The DEPTH of Redikiraa

The power gained from pursuing something you were once scared to do is one of the most satisfying feelings we can experience. This is exactly what New York artist and producer Redikiraa has done. Once a person who posted the occasional singing video out of bravery she has now released her debut EP titled Depth. I hit her up to discuss the journey that led to the EP as well as the journey of of transforming into a full fledged artist.

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This interview has been edited for clarity. 

The name “Redikiraa” which is Japanese for “lady killer” is more than just something that sounds cool (it’s also her Instagram name) – it’s a direct connection to her life. “ I used it because I was indeed a woman killing it at everything I set my mind to & more importantly I was finally becoming sure of my sexuality , I’m bisexual so I wanted to celebrate me getting ze ladies hence “ladykiller” LMAO. Also because I’m heavily into anime so I wanted something Japanese.” This direct honesty comes through when it comes to her songwriting also: “When it’s my personal music I really just try to focus and think about whatever I’m feeling at the moment that I want to release,  any emotion that comes to mind , any conversation I wanted to have but didn’t that kinda thing, then find a beat then I’ll kinda like freestyle sing it out then patch words into the spaces that didn’t come to me automatically.” 

Like any great artist the title Depth is more than just something that looks cool on merch – it has multiple meanings for Redikiraa. “So the word Depth in general has multiple definitions. One is “the quality of being intense or extreme.”  I put raw emotions into these songs. Outside of music I’m more easygoing but I get to channel all the real feelings I have inside through this platform so I really did put my heart into it.  The second definition is “the distance from the top or surface to the bottom” my first single did pretty well. And that scared me a little like I was in competition with myself , ya know? I also did it all from home in my comfort spot then engineered with someone close to me so it was all really calm & comfortable. This time around I had to buy beats , I wanted to use better equipment so I went other places to record and it was definitely starting to feel like I wasn’t doing as well as I did when I was alone fucking around in my room just to express myself.  I felt like I was personally going from the high point back down and working my way back up. It’s one thing to have the talent it’s a completely different thing to be able to do everything so professionally and explain your vision correctly to others who are working with you and trying to assist you in creating that vision. It was a learning process for me.”

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The textless version of the Depth cover art.

In this current climate of genre bending, artists are more than comfortable with creating music based on things that influence them. This comes through most noticeably with the production which in some people’s eyes is the real draw when it comes to music these days. Redikiraa knows exactly what atmosphere she wants to have so at the beginning – she created it herself. “…my first single “Questions” was self produced. “Fun fact , I produced it and free-styled it in 20 mins. “ This track was released on September 6 2019 however, it is not on the EP. Being that Redikiraa is so community focused it’s only natural she had multiple collaborators on her debut. “None of the tracks on Depth are self produced. I wanted to branch out and work with others this time around. But I do have something coming up next that will be produced and performed entirely by me!”

Depth is a project that showcases how Redikiraa isn’t locked into a single lane of music. This is the first thing that separates her from other artists especially with her only being at it for literally a few months. “5 Birds” sounds like she’s singing with a live band while “Solution” is drenched in reverb and echoes. In regards to the former she says “I want to work with an actual live band so badly that sound is such a vibe man it’s really sonically pleasing to me. I’m definitely on a mission to make more.” The latter definitely has a unique creative flair to it in which she shares a story of how a space filler became a key part of the production: “…I heard the song on YouTube and the best way to explain it is I heard perfect openings for something in the pockets of the beat. So bullshitting around I was just saying yeah over and over until I could think of something to say. But the more I did that the more it just flowed with it so eventually I went to the mic I have in my house and said yeah probably like 30 times LMAO and was like OHH this shit is fire and kept that.” On “Bittersweet” her voice is at the forefront in the strongest way possible as it is only paired with a piano and a feature in the track’s second half. “I prefer it all to sound like live music or have my voice barely messed with. That’s another thing that made recording a rough transition for me. I like MY voice ya know? Lol I am used to singing acappella and in choirs with no beats no effects you just have to practice and hit them notes so bittersweet was the most comfortable song for me to sing alongside the intro 5 Birds. I could just flow naturally.”

