Vancouver-born artist Rykka (Christina Maria) has taken a major shift in her music while recording her latest album, Kodiak.
She has been performing since she was 16 when she began travelling with her guitar. She has hopped back and forth between Canada and Europe in the last few years performing in cafés and clubs under the name Christina Maria, playing in major cities such as Zurich, Berlin, Toronto and Vancouver. She recently returned from a tour in Germany this past spring.
During that time singer-songwriter Rykka developed a folk sound that was at times a bit country, at times a bit jazz.
Not only has she changed her stage name to Rykka for the new album but she has departed from her tried-and-true sound and embraced a rock and pop sound complete with electric guitars and synthesizers.
“As I was writing it, I thought that Christina Maria was a little too unicorns and rainbows,” Rykka says. She thought her music was a little too nice for where she felt she was in her life.
Rykka says she is always evolving throughout her life and her music and a lot of that she attributes to her travelling.
However, working with producer Ryan Guldemond (Mother Mother) has also helped to push her into new territory.
“He’s really visionary,” Rykka says.
She wanted to work with Guldemond because she knew they were both very strong-minded people and that after arguing it out, whatever they came up with would be the right thing to do for the album.
“It really pushed me to take it to a new level,” Rykka says.
The tracks on the new album are sung from the perspective of different animals — “Blackie” from a murder of crows, “Down in the Depths” from deep sea fish and “Grasslands” from wolves. Each song revolves around a scene she had envisioned in her head that she worked towards with a few different animals.
She says songs like “Grasslands” and “Hiding In A Lion” become special to her because they forced her to learn to adapt how she sings.
“I like to scream and sing really loud all the time,” Rykka admits. “Those songs really helped me to learn when to choose my moments better.” She says they helped her to grow a lot as a singer over the course of recording the album.
Kodiak was released May 28. Rykka will perform in Calgary at Wine-Ohs on June 14.