Words by Tamay Nehir
Photography by Karan Teli
Emerging pop-singer, Rika, who lives in London and honours an ethnic mosaic of Indian, Serbian and Hungarian heritage, has just released her new track, Hold On To Me. With this latest song being playlisted as BBC Radio 1’s track of the week, Rika tells us more about what has shaped her to be the artist she is now.
Thriving off fast-paced environments, Rika describes her music as “energetic and fresh,” yet her personality, she would describe as semi-contradictory, as she calls herself “an extroverted, introvert” with a beautiful voice that can also leave you feeling “mellow and calm.”
At school, Rika participated in many performances, including The Lion King for her school production where she played Nala; “all my friends were doing it and I was just like, I wanna try it out and I ended up getting some really good parts.” Luckily, Rika, “never really had stage fright” so performing is something that has come naturally to her.
After supporting Zak Abel on his international tour, Rika says she learnt a valuable lessons, “I feel like it made me learn a lot about myself and how to be on stage, it made me grow… travelling and the situations you get put in.” She called the tour “a fun experience” and said how surreal the experience was as she lives only 10 minutes from the Roundhouse, Camden, somewhere she performed for Zak Abel, a sold out show. “Every time I go past it it’s a really weird feeling, like woah, I’ve performed in there, 4000 people, it’s huge.”
Despite the fact that Rika trained to be a professional tennis player from the age 8-12, she says, “music has always been a part of my life.” Growing up, she listened to music on her MP3 player; anything from ABBA to The Carpenters. “I listened to a range of stuff, my parents are foreign, my Dad is Indian and my Mum is Serbian and Hungarian, so I’d listen to some traditional music of theirs.” With that being said, Rika claims to pay homage to her heritage within her music. “Some of the melodies are similar to Bollywood films, in my new single, Hold On To Me, the pre-course is reminiscent of the Bollywood sound and I do this to pay homage to my heritage.” It is apparent that Rika’s heritage is held with high regard and she is proud of her multi-cultural background.
Humbled, Rika received a Pride of India music award and says, “it was really nice to receive such an official award like that and it’s nice that I do all this stuff for my community and to get the recognition back, I felt a lot of gratitude.”
Without a Plan B, Rika has been writing music since the age of 16, as she has progressed from an underground artist to an artist with 150,000 listeners on Spotify. Now, she says she likes to work alongside multiple creatives; a producer and another song-writer in order to create multi-faceted ideas that conclude in the best results when recording in the studio.
Rika also has a flair for fashion and style, this is apparent when looking through her Instagram and when watching her music videos. What stood out the most were her statement Feather Pendants necklaces and rings. After attending London Fashion Week, Rika says, “it was really fun, I saw some really cool shows and went to after parties, you get no sleep, the shows start early, the after parties go on late, but I like that, it keeps me on my toes.”
Next, Rika has more music coming soon, she plans on releasing an EP before 2020 and on ending the year with a “bang.”