Taking influence from strong female icons like Annie Lennox and Kate Bush, Riva Taylor has just released the first part of her two-part album This Woman’s Heart. 1. Exploring the journey through her twenties whilst focusing on life from a female orientated point of view, the album reflects on lessons learnt and looks at how age has helped her develop into who she is now. We spoke to her about why she decided to write about the darker side of things and why it is important for a listener and artist to connect through music.
Tell us about yourself and your music
Hi, I'm a singer songwriter from London! I’ve just released my latest single ‘Jealous’ which is taken from my forthcoming album ‘This Woman’s Heart .1’ which came out for the world to stream on the 27th March. I’m super excited about it, it’s been about 5 years in the making and taken me to all sorts of interesting places to write and record it. I hope it takes you on a journey from darkness to light when you listen to it!
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Possibilities, opportunities in the pipeline, support from fans, the people I love!
You were born in London. How do you think the city’s scene has shaped your sound?
My roots are in London and always will be, although my branches are outside of this country. The London scene keeps it real for me, there is a rugged honesty when it comes to British music that I love. I hope that element can be felt when you hear my songs, especially through the lyrics.
You have said that the track is a bold statement and reflects on the darker side of your album, why do you feel like this?
This part of the album represents the darker half of ‘This Woman’s Heart’ songs are about personal discovery, challenge and heartbreak. Jealous is a song about inner conflict, about battling with your feelings of love. It’s a dramatic statement for me not just in a lyric sense, in its honesty. It’s pushing my musical boundaries sonically too - the production on this moved one step further form anywhere I have been before which was exciting.
What else can we expect from the album?
From this half of the album there are a few tunes I've released that have been re-mixed for the album. Like My Mouth, which Sir Elton John picked up on his Beats 1 station last year but other than that, hasn’t been heard. I’m looking forward to the re-produced version to be included on this album. There are also some new, never heard before songs like ‘Let Go Too Soon’ - the last section, we wrote for this out of LA at the end of 2019.
Your single is a very honest expression of love. As the world changes and we are more open about our emotions overall, where do you think music plays its part in all of this?
I think artists must play a part in listening to the world's thoughts, emotions, and therefore music can play a part in exploring current issues with widespread feeling. Music can be a lovely two-way process of give and take to benefit the listener and enable the artist to feel relatable and supported by the listener I feel.
Why do you think it is important to be this honest through forms of art like music?
Relatability is so important for a listener. Music helps form a connection with a listener and helps them feel like they aren’t alone. It works the reverse too - when I hear someone say that they connect with a song’s sentiment that I have written - I feel supported. That is my reward in all this, to feel I've given an audience what they want, something new!
You have spoken about how the song is about being able to find strength in moving on. What advice do you give to people in that situation?
Jealous is about demonstrating an uncharacteristic envy of someone you love and their strength in being able to move on from a situation you are still trapped in - being in love. It’s about feeling vulnerable and left behind. Advice I can give in light of this is that in this challenging position - it can take time, and no two people are the same. Love is a complicated beast. But things can and do get better. Writing for me helped me process these emotions and move me out of this state positively.
What is one piece of advice that you always follow?
If there is a 1 percent chance of it succeeding - go for it.
What was it like performing alongside Barbra Streisand?
Memorable. She has been an inspiration since I was tiny. And BST is a festival I had always wanted to perform at.
You have noted that you take influence from people like Annie Lennox, Adele and Kate Bush. What is it about these women that you admire? How do they keep you being a strong woman?
Originality, strength and vulnerability in their songwriting. They have careers which span decades because of these things, they are relatable but retain a degree of authenticity which make them so admired by me.
What does the rest of the year hold for you?
Let's not talk about coronavirus ...!!
Whatever happens there, I will be continuing to release and promote my music! More likely than not any concerts cancelled will be replaced by online content for you all!!
I’m also going to be focussing on building into the second part of the album to be released later in the year. I hope you like it!
Follow Riva and find out more about her music on her socials: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.