RYAH is a whole vibe, and she’s here to make her mark in the music industry. Hailing from Rockland County, 45 minutes outside the city of New York, the rising star brings her own style, swag, and sound into the urban music space, captivating listeners from all over the world with her smooth and sultry voice.
In describing herself, RYAH states she’s “very confident. She’s that boss girl that’s gonna make you feel good about yourself. RYAH loves to have a great time, we’re gonna vibe and kick it. That’s RYAH.”
RYAH’s been in love with singing since she can remember. At age 6, her mom heard her bravado and the rest of history. Growing up listening to Motown and gospel music, RYAH started performing at every party and family cookout. She lists her biggest influences as Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Demi Lovato, Prince and Christina Aguilera — reminding folks of her versatility, and that she’s not bound to any one genre.
Plus, RYAH had the rare opportunity to open up for legends such as Bow Wow and Mario on The Millenium Tour, and she has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
AllHipHop spoke with RYAH in downtown Los Angeles, to discuss her background, her new release “Solo,” shooting “Day and Night,” the independent grind, opening for The Millenium Tour, playing tennis, and more!
AllHipHop: What was it like growing up in Rockland County? I know it’s 45 minutes outside of the city.
RYAH: Growing up, it was very quiet. In terms of my inspiration and music influences, there weren’t a lot of people doing music out there where I grew up. I’m really the only person in my town that’s doing it for real. There’s this girl named Grace VanderWaal, she was on America’s Got Talent. That’s the only other girl, but it’s really me. Growing up, it was fun too, because we did a lot. Playing kickball, and getting to experience what it’s like to be a kid. Obviously, social media took over. It was way different then.
AllHipHop: How long have you been recording now?
RYAH: It’s been about two years professionally, so still getting my feet wet. But I love it. I honestly love it.
AllHipHop: What were you doing before that?
RYAH: Before that, I was in school. School was very important in my family. They wanted me to finish high school, finish college, so that’s what I did. And then I went into music.
AllHipHop: Is RYAH your real name?
RYAH: RYAH is my stage name. My real name is actually Mariah, but I wanted to change it because there’s already Mariah Carey. I always had the nickname RYAH growing up, so that’s how RYAH came about. My manager over there, KP, calls me big RYAH. [laughs] When I be feeling myself.
AllHipHop: You just released “Solo.” Who or what inspired this record?
RYAH: “Solo” is more so a conversation to myself. I’ve been through a lot, been through a lot of different relationship experiences. And I realized that I need to find who RYAH is in that journey, being okay with being alone right now and focus on my career. It was really a conversation to myself.
AllHipHop: So it wasn’t a certain man?
RYAH: No, not “Solo.” [laughs]
AllHipHop: “Solo” is a very female empowering song. Would you say that’s the type of music you make?
RYAH: Yes, definitely, I’m all about all my ladies feeling good about themselves. That was the space that I was in when I wrote this.
AllHipHop: How’s it feel to have “Day and Night” hit over half a million views on YouTube? That’s incredible.
RYAH: Oh my god, I cried. I’m not gonna lie. [laughs] It’s huge. What, me? Little old me hit half a million? I was in shock. I did not expect the reaction of this one. To be honest, I didn’t even think it was going to be my single. The fact that everyone loves it and the response, I’m very humbled by it all.
AllHipHop: What was the best moment from that video shoot?
RYAH: Oh, so much fun. Especially because we got to play with two different spaces, so it allowed me to be creative. I don’t know if you saw behind, there was a circle, so I got to play around in that space. Then do a little choreography too, because a lot of my followers don’t know that I can dance. So I want to show that also. That outfit that I wore, which was fun, we got to play with the lighting so it looked like I had on two different outfits. It was green, but when you hit it, it was blue. It was honestly very fun to create. We shot that in 15 minutes.
AllHipHop: That’s efficient!
RYAH: Yeah, we don’t play games here. [laughs]
AllHipHop: What is it you want people to get from your story or fans?
RYAH: I just want people to feel like they can relate to me. Every song that I write about is about my own personal experience. If you feel you can relate to me, then I am your person basically. I am your voice.
AllHipHop: How’s the independent grind?
RYAH: The independent grind is hard, I’m not gonna lie. There are times where you do question, why are you doing this? Because everything’s on me. Financially, the whole entire budget. Trying to produce all these different projects and everything. It is a lot, but what I do love about it is I have a lot of say in my creativity right now.
AllHipHop: What’s your relationship with DVSN?
RYAH: That is my friend. The vocalist, that’s my homie. We met on the Millennium Tour. I happened to be in Bow Wow’s dressing room and that’s how we met.
AllHipHop: I love that you opened for them! That’s legendary.
RYAH: Yeah no, it was crazy. Because I remember getting the phone call. I was in the mall and KP called me, my manager. He said “so, I need you to get ready. You have a week, we’re going on this tour.” I’m like what? Because that was my first arena tour, it was amazing to have experienced that. 30,000 people every night, every city. Going from city to city, no rest. But the audience, the energy was something I’ll never forget.
AllHipHop: First of all, how did that happen?
RYAH: Honestly, it was my music. The reaction of people hearing it and then reaching out, that’s the power of social media. Someone saw me, reached out to my manager and said, “I want her on the tour.”
AllHipHop: Were you nervous? That’s a lot of people.
RYAH: Yeah, definitely. The first city, I was nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. Of course when I got on stage, the music doesn’t turn on and I’m like oh my God! I just thought of my inspirations: what would Michael do? What would Beyonce do? I just stood there. When the music came on, I was ready. I was so ready. My adrenaline was through the roof. Everyone was screaming my name: RYAH! RYAH! I’m like what?! It was a crazy, crazy moment for me.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from your forthcoming EP? What’s the title?
RYAH: Definitely a new sound. I don’t have a title yet because everything is still in the works. We’re still creating, but I definitely found my sound now. You’re gonna hear a totally different type of RYAH. I have so many layers to myself, you’re going to be shocked and impressed for sure.
AllHipHop: What would you say your sound is?
RYAH: Definitely a dance vibe, a good time. My sound is urban pop, so you’re going to hear a lot of different flavors going on.
AllHipHop: What is a fun fact that fans may not know about you?
RYAH: A lot of people do not know that I play tennis.
AllHipHop: Are you good?
RYAH: I am good. I played when I was in high school, and also in college. I’m very good, especially because I was the MVP in college, then I was double conference champion in high school.
AllHipHop: Did you want to pursue that then?
RYAH: Not really, because I knew there’s going to be a lot of training involved. Singing always was natural to me. It was honestly something I did for fun and got to do with my family.
AllHipHop: Any goals for yourself at this point in your career?
RYAH: Because I’m independent, definitely to be signed eventually. Also to have one of my songs hit the Top 20. I have big dreams.