Talented local singer-songwriter RIIKI REID has just released her debut EP Newer Oxygen after embarking on a new journey that included a name change. We caught up with RIIKI to chat about the new music releases, jumping in the co-director seat for the first time and performing live. 

Newer Oxygen is RIIKI’s debut EP, well a ‘mini EP’ as she calls it because it has just three songs – it may seem like a small record but those tunes appearing on the ‘mini EP’ is on purpose as RIIKI sees them as a collection. “The title kind of speaks in its own way, I’m on a bit of a new journey now I guess in terms of I’ve moved from RIIKI to RIIKI REID and that’s all just been through a year of growth really and identifying what makes me me, what makes my music what it is and just kind of breathing in new fresh air.” 

RIIKI recently released a visualiser to Dream State, one of the three songs on Newer Oxygen, and it is a bit of a special one as she shared that it is the first video she’s ever co-directed. “The song is about a dream I had this one night, it was a really weird dream so when I was listening to the song I kind of had this full image of what the video would look from the get-go. I reached out to Ezra Simons and I asked him to co-direct it with me, I shared all the ideas that I had with him. I had written a whole treatment and a whole concept around how I wanted it to be and he pretty much just handed me the reins.” 

RIIKI also mentioned the Dream State music video was special for another reason as she had a lot of her friends from Wellington involved including her best friend doing the styling and the dancers happened to be from RIIKI’s old dance crew which made the shoot ‘so much fun’. The musical creativity didn’t stop there as on the eve of the EP release ‘RIIKI REID’s Window’ was brought to life at a little store on Auckland’s K’Road that had stemmed from a pop-up activation brainstorm with her record label, Warner. The installation featured graphics of the EP cover and lyrics which sported RIIKI’s fresh new logo and also had a countdown timer to the release.

RIIKI’s new EP release comes hot off the heels of her recent tour in Australia supporting Budjerah. Now that events are back on in NZ, we chatted about the possibility of touring her new music and what she loved most about performing live. “I think it’s just meeting people after you perform to be honest, that’s always really fun. I love performing in general, I started dancing when I was 5 so I feel like because of that I’d always had the opportunity to be on a stage so I kind of feel naturally that it is a comfortable place for me but really it’s about the people.”  

While talking about getting back into performing live, I also asked if there was a song she was excited to perform here, in particular off the new EP. The last track on the record Say You Want Me is actually one that was created a while ago but has been given a freshen up after first playing it in gigs years ago. “I think it’s funny, I loved it back when I made it in my first year of University because I studied music at Massey and I wrote that song for an assignment and I performed it at a showcase.” RIIKI had a lecturer that thought she needed to ‘pick one lane’ in terms of genre which did contribute to the song getting shelved. 

“I let it go and now three years later I came back to it. I actually really didn’t like it, I was like this is so cheesy, this is so baby RIIKI and someone who I work with was like ‘we have to do this song, it’s so good.” She may have ‘put her food down’ at the beginning around letting Say You Want Me stay on the studio cutting room floor but after some more encouragement, RIIKI gave it one more go (and we’re glad she did!). “I was like fine, I’ll rework it and sit with it for a day and see what I can do with it, and I did that, sent it to a mixer and got the mix back a month later. I was like omg that’s what it needed and I love it now, it’s full circle really.” 

Newer Oxygen is set to be just the start of the music releases in 2022 for RIIKI as she shared “I just want to release as much music as possible in the next year and hope that it’s received well and connects with people, I think that’s the biggest thing”.

Newer Oxygen is available to stream now and you can keep up with RIIKI via her Instagram page.