Need To Know: Rye Rye

3.28.2011

By Phillip B. Crook

Two moments defined the start of club-beat sensation Rye Rye's career. The first was rapping into producer Blaqstarr's answering machine, which led to collaboration on a single. The second was meeting MIA, which led to a record deal. With Blaqstarr defining her sound and MIA guiding her look and performances, Rye Rye quickly rose from her Baltimore club roots to break into the mainstream and tour internationally. At 19, Rye Rye's gearing up to release her first album, Go! Pop! Bang! with the lead single, 'Sunshine,' already grabbing attention. Out chatted with her to find out what it's like being a young musical mother, how she's handling the pressure of her career and where she stands on Lil' Kim vs. Nicki Minaj.

Out: Dance is essential to your sound and your image as a performer. So what's going through your mind when you dance?
Rye Rye: I'm in my own world when the music plays and the base hits me. I'm just, like, gone -- out of this world.

Why do you think club music is now breaking into the mainstream?
Because it's refreshing. Of course everyone loves hip-hop and R&B, but it's a new generation now. Everything changed about the industry and the type of music everyone's doing. Even with the creative, futuristic stuff, it's all about the time. Nowadays, people are into dancing more than anything. People are taking to it in the mainstream because they're looking for a new sound.

Beyonce, for example, said she turns into another person on stage. Is that what's happening when you're in your own world?
I feel like I have two different personalities, like I'm Ryeisha when I'm chillin' and I'm normal. But when I perform, I feel like I'm Rye Rye. When I get on stage it's like I blank out -- because of the crowd reaction, because you're in that mood and you just love music. You release everything. You're focused on making everyone happy. When it's show time, I transform.

What goes into making a memorable performance?
Being happy on stage plays an important role. Interacting with people and giving off that positive energy, because that's what they feed off of. When they feel you're connected and you're just being real and you're having fun, people remember that. It's like a shining light and they're trippin' off that energy. They'll take it from you.

MIA's obviously you're #1 collaborator, but who are some of your dream collaborations?
Missy Elliot, Michael Jackson -- that's really it. I've always said I want to collaborate with other artists that dance. Jay Z could be cool as well, because he's one of my biggest inspirations.

When it comes to the Lil' Kim/Nicki Minaj feud, are you Team Kim or Team Minaj?
I'm neutral. I don't indulge in female beef because I feel like it's silly. Only the females do it. I'm just focusing on my own grind and staying in my own lane and letting them go ahead. I feel like Lil' Kim, she was the greatest -- some people still call her the greatest -- but I feel like it's a new generation. Everyone has their time. You gotta give it up at some point and let other people do it.

Your album is called Go! Pop! Bang! so where are we going, what are we popping and who are we banging?
[Laughs] I could say you're banging. I just wanted to go everywhere and spread my sound and allow everyone to experience it. I wanted to go for it.

Of all the places you've performed worldwide, where have you had the most surprising reaction to your sound?
I just did a show recently on the MIA tour in Belgium, and there was a huge crowd. It was one of the festivals. The reaction was crazy. It was great.

Tags: Music
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