Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Mar 16th 2010 8:00PM by Donna Rodgers
How did you get started as a performer?
One day, when I was still 15, I started writing because I was bored. I happened to write a song even though I didn't sit down trying to write it. My sister knew DJ Blagstar and she showed him my writing. He asked if I knew how to rap. I called him and rapped to his answering machine, even though I really wasn't experienced at rapping then. I started linking up with DJ Blaqstar in the studio and we became friends, then with M.I.A. and (DJ) Diplo. When M.I.A. heard my song, she wanted to meet me. It was pretty exciting to hear they liked my song! They (M.I.A. and Diplo) wanted to experiment with our sound, and from there we were playing together. We started to record in Baltimore, where I'm from.
Where do you like to play?
I play in a lot of clubs, and I enjoy playing overseas the most -- in London and Sweden, two of my favorite places -- most of Europe and Australia. I haven't been to Asia yet. Australia is crazy. The party scene there is so into it, they really party, they really go all out. They have the best time in Europe, too, they just wall out. It's way more crazy in some ways than here, although there are places where people know how to get into it and party. I have to say that the only thing really bad about overseas travel is the food. In the U.K., I like to eat fish and chips. But the food was bad a lot of places. I ordered Chinese food in Belgium. That was really bad.
How do you describe your sound?
My sound is dance music. A lot of music is drawn from techno or house, and I'm always experimenting and clashing up ordinary hip-hop and R&B sounds, and I experiment with it all. M.I.A. has probably been my biggest influence so far.
How did you choose your name?
It's what people call me. My name is Ryeisha, and shortened up it's Rye Rye. M.I.A. and Diplo called me that, too.
What's in your festival survival kit?
I actually went to SXSW last year. I didn't really know what it was like, and it was a lot! When I got there it was like amazing, not scary, but a new experience. This year, I guess I have a few things to put in my survival kit. I'll be me. Last year, it was only me and my dancers, and this year I have crazy lights on stage, a striking [new image] -- the action image, the outfit, the hair, is different. It's important with all this to be myself. Be on point. Put on a show where people remember, put my stage set up in lights.
What are your musical influences?
I was a dancer growing up, and anything that makes me move influences me. I am influenced by Michael Jackson, Missy Elliott (Dance City and the choreography), Aaliyah and Nas, even though he's strictly hip-hop.
What are your musical guilty pleasures?
Sometimes, I've been really into Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, the Fire Flies, Kris Allen ...
Beatles or Stones?
Beatles, because the people I know are drawn to the Beatles. The Stones are cool too, although I barely listen to them. I don't really relate that much to either band but they are classic and I've watched them.
Do you get into any mischief when you're on the road? Do you have any vices?
Once at LAX, I got stopped because security told me I was reported as a missing person by my mother. I was coming home from Sweden with Nick, my assistant. I knew my mother knew where I was, but because I was still only 17, the police told me I had to call my mother and let her know where I was. I love my mother and my home and she was as surprised as I was. They threatened to put me into a group home if I didn't call her then and there. It was just crazy.
No, I don't have vices.
What is the craziest thing you've ever experienced while on tour?
I lost my passport in London and I needed it to get back home. I went to the embassy over there, it was me and Nick, and they were questioning us. Everything worked out, but it was tense.
What's next for Rye Rye?
I'm finishing my album, 'Go! Pop! Bang!' It's coming out this summer. I am still recording in case I want to swap some songs. There will be 12 or 13 tracks. I'm working with Interscope Records, I'm signed to M.I.A.'s label (N.E.E.T.) and I'm still being produced by the people who know me, who know how to work best with my voice. They're the people I'm comfortable with -- M.I.A., Diplo, Blaqstar, Egyptian Lover.
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