As a child Riah Knight took to the treetops of her Sussex village to write, often coming down with a song. At the age of eleven, she had joined her first band, going on a European tour in her early teens. She made her breakthrough music appearances in 2017 opening for both Jimmy Webb and Portico Quartet while a resident artist at the London Roundhouse.
Following these early successes, Riah continued to write music while also working with Just Jack on two of his albums. While just finding her feet in the UK music world, at the age of twenty Riah relocated her life to Berlin to work on a groundbreaking theatre project exploring the politics of Roma identity in Europe, which led her to work with director Yael Ronen on a series of productions at The Maxim Gorki Theatre. In between rehearsals and tours in Europe, Riah recorded and released collaborations with several hip hop and jazz artists in Berlin and back in the UK, as well as writing for film, before finding time to work on her solo release ‘Knight in Neukölln’ with the Berlin-based Get Together Collective.
“Since I came to Berlin the music I’ve been writing has been about putting across a political agenda. For me this stripped back collection of songs is about letting the audience behind the scenes, to see who I am when the stage lights are off.”
This first release of Riah’s personal work is a collection of original love songs and an intimate reflection of her time in the city.
Listen to 'If You Love Her' - BELOW:
Born in 1996 to activist parents and named after her Romani great-grandmother, Riah grew up in the rural countryside but spent much of her early life travelling and attending world music festivals. Sighting a broad range of influences, Riah’s music is characterized by her evocative lyrics and laidback sultry vocals, incorporating jazz harmony and a twist of folk, her soulful voice takes you on a journey across continents and young heartbreak.
“When writing, I really hate to lose a line. They come to me so clearly, with such purpose and carry such strong images with them, that I have to find a way to try to do them service in the song”. Often drawn to recurring motifs rooted in the imagery of the natural world and full of strong female archetypes, Riah’s music can be both incredibly personal and playfully political. “I like to use poetry to write from the perspective of the female gaze. I am always writing, conversations make their way into lines all the time…”