Rykka

Christina Maria launches pop persona, Rykka, in Kelowna

The metamorphosis of an artist: June 15 concert at the Streaming Café sees one-time Vancouverite Christina Maria become the nomadic Rykka

  • Jun. 5, 2013 9:00 a.m.

The very cool thing about being a dedicated artist is that the bottom line—the branding, packaging, consistency and so on—means nothing when compared to vision.

Folk singer Christina Maria is a great example. While her original brand, Christina Maria, was working well, earning her top seeding in the 2010 Peak Performance Project alongside solid West Coast indie acts like 2011 Juno-winner Greg Sczebel, Aidan Knight and Adaline, she wasn’t afraid to throw caution to the wind and chase a new dream.

“I think I was falling into a lot of habits with acoustic guitar. I just found, for me, it was getting a little bit stale,” she said.

As a more traditional singer/songwriter, she crooned about loves lost and found, but when she started melding different sounds on a synthesizer, throwing in jagged, rock-style electric guitar riffs, and adding the kind of catchy pop melodies used to chart a single, it was evident change was in the wind.

Like a good Madonna, Christina Maria soon birthed Rykka, a fresh musical persona to work under.

The moniker doesn’t mean much. It’s Northern European and she is Swiss-Canadian. Currently dividing her time between her ancestral homeland and North America, the connection to her roots is likely appealing, but ultimately the choice is the product of a random Internet search of baby names.

“Rykka” is nonetheless a very apropos label to begin life with her new baby, an album that took a full year of daily work to write, record and produce.

“I was trying out a lot of different sounds and beats and it took me a long time to get my grounding in the music,” she explained.

One part Arts & Crafts-style coquettish pop, one part thunderous drums, this record boasts an endless stream of creativity in 12 songs, each apparently written from the animals’ point of view.

RykkaThe work is intended to speak to the damage human beings are doing to the Earth and act as a bridge for people to understand how our collective behaviour affects the natural environment.

This animal perspective was always in the plan, but refining which sounds to use in the effort was apparently more of a challenge.

“I’ve been changing a lot because I travel so much and really just try to let things influence me,” said Rykka.

There are artists who don’t want to have their sound pinned down to a particular genre, but for this 27-year-old, it’s her spirit and lust for the open road that cannot be confined. Moving as often as every two months, she would like to be known as a nomad and finds it endlessly frustrating that the world can’t accept her global perspective and lifestyle without a labelling her from somewhere.

She’s found an artists’ collective, a farmhouse in Switzerland where she can freely go to write in a natural environment that splendidly sets the stage for her work. It’s also a place to get to know the extended family her father’s father left behind to immigrate. And yet, as a Vancouverite by birthright, she’s also very fond of the West Coast, hopping around Western Canada at will, picking up work along the way.

“I’ve been full-time doing music for 11 years and it’s been awesome,” she said, just before launching into a stream of places she would like to tour, including France and the United States.

Unfortunately, touring takes an immense amount of planning and means pre-booking months, even years in advance. She’s currently setting dates for a German tour a year from now with hopes a tour south of the border will be in the cards before its time to write another album.

This album, titled Kodiac, is already receiving praise from critics, though it has yet to be released. “Every single song on this album has a memorable chorus,” writes Canadian music blogger Michael Thomas of GrayowlPoint.com.

“If you’re interested in finding a female vocalist that is commercial and yet manages to not sound at all like any of her Top 40 female contemporaries, then you’ll like Rykka,” says Kat Hariton in her review for Lithium Magazine.

Kelowna falls exactly halfway through her upcoming tour dates to celebrate the album release. To decide how you like Rykka for yourself, head to the Streaming Café June 15. Show at 7 p.m. There is no cover.

Follow Jennifer Smith on Twitter @jaswrites

Just Posted

The rockets lost to their rivals in the regular season opener

The Kelowna Rockets fell 4-1 to the Kamloops Blazers in Kamloops on… Continue reading

Great news for Indigenous youth program in BC

The federal government came through with over $1 million in funding for Indigenous youth program

Telephone poles placed in centre of sidewalk angers West Kelowna watchdog

Audience Group calls placement of poles in new Boucherie Road upgrade project ‘idiocy’

Kelowna asking public to help update its Cultural Plan

Second survey this year to posted to gather public input about cultural programs and services

Blood transfusion saved colitis-stricken Lake Country woman’s life

Rebecca Roth encourages public to support Lake Country blood donor clinic Sept. 26

Your weekend weather update

Rain continues to move right across the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

BALONEY METER: Do Liberal policies mean a typical family is $2,000 richer?

MPs took to Twitter to talk how ‘typical’ Canadian families have more money due to Liberal policies

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

Low risk associated with case of pneumococcal disease in the South Okanagan

No identified risk to the public from recent case of pneumococcal disease with associated meningitis

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read