Emerging Perth jazz pop artist Rcadia’s musical journey is far from ordinary, which makes the story behind her new album all the more fascinating. Rcadia grew up in India in a musical family and from a young age was inspired by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys. Now after spending her time performing with acclaimed R&B acts across Perth she is stepping out on her own with her debut album Broken But Free out on Tuesday, October 23 on Bandcamp, iTunes and Google Play. Surprisingly, it was a hip hop producer Rob Shaker that was the right fit for bringing her songs to life in the studio in a way that felt natural and empowering. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with Rcadia to find out about her story so far, the profound and personal notion behind the album’s title and what we can look forward to at the launch at the Sewing Room on Saturday, November 24.
Firstly congratulations on your album Broken But Free. What was the thinking behind the title of that, does it sum up more than just the music on the release and maybe more about yourself and your journey to this point?
Those two words somehow started to appear in every song that I started to write. Most of the songs are really about a journey through obstacles and experiences in life and growing up and learning how to change the way you think… to find that positive in the negative. I found this freedom when I started to overcome those obstacles. It’s almost like my heart was broken but in time everything happens for a reason and I felt this sense of freedom and that title really just appeared in all the songs so I just thought it was perfect to sum it all up.
You grew up in India and moved to Australia when you were nine years old. What kind of music did you listen to in your early years and did you ever think it would take you to where you are today?
What I remember was all I ever did back then was just sing in front of my family, at parties. My dad was a musician so he was out performing in Indian bands and I found that quite an inspiration and I felt like I was just born with music. To tell you truth, life has its ways. If I had stayed in India I’m not sure if I would have ever reached this point. I just feel so blessed I was given the opportunity to come to Australia.
How did you find yourself connecting with the kind of music and style that you’ve come to grow into and what kind of artists do you feel really put you on that journey?
I grew up with the voices of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey and Aretha Franklin and Etta James and what drew me to them was this power they had in their voice. They didn’t have to do too much, they just had to sing and it just captured me and I was like “this is what music is about.” You can really make a difference in the world and really make a change with that power. I would listen to them and keep practicing myself and train myself as a singer. I’ve really been inspired by those artists and then you know out comes Adele and Alicia Keys and just the emotion, when I listen to them I feel every single word and that was something that I wanted to be I wanted to be someone that could be so powerful through music that could show people every bit of emotion that I was feeling and hope that they could join me on that kind of journey.
You’ve also been playing onstage around Perth for a few years now in the R&B band Sin City. Has that been a factor in following your musical dreams as well?
I’m so glad I really dived into the R&B field because that’s where I really found my voice and the way I felt comfortable singing and bringing out the emotion the way I wanted to. I really love R&B, the feel and the groove of it. To tell you truth when I’m performing these songs I’m really on the stage just dancing most of the time because I feel so part of that rhythm and that groove and that’s what attracts me to the music.
What was it that made you want to put your name on something as Rcadia – as yourself?
When you’re growing up you really want to have your own voice and I probably was a bit sensitive, a bit intimidated. Being in a band helped me to build confidence and face a lot of obstacles but I wanted to show people that I have a lot more to say and the only way I could do it was to break free from these obstacles, take a risk myself, create Rcadia and create music that people could really just listen to. It was like me just standing in front of everyone saying “hi guys, I’m Rcadia and I have something to say.”
When talking about your single Sweet Romance you said it was about feeling as though when you lost your love of music you also felt like you were losing yourself. What did you mean by that?
You dive in to music and you surround yourself with a lot of people and you come to a point where you feel that these people have your back but at the same time they don’t and it just really breaks your heart and it’s within that music area so when I was around these people I was losing that passion for music but at the same time I knew the only way to survive was to not let it go so I knew that I had to break free and find myself so I remember sitting down going “alright, you’ve got to get through this” and then I just started to write hoping the music that I had within me wouldn’t go anywhere because it was important to get through it. Music is too powerful for me to lose and when I found people taking that away from me I had to find a way to take it back for myself.
For this album you found and surrounded yourself with a bunch of people that helped you bring these songs to life. What can you tell us about those people and how do you think they influenced the result?
I’m so grateful to have found the producer Rob Shaker from Shakedown Studio. He literally accepted me for who I was and I came there with all my ideas and he let me be so free with the music but at the same time he was teaching me things in a way that I was really absorbing it and he started to bring all my ideas and emotions to life and I was just so grateful that I had found someone that would just let me be me. Through him I met the others guys through ProFresh and they have been amazing as well. It’s like these particular people, I feel like they have my back and because of that I’m so confident in putting this music out there.
Coming into that environment, was there any way the songs turned out that maybe you weren’t expecting?
Rob is a hip hop producer and the music that I brought was more the old school R&B, jazz and pop. I actually never doubted anything, I went in there with an open mind was just ready for the music to take its creative self. When I write I didn’t have a precise idea of how it was meant to be I’m so open to a point where I let it create itself and knew if it makes me feel that emotion that’s coming out of it then it’s heading in the right direction.
So it’s a big month ahead for you with a new video coming out along with the album on October 23 and an album launch show coming after that on November 24 at The Sewing Room. What are you looking forward to the most?
The Sewing Room is such an amazing venue and I’ll also have an amazing band Trisk who is going to play with me as well as doing a support set before so it’s going to be a great night and I’m so happy to play with this band. I just want to bring the music out and for people to hear it.
And after the dust settles from all this what are you looking to doing next musically?
Yes, so literally just as I’m doing all this crazy work for this album I’m also creating my second album which is totally taking a whole different shape. In my head I’m already seeing the title in front of me and I’m working on new music but also looking forward to taking this first album out there more and doing a lot more live shows and festivals. I just want to get out there and want people to see these songs live because that’s where they’re going to get the best experience and enjoy them the most.