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As an up and coming artist confidence is one of the most important qualities to develop. Some are naturally born with and take to an even higher level with their performances and creative decisions while for some it is more of an ever evolving process. For Redikiraa, gaining more of it is literally how she went from posting the occasional singing video on IG to dropping this EP. “I started singing covers on video with the alien  emoji covering my face back in 2011. I wanted to share my talent but the anxiety always got in the way so I did it with a little mask on sort of speak. The more I did it the more comfortable I got with myself , with a camera , & with my talent ; that’s how I gained the confidence to actually show my face. I had to completely redo that process to record because it sounded different on a track than it did acappella. Once I felt like I found my “ studio voice” it didn’t matter , I could just get into the zone so I guess it was mostly about inner confidence for me, I had to fully believe in myself before I could do anything.” She took this confidence to another level by performing live in February and again in March. The pressure is always higher for singers in live performances because people expect them to sound exactly like you do on the studio version of the song – or close enough. But with that pressure paired with nerves it can go one way or another. Redikiraa’s experience went both ways but it turned out for the better. “It was terrifying! Lmao I am just learning how to overcome my stage fright , and I tend to get anxious in social settings with large amounts of people. With that being said I went up there,  had on some really DARK sunglasses couldn’t see A THING ! I closed my eyes and tried my best. Half way through I got into it and started just having fun! The reactions I got after really overwhelmed me in the best way possible. I felt good about it I was confident. Then So many ppl supported me and complimented me it was surreal.” 

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Redikiraa at her debut performance.

Redikiraa says there will be music videos for some of the tracks which she is naturally very excited to release. We can’t wait to see them because with someone as creative as her there is no doubt that they’ll be anything less than fire. With her debut being this strong and only getting more and more love for it daily, we can’t wait to see what happens with her next!

Depth is out on SoundCloud now and will be on all streaming platforms soon. 

You can follow Redikiraa on Instagram (redikiraa.z) Twitter (RedikiraZ) and SoundCloud (https://soundcloud.com/kha0stv)

ABISHA: Authenticity is Key

This interview was originally conducted in November 2019. 

Here at Glosse we love artists from the UK just as much as the ones from the states. And because of that, it’s only right we put y’all on too. Enter UK artist: ABISHA.  I had the pleasure of talking to her about how she creates her music, how she defines herself and her plans for 2020.

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Image via Artist Representative

ABISHA’s music can in three words: Excellent, ethereal and genreless. With so many influences and blending happening it’s so much easier to just enjoy it instead of trying to put a label on it. She’s drawn to production with “Unusual and weird sounds, Distorted vocal sounds, [and] Pitched up or down [elements]” so you already know you’re getting into something as creative as it is fire. “All That” features some of these including a sound that I’d describe as something you’d hear during the opening logos of the Transformers movies – trust me you’ll know it when you hear it. “All That was one of the first songs I wrote and recorded. I was at the very beginning of starting to discover my sound so I didn’t really go into it with any idea how I wanted the production to sound. But my producer came up with this synth loop and we just started vibing with it and the lyrics I had just worked so well with it and it came together almost instantly. So it was sort of accidental I guess.” A happy accident for sure. 

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Image via Artist Representative

 In addition to being in it’s own lane the creation of her music is special in its own way too. While ABISHA’s music is atmospheric at times the lyrics still matter even if they have immersive effects added to them. Like all talented songwriters inspiration for lyrics can hit her at any time. “I have a note in my notes app on my phone of hundreds of lyrics which are just words and thoughts that I write down at random moments every day.” With ABISHA the song creation process goes back to a central theme in her life: an inner feeling.  “When I’m in the studio with a producer, I usually always have an idea of what I want to write about that day because it’s probably something that I’m feeling at that time or something that’s going on in my life. And then I think about the mood and the feel that I want that song to have and we lay down the chords and a beat and build it from there. Usually the melody comes to me quite quick and then I write the lyrics to fit with that. I love writing, it’s my favourite part.”

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Image via Artist Representative

Before you even press play on ABISHA’s music you might be drawn into her by her look. Her long braids extend down her back like the cables and cords used to make her music. This signature hair is complimented by her unique style which comprises jackets (oversized or regular sized) boots and various versions of cropped and halter tops. “My style is ever-evolving. It changes all the the time and I’m constantly pushing the boundaries of it” ABISHA has mastered something what we should all strive for in all aspects of our lives: Evolution. If we remain stagnant, the talent cannot grow and the power cannot increase.  Knowing what to wear may seem trivial for some but for ABISHA how you look and hope you feel go hand in hand. “Finding my style was a massive part of finding myself, it’s my main resource of expressing myself and I feel good when I like the clothes that I’m wearing and I feel ‘me’. The most important thing for me is that I’m comfortable, both physically and mentally in that I’m wearing.” This love for clothing has led ABISHA the chance to work with Puma as a partner/model which she hopes will lead to her being able to do a collection for them. But, it wouldn’t be a typical one in the slightest “I had this idea for a while ago to create a unisex range for a big brand because I dress quite androgynous and often by men’s clothes over women’s because I prefer the oversized fit, and I think that would be so cool to do something like that with Puma.” 

