Artist Interviews

Music Gateway x Ryan Koriya

Photograph of the blog post author, Heather Froude

Heather Froude

29.10.2020

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We had the pleasure of chatting with singer-songwriter/film composer/producer (and more), Ryan Koriya. With so many talents, Ryan’s career has skyrocketed and he’s now living and working professionally in Ibiza! You might recognise Ryan already, he’s featured on our homepage!

We won’t give too much away! Read on to learn more about the foundations behind Ryan’s success!

First of all thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into music. How would you describe your role in the industry? 

artist with guitar

Thanks for the opportunity to have a chat guys. It’s a pleasure to be a part of the MG family (and to be currently featured on your homepage). I am what you could call a musicpreneur, as I wear a few different hats that marry arts and commerce, which is essentially what the music business is. I’m a singer-songwriter, film composer, multi-instrumentalist and music producer. I also add lush string arrangements to songs for musicians, which brings that extra touch of class to their recordings. (think Coldplay’s Scientist/Politik or Metallica’s S&M)

 I started my own record label in Ibiza in 2018 and also became a music industry consultant to help independent artists navigate the elusive and mutating music industry v2020. 

I started playing the violin at the age of fourteen which was offered as an activity at my high school in Zimbabwe. I quickly added the cello to my arsenal and it’s still to me, the most gorgeous sounding string instrument today. It was simply love at first re-sight-al!

You’ve recently made your Netflix debut scoring their first Zimbabwean film ‘Cook Off’ big congrats! Tell us more about why this was such an exciting and important project to be involved in. 

Thanks! Scoring Cook Off had many firsts. It was my first feature film score, it was the director’s first feature-length movie, the lead actress’s first feature film lead role. The film was made entirely by a Zimbabwean crew to help showcase the local talent that is in abundance, with no actual local film industry per se, to support it. The film was independently made on a measly budget of US$ 8 000, so making it all the way to Netflix as the first Zimbabwean movie to do so, is a testament to the power of ambition, belief and teamwork. Filmmaking is a collaborative art at any stage of the process.

You created the score for this independently which is really impressive! Can you tell us about your creative process and how you captured the authentic Zimbabwean feel? 

I feel like I got off lightly! I created the entire score in Ibiza Spain and hardly had any edits to do. The director liked my compositions and just ran with them. He had given me a brief of what he was looking for, so it seems I nailed it early on. We wanted to have a hint of an African feel despite it being a classical score. I accomplished that by using traditional orchestral instruments alongside some African textures. Namely, the marimba, exotic percussion, hand claps and then used vocal chanting at the very end with a brass fanfare, which was a common sound in my youth. We had Zimbabwean marching bands and drum majorettes at major events. Thanks to technology, I created the whole score in my home studio using great software like Hans Zimmer Strings from Spitfire Audio (featuring strings recorded at London’s Air Studios). I wrote and produced some of the score at Ibiza’s iconic Sonic Vista Studios which is a creative haven for musicians. They have a wide roster of clients that ranges from Lady Gaga, 50 Cent, David Guetta to indie artists such as myself, with great affordable remote mixing and mastering services too.

Have you watched the film? What do you think? 

I got to watch the film with my final score just days after sending across the files. I managed to fly to London for the Cook Off premiere and I have to say, it’s better hearing your music on a booming cinema sound system on a big screen, than it is watching it on a computer screen at home.  I also watched it on Netflix which is a whole other kind of buzz. Seeing my name in the credits was also a dream come true. The film had already screened at film festivals in Africa, Europe and The US, winning awards prior to my score being added. They had used some temporary library music until they hired me for the job in 2019. 

There were comments from the director’s family who’d watched pretty much every iteration of the film to that point. They said how much of a difference having my custom score in the film made to the overall feel. I think that’s the magic of being able to create music that fits to a scene like a glove.

How long have you been a member of Music Gateway and what do you think of the platform? 

I joined MG in February 2018 as a way to host all my compositions in one place and to be able to pitch them to film projects. I love how simple it is to pitch once you’ve set up all your metadata and account information. You simply click one button to send the song through and all the required data is attached. That saves so much time, especially for the busy artist, businessman and producer. Another useful feature I like on MG is the online storage. All my music file links can be sent to other collaborators without having to max out my email folders. A feature I love as well, is the ability to network by posting or answering calls for collaboration. As I mentioned before, filmmaking is a collaborative process, and so is the music part of it.

What would be your top 3 tips to anyone hoping to follow in your footsteps? 

  1. Find your niche. Analyse the music you make and figure out where it naturally fits in the film world. I have an artist on my label, who had no idea his music was cinematic till his friends told him that, he then sought me out as a result.
  2. Metadata is golden! Make sure your tracks are tagged correctly with all the right genres, keywords, moods and copyright information. You can’t be found if you don’t come up in searches and, if you don’t own the music or have clearance to license it… you’re stuck! This really matters, so also try to avoid using (un-cleared) samples.
  3. Be you. Don’t force it. Make music that has your own emotional channel tapped in. Music supervisors like music that is authentic. If your music really moves people, you my friend, already have a head start!

What are your plans for the near future? 

I am really excited, as I recently moved into my own little place in Ibiza, so now I can create new cinematic music to add to my arsenal. I am also going to record songs I’ve written over the years, for my performing projects. One is acoustic guitar-based and the other is more dance/electronic. I think now is the time for artists to create, to load up on ammunition for when the sun shines again upon the arts world. We live in a content creating economy.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’m currently publishing helpful tips for artists to on my record label’s socials, called Runway Vertical Records. If they need inspiration on how to navigate through these weird times, I post blogs and give away free consultations, so they can follow RV on Instagram and Facebook if they’d like to reach out.

My parting message for artists is this:

Keep the faith. Be still if you have to. In times like this, the arts tend to adapt and thrive, so don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and if there’s something you’re trying to achieve, someone’s already done it, so learn what you can from them.

Thank you Music Gateway for being a light of hope for us artists who desire to make music for film and TV.

Check out Ryan’s socials below!

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | The Cook Off Score

We really hope you enjoyed reading all about Ryan Koriya and all the amazing work he’s done and plans to do in the future! Music Gateway is also here to help you. Find people to collaborate and work within our global community, promote your music, get your music featured in film, tv, games, adverts and more! The best part is that you can try Music Gateway for free, no strings attached, just sign up below.

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