitions in the months and years ahead?
A massive question, gosh. I guess I would like my own corner of the music industry with dedicated supporters. For example, MARINA is so so talented and successful, and I love the community she has built. Genuine long-term success to me is being able to do music full time and live off of it; that's the root of it all. I guess I plan to achieve this by building a team, as it's just me right now, and by carrying on what I am currently doing, which is putting myself out there as much as I can.
Listen to ‘Fever Dream’ EP - BELOW: