Riiki Reid talks about music, identity and inspiration

Raquel Abolins-Reid, or Riiki Reid, has lived in Wellington all his life, growing up in Churton Park. She went to Onslow College and says she has always been immersed in the arts, be it dance, music or theatre.

Before getting into music, she danced on a hip hop dance crew and had been a dance teacher since 2015 at Pump Dance Studios while studying commercial music at Massey University. In 2021, she decided to devote herself full-time to music.

What projects have you worked on?

RR: I just finished working on my first EP Newer Oxygen. I am now directing my energy towards the next EP and creating content to go with it.

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What was the reason for your artistic name change?

I had grown a lot. I’ve spent most of 2021 thinking and thinking deeply about what makes me “me”. The name change was really just to emphasize that a change was happening.

What motivates and inspires you as a musician and artist?

I follow a lot of other creatives online in all kinds of artistic fields, they really inspire me, and usually they give me little brainwaves of ideas that push me to react creatively. My family, friends and where I live really inspire me musically. I’ve always treated music like a secret diary as a way to release all thoughts in my mind. I love journaling and most of what I write in my journal inspires me musically.

Riiki Reid decided to pursue music full time last year.


Riiki Reid decided to pursue music full time last year.

Tell us about your artistic approach…

It changes all the time. I don’t think I have a set creation method. I am constantly finding new ways to work. Most of the time, I start the process of writing a song if I feel a certain emotion very strongly. Sometimes the music comes first, sometimes the lyrics come first. From there, sometimes the song immediately sparks some sort of conceptual idea visually, and I start writing brainstorms and creating mood boards on potential videos or show ideas or dance routines . Collaborating on music and ideas opens my mind and helps me a lot.

How has the pandemic affected your way of thinking and producing music?

I learned not to force myself to write a good song, but rather to use it as a way to clear my head and build relationships with others. I felt like for a while during Covid I was really trying to force it out of me, at some point I felt like I lost the sense of who I am in as a musician. Having so much downtime due to Covid has forced me to reflect on who I really am as a musician and to look deep within myself and find a bigger meaning to connect to my music.

What is the best advice you have received?

The first thing I have to remember is that I’m in this industry because I love doing it and it fulfills me. When you start to turn a hobby into a career, I feel like it’s possible to start losing the love you have for it – all other aspects of the career start to overshadow the simple joy and pleasures. When I start to get overwhelmed, I remind myself to focus on the fun and not take that part too seriously.

Reid says the pandemic has taught him the importance of not trying to force songwriting.


Reid says the pandemic has taught him the importance of not trying to force songwriting.

What do you prefer in music?

Connect with people and meet people. The friendships and people you meet along the way are one of the coolest things about this industry.

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