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Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand | INDIE

Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand | INDIE
Band Pop R&B




"Ria is Singing her Story"

When up and coming R&B soul sister Ria Leilua - you can call her RIA - sits down to write a song, it often comes out more like a short story. Or an essay, as the 21-year-old describes it.

"I just have so many ideas in my head, I like to explain every detail, and make it in-depth. Growing up I was on a singer-songwriter tip, with verses and choruses and bridges, but in this pop music industry you hardly ever even have a bridge in a song," she laments.

"But I like to making everything rhyme too," she says with a cute, light-hearted laugh.

Though rhyming is a prominent pop music trait, long and involved stories are not (unless you are prone to writing R&B operas like American smoothie R Kelly). So because she's now in the business of making pop music she pares back the songs to the essence of what she is trying to get across.

Like on Over You, her single from earlier this year, about being totally over a boy, of course.

"Handle the fact that you make me wanna sing ... you make me see that without you I'm a queen," she sings with a hint of glee.

"It was written based on an experience but wasn't written directly to one person ... it was a bit of a risk for me though."

She's not naming names but says there was a lot of speculation around who it was about on the internet. "When it first came out I read a lot of stuff like, 'We know who this is about ...' and people claiming it was about so and so, and it was what I expected to be honest, and so I read it and then just brushed it off."

Songs like Over You and the swinging and twitchy All My Ladies are catchy, R&B pop fodder, but it's her voice that stands out with its low, almost steely lilt akin to Rihanna.

She grew up singing in church, formed girl band Vivah with a group of school friends and took out the Smokefree Pacifica Beats competition - an offshoot of the annual Rockquest - in 2007. "I've always wanted to do music because I grew up with it in church, and I was always in choirs, but I've always wanted to get into music and production and performing so [Vivah] was my first taste of that."

She says as a 17-year-old being in a group was a good, supportive first step, because going solo was daunting - and one she's still getting to grips with.

"In my head I was like, 'No way am I ever going to go solo'," she laughs.

To hone her musical ears and production skills she studied at Auckland's Music and Audio Institute of NZ (Mainz), and now tutors singing at the Otara Music Centre. Last year she signed to indie record label M4U Records, also home to eccentric soul funketeer Stks.

But, she says, she's in no hurry. Her plan is to keep releasing singles and then put out her debut album sometime next year.

Though she has people guiding her career, and the knowledge and the skills of producers behind her in the studio, Leilua insists she's got her own destiny by the scruff of the neck - and is plotting her own future in the music business.

"I'm pretty fussy, and I overthink things sometimes, and in the studio I'd say I get the majority of the say. But at the same time, sometimes I don't get my own way," she jokes.

"I've got this mentality that I'm never going to be a little doormat, and normally I'm actually quite shy, but when I go into the studio I know what I want and what I record is going to stick with me forever, so if I don't agree with it, and like what it sounds like, then I've got to say something"
- NZ Herald


Over You single released on itunes Mar 2011
Call My Name released on itunes Mar 2011
All My Ladies released on itunes Jul 2011

All the above songs have received significant radio airplay, including live tv performances, release of music videos on tv and youtube performances

RIA has a physical Over EP with three tracks, specifically Over You, Call my Name and Wanna Be with you. This physical EP is available at www.thismusic4u.com




RIA is young female recording artist and song writer from Auckland, NZ who's style infuses Pop and Rnb into one. RIA is recognized as an engaging performer, with an upbeat sound and a fresh, young, independent look.
RIA began singing at church and singing gospel music. Her early musical influences include Bebe and Cece Winans, Whitney Houston and Boys to Men. RIA’s soulful sound is often compared to Rihanna which RIA feels is a huge compliment! However, she wants to be recognised in her own right and aims to establish an independent and distinctive sound of her own.

RIA started performing at a young age before leading an all girl band 'Vivah' to becoming winners of the national Smokefree Pacifica Beats in 2007. She's also a graduate from the Music & Audio Institute of NZ (MAINZ) and was a singing tutor at the Otara Music Centre (OMAC).


Discovered by M4U Records in 2010, she was initially a back up vocalist; however as you know, talent doesn't stay in the background for too long! Her recent performances include singing as a backing vocalist for a track on Vince Harder’s album and featuring on 4DG’s song 'We will Walk with you' as a dedication to the Christchurch earthquake. RIA is currently working on a collaboration with Savage from Dawn Raid Entertainment.

RIA performed this year at Parachute Festival, Pasefika Festival,Stage of Origin Earthquake fundraiser and Kolohe Kai Youth Concert and David Tua fight. RIA also went to Sydney to sing NZ National Anthem for NZ vs Australia basketball game at the Syndey Entertainment Centre. While in Sydney RIA performed at the Big Exo Festival alongside acts such as Stan Walker and Jessica Mauboy. RIA also headlined at the stage for young women.


RIA’s debut single 'Over You' was released in late March 2011 and featured in the RIANZ top 40 for 4 weeks in May reaching number 27 on the chart. Over You made itunes list of most wanted kiwi songs for the month of April 2011 and during the first week of May 2011 Over You was the #1 Most Added track on radio. Over You remained at number 2 on the Independent Music NZ (IMNZ) top 10 singles chart for 2 months to July 2011 and also featured on the IMNZ top 10 airplay chart for 11 weeks to the end of June. This has been described by one industry expert “as an exceptional result for a new track from an unknown artist!”

Over you is a song about overcoming a painful break up or any addictions and how finally letting go of something that has held you back is a positive turning point which is empowering, liberating and a natural feeling of ecstasy!

Call My Name is another single yet to be fully released and featuring on RIA’s EP. Call My Name is about realising an unconditional love of forgiveness and acceptance.

RIA latest single called All My Ladies was recently released in July 2011. All My Ladies is about empowering women to achieve all they can be. The song provides a strong positive message for women to not be limited by stereotypes but to take up the challenge and persistently pursue their goals and aspirations.

As a new emerging artist RIA has connected well with listeners and gradually developing a vibrant fan base. RIA currently has three singles on itunes, amplifier and her physical EP with bonus tracks is available on www.thismusic4u.com. RIA is currently working on her first album which should be ready later this year.