At this point you’ve likely noticed that each time I typed ABISHA’s name it was capitalized. This is a common trait amongst artists lately with album and song titles being in all caps – or sometimes all lowercase. It’s a minor stylistic choice that subtlety brings direct attention and makes sure it stands out from the other names/titles in your playlists. Originally her name was going to be “Shakti” which means power but her Mom decided to make this her middle name after concluding she “looked to gentle” for it. Despite this, she was still raised by her mother to be a strong woman.  ABISHA is her real first name and it actually is a Hebrew name meaning “God is my Father” – but her mother isn’t religious. “I think she just liked the name. I used to hate my name because it was so different but it definitely works as an artist name which is good, I don’t know what I would have come up with if I had to make one up!”

ABISHA’s name has a special meaning to it and the rest of her identity does too in which she says she is a “double minority”. Not only is she a woman of color but she is a gay woman of color too.This combination is not as common as you might think in the music industry and ABISHA understands this and thinks about it often. “Both being a woman of colour and being a gay woman have their own difficulties, there’s already pressure being a woman of colour in the music industry to prove yourself a bit more and prove that you deserve to be doing what you’re doing. Even just being a woman, but a woman of colour even more so. Being a gay woman in the music industry feels almost quite vulnerable. I feel like I have to ‘come out’ every time I meet someone new or that they might be surprised when they find out I’m gay, and having to experience their reaction to it.” Despite this ABISHA is still confident and proud of her sexuality. It’s not the only aspect of her life that defines her but it is a part of her image and a part that plays a large and direct role in her music. Music is a form of expression and she will continue to express herself through her music. ”I’ve been told in the past to not mention my sexuality and to hide it in fear that it might alienate listeners or potential fans or even put them off, but I’m extremely proud of being gay and I reflect that in my music now. My songs are all very open and honest, I want to encourage everyone including other LGBQT+ people to be themselves and that they’re perfect the way they are.”

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Image via Artist Representative (Photo taken by Sam Leviton)

ABISHA’s latest single “Real Life” differs greatly from her other music and is the last single to drop before her debut EP drops this year. It’s special to ABISHA for several reasons but also is special to listeners and supporters of her music too. “I think you can almost hear the breakthrough in my music style and it’s definitely evolved from my last release. Most of my new music is predominantly R&B but Real Life definitely has a bit of a pop element to it, which makes it catchy and quite fun. I think Real Life is the bridge between my older stuff that I’ve released and what’s to come, it represents my transformation as a writer, artist, and as a person.” 

ABISHA has built quite the following in the UK and plans to continue to build her fanbase in the US in 2020. “We’ve been focusing on building a foundation in the UK but I’ve had some amazing support from the US too and I’m definitely planning on making a few more trips out there towards 2020. It’s a really exciting time! I can’t wait to travel with my music and meet fans and perform around the world, that’s going to be the most amazing feeling! “ We’re excited too ABISHA.  

ABISHA’s debut EP SCORPIO is out on all streaming services now!

The 90s, Art and Nostalgia: An Interview With Christian Dior

I think we can all agree that our childhoods were the best part of our lives. And, for many of us one of the largest parts of our childhood were the cartoons we watched. These characters were ones we grew up with and when we see them now the nostalgia comes flooding back. Enter artist Christian Dior who takes these characters we all know and love and puts his own spin on them that is equally as recognizable as the character themselves.

Christian’s beginnings in art holds a special place in his heart as it has a direct connection to his family. “I believe that it was my father who first got me into art. When he was locked up, he use to sketch different superheroes and villains in a composition notebook that he kept. I guess that sparked my interest into the art world and then from then my father taught my brother how to draw then my brother taught me.” In addition to this, he’s also been an entrepreneur since middle school. Along with his brother, they had a business called Fresh 2 Death Customs in which they customized shoes and clothing. He also expanded this to the digital front long before it was commonplace, designing people’s MySpace profiles and profile pictures. Later after this Christian had a pretty big break that only motivated him even more. “My very first art sale was from Bryson Tiller. He had bought 21 paintings from me and 2 shirt designs that I made. I think that experience made me want to take art a little more serious because I was always told with perusing art, you’ll never make money, it’s a waste of time, etc. which isn’t true.”

