Q: This song is empowering and sends an important message for people to
realize their self-worth. What inspired you to write “Count Me In”?
RIAH: I wrote this song reflecting on how I became the person I am today. Being a woman of color in a community that was predominately white, was hard. Daily, I was faced with the pressures of how I looked, acted, and was viewed. This song is to remind myself and any other little brown girls, that nothing that anyone says about you, defines you. That it is important to recognize those around you who are weighing you down and are plotting against you- to remember that you are worthy, and when you take ownership for yourself and who you are, nothing that anyone else says to you, will matter. Lastly, to remind the same little brown girls who were always left out because they were different, that being different is unique, and being unique is rare.
Q: Walk us through your writing and production process in making “Count
RIAH: Like most of my songs I have written, I kind of wrote this song out of nowhere. After my biological father passed away, I began to do A LOT of reflecting. During the time of his passing, I found out so much about my African American side that I had never knew or valued before. During this time of reflecting and learning so much about a culture that sometimes felt foreign to me, I came to the realization that there was nothing ever wrong with me when I was a child. During elementary and middle school, it was SO hard to fit in with others around me because people really just didn’t understand my story. When I got to High School, there then was another hurdle where it was like I had to try and re-define who I was to fit in with my new peers. All of these experiences truly motivated me to put my feelings to paper which led to the creation of this particular song.
Q: Your vocals have a lot of behind them soul and your style is dope!
What first got you into music?
RIAH: Thank you, seriously. Nowadays it’s really hard to pick a specific genre for my music as I like to experience all different sounds and vibes. That kind of ties into why I fell in love with music to begin with. Growing up, I used to listen to all different types of singers like Shania Twain, Selena, Alicia Keys, Spice Girls, and Brittney Spears. I used to literally record each of their music videos on VHS and play it back on my TV throughout the day and pretend like I was in the music video with them. They were my escape. Music was my escape. When I was in 3rd grade, my family put me in orchestra, and I fell in love with playing and creating music, instantly. When I would get kicked out of class, I would always sneak into my Middle school’s music room and teach myself to play the piano- for hours. I quickly became part of the city’s elite orchestra group and received a full ride to the Longy School of Music when I was in 7th grade, which I eventually declined when I went to High School.
Q: What has been one of the highlights of your music career so far?
RIAH: Honestly, one of the best highlights of my career so far, was when I walked into the studio for the first time. I felt like I was finally home- doing what I was put on this earth to do.
Q: What has been, so far, your favorite song to perform and why?
RIAH: Unfortunately I haven’t been able to perform anywhere yet! I was supposed to perform for my cities Pride Parade in 2020 but it ended up getting cancelled due to all the restrictions in regards to the pandemic
Q: What would you like to say to your fans out there?
RIAH: There is so much my music says for itself, that I hope resonates with my fans and supporters. Most importantly, I want them all to know that their voices and experiences matter. That they are worthy and important. That everyone has a story, and with that story, they can either choose to let it define them, or they can inspire others. The ball is always in your court.