Step into Riki’s World
A modern-day version of Blondie but with darker hair
A modern-day version of Blondie but with darker hair
Step into Riki’s world, where LA’s free-spirit and David Bowie’s Berlin merge in a way that will make you want to get asymmetrical bangs, wear zebra-print trousers, and dance until sunrise. A unique luminary who belongs in your archive, Riki has this old soul energy about her, as if she emerged straight out of the Euro Disco era.
The LA-based singer, who grew up between Portland and the Bay area, always wanted to be a rockstar. If her bold features and contagious energy don’t make that obvious, her music, which blends elements of electronic dance music, disco, and pop, definitely will. A modern-day version of Blondie, but with darker hair who uses music as a means of turning “raw emotions and hardships into something tangible.” Riki, who also studied Visual Arts in college, takes inspiration from both the underground club scene and the nature that the city of Los Angeles has to offer. As part of the Gucci Music Portfolio feature, V Magazine spoke with Riki to learn more about her upbringing, how her life experiences have shaped the music that she makes, what her first post-pandemic outfit would look like, and how she would style her favorite Gucci classic.
V MAGAZINE: Tell us more about yourself. Where are you from, where did you grow up?
Riki: I grew up in Portland, Oregon, and started playing music there in my early teens. After that, I moved to Oakland and was around the Bay Area for about five years. And then did some back and forth between Portland and LA and have been in LA for about six years now.
V: What first got you into music?
R: You know how kids sometimes have this very clear idea of what they want to be and they get obsessed with them. I wanted to be a rockstar, that’s when I started practicing seriously and really getting into music at that time.
V: How has your upbringing and experiences shaped the kind of music that you make?
R: Both my parents are musicians so I had it in my family. But outside of my family, it was my social circle when I first started getting out and getting into partying and going to shows and stuff.
V: Your music gives me David Bowie in Berlin vibes. Has he been in inspiration for your sound?
R: So funny you say that. I’ve been a serious David Bowie listener forever and I just started getting into like Heroes and that trilogy of albums. I didn’t really understand them before. Classic soul era, it’s a little more mature than his earlier stuff and that’s really cool.
V: Who inspires you to make music?
R: Huge amount of them. Anywhere from David Bowie who’s pretty foundational for me. But also getting into club music. I love 80s disco, Euro Disco in general. But really all types of music, any song can be good and moving regardless of the genre.
V: If you could open a show for any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
R: that’s a good question. I mean there are some of the older artists who have been doing stuff and they're so good at it. I'd love to learn from them. Someone like Bryan Ferry would be incredible, he’s such a foundational artist who’s made such an impact.
V: You’re based in LA. How’s the music scene in LA right now ? and how does the city inspire the kind music that you make ?
R: Still pretty dead because of the pandemic but there’s a ton of artists that are active in LA right now. In my circle, people have been really productive, lots of people have been recording stuff in their studio during the pandemic and making some video projects and stuff. A lot of underground stuff that’s happening and that's really cool. LA, as a city, seems to have everything that you want here. Just got to know where to find it. Whatever you need, it's here. Whether it’s nature, city life, partying, even fashion, or getting into the world of celebrities that’s all here. Normal people, creatives, there’s every type of person here.
V: How do you find inspiration for your music?
R: I get inspired from emotional things in my life. Something like a breakup will make me write five songs. I am very lucky to have this way of expressing myself and there’s no better way for me to turn raw emotions and hardships into something tangible. It's a beautiful metamorphosis of that thing. I love hiking and exercising. When I'm blissed out after working out I’ll get inspired.
V: What do you think concerts will feel like post-pandemic?
R: I mean, it could go really different directions, before the pandemic, it all seemed very insular. People stick to their friend groups and the couple of fans that they follow. I hope that the fact that we’ve been so isolated during this past year, inspires people to want to get out and be friendly with other people and explore new things. Just have fun and let loose in a way that we’ve never really done before. It would be fantastic if there was a boom of art and music, a cross-pollination that would happen, kinda like a second renaissance. I’m really hoping that’s what’s going to happen.
V: Do you think we’re gonna live a modern version of the roaring twenties? If so, what will your outfit look like on your first night-out post-pandemic?
R: I would love for it to be another roaring twenties. I’m really into suspenders, I like menswear with a twist. Like no shirt, suspenders and menswear pants is a really good look. I'm also super into chartreuse. Really bold colors, prints, fun prints, I love a cow print, people seem to be paying attention to that. But yeah, colors and suspenders, that’s pretty much it.
V: What's your favorite Gucci classic and how would you wear it?
R: The chunky Gucci loafer, I love those. I would wear those with anything strawberry or kingsnake print.
V: What’s next for you?
R: I'm currently recording album #2 and it's coming out well. I'm working with Telephone Tel Aviv who will be producing the album. I would say stay tuned on it, the level is pretty up. There should be some music videos to come with them, all the good stuff.