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Christian depicts iconic girls (and Angelica’s Mom) from our childhood in the style of THE most iconic picture of Cam’ron.

Christian’s unique style is what makes his work stand out. Often set against a black or color coordinating background the characters have a black outline with colors that pop off the canvas. You’re likely to see his version of one of your favorite childhood characters in his work ranging from the classics to more underrated characters. But, chances are you’ll find them stylized in a way that’s equally familiar as it is unfamiliar. “For the longest I would love to paint popular 90’s cartoon characters in scenes from my favorite 90’s hood films like Juice, Menace II Society and Paid in Full. I just remember when I first started out that is what first made me go viral in the first place so I just decided that I was going to keep doing paintings like this and people just stared to recognize my artwork from this art style.”

“I think one of the main reasons why I paint characters from my childhood is because the 90’s were lit. I believe that the 90’s has some of the best cartoons out ever. The cartoons that are displayed on television now don’t even compare. I simply have them displayed in my artwork because they are something that I am familiar with and brings me back to a time where I was happy and didn’t really a care in the world. I also display them in my artwork because I want my work to have that sense of nostalgia. I want people to see my artwork have it bring them back to the time where cartoons were amazing.” Christian’s words sum up his art perfectly. On any given post on his Instagram you’ll find Penny Proud, Suzie Carmichael, The PowerPuff Girls and many more. However, for some of these you may find them wearing something you recognize from a completely different show or movie entirely. This is because Christian has drawn them in a mashup style which is “basically the artist taking one character and designing them to look like another. The way that I decide on which characters that I want to use in these types of paintings all comes down to which characters have similarities.” One of my favorites in which he does this is combining Riley Freeman and Killmonger. “With the Riley Freeman as Killmonger paintings, it was easy for me to come up with that Idea because Riley Freeman displays all the characteristics of Killmonger with his attitude, hairstyle and even just the way that he thinks.” 

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Christian depicts Huey and Riley Freeman as Black Panther and Killmonger

If you’ve gotten this far in the article you more than likely recognize Christian’s work. His pieces have gone viral more than once and someone you know has probably sent you one of his pieces and said something along the lines of “I thought you’d like this” Christian recalls the first time he went viral as an “exciting experience”. “I remember posting my artwork on Twitter, then the next day waking up to so many notifications and followers to the point that I had to turn my phone off because it was overheating. I always tell myself that the experience of me going viral for the first time couldn’t have happened at a better time. I am grateful that it happened, and it really made my business take off.” Y’all know when people say “Twitter do your thing” right? Sometimes Twitter does it all on its own. “Going viral with my artwork is a regular occurrence on my Twitter page. That’s why I would probably say out of all the social platforms that I have; I believe Twitter is the best just because your artwork can get around easier just by a simple retweet.” Christian is a direct example of how we are truly in a digital age. Social Media makes everything spread faster and in this case it’s bringing happiness to people and business to his passion. 

 Like most creative endeavours, art is something that takes time. Creating it takes time. Gaining a following with it takes time. Making money with it takes time.  But if it’s your passion you know all these things are part of the process. “I decided that I was going to just sell the artwork that I had already in my possession and hope for the best. I can admit that at first it was very stressful and there were times that I wanted to give up because it wasn’t as consistent as I wanted it to be, but every time I had got a new order it would always boost my confidence and just make me want to go harder.” 

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Christian combines different era Power Rangers with their color scheme counterparts from DragonBall Z and Super.

Christian has already put in years of work but he’s not stopping anytime soon. “I always told myself that I either wanted to create my own cartoon characters in hopes of one day having it get displayed on television or to create my own clothing line. I still want to do these two ideas, especially having my own cartoon characters because I would create more that are African American.” Representation of our people in a positive light, especially in animation is something we need more of. Spider-Verse was definitely a huge step forward but there is still progress to be made. When our children see these characters they should feel inspired and represented. “I guess my ultimate goal would be just to inspire up and coming artist to never give up and continue to keep putting artwork out in the world that you love without anyone criticism.”

Christian has words for the next generation too saying, “The advice I would give up and coming artist reading this would be to never give up on something that you are passionate about.” This takes on a different level for him personally as he not only changed his major in college from art to political science but quit art all together because of the opinion of his art professor – who failed him too. “…Never stop doing something that you love just because someone told you that they don’t like it. As long as you like your work, that’s all that really matters.” 

You can follow Christian on Twitter and Instagram and purchase his artwork here