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Switzerland: Rykka – “Life is about growth and moving forward”

It's Rykka who is representing Switzerland in Stockholm
It’s Rykka who is representing Switzerland in Stockholm

Ahead of Eurovision we caught up with the Swiss hopeful Rykka to find out more about herself a singer and her career so far. We talk to her about her evolution as an artist, her change in style and her upcoming album.

Thanks so much for speaking to us Rykka, we’re now around a month away from the 61st Eurovision Song Contest, it’s all getting very close, how are you feeling?

It feels great to be part of Eurovision is such a special adventure, I’m meeting so many new amazing people!

We spoke to you ahead of the Swiss selection, at the time you said you didn’t want the journey to end and wanted to make it all the way to Eurovision. How has the journey been since winning the selection?

It’s amazing! I wish for myself to really embrace to experience. I really want to live in the moment and love the craziness. I also want to focus on the amazing people that I meet along the way and hold those who support me close.

When we spoke in January we talked about your song and the meaning of your song, this time we want to know more about who Rykka is and what it is that makes you tick as a singer. I want to start by asking at what point it was that you decided you wanted to be a singer?

I started singing with my brother and sister when I was very young. Our mother taught us how to sing. When I was 16, I got a job at a restaurant called Swiss Chalet. When I got my first paycheque, I bought a guitar and started to write songs. My mom was really supportive and would always drive me to different open mics so I could perform. After I finished high school I went to music school for about 3 years. Since then I’ve changed my music style a few times, and even my artist name from my real name, Christina Maria, to Rykka. I’m very ambitious and I see change as an important part of life.

You first emerged as a singer under your name Christina Maria, at the time this was a more folk sound that what we hear from you today. What was it that influenced your style at the time and how did you feel as a singer then?

I don’t think I can narrow it down. I think life just influenced me. I get bored of one genre or one look. Life is about growth and moving forward and I feel like I follow that.

2012 comes you and are now performing as Rykka with the style we associate with you now. Why the name change and the shift in style?

I like to experiment and try out new things. It’s fun and important to have a strong image, but once it’s set I’m not afraid to change it with the next album or tweak it for tour. I never want to stop growing and if I limit myself it should be to learn more about myself and my art, not the opposite. For years I went by my own name Christina Maria, but as I finished recording my last record, Kodiak, I really felt a change in the music and knew that I was ready to change my name as well. I looked online for baby names. I found Rykka!

You are now heading towards the biggest event a singer can participate in, the Eurovision Song Contest. How did participation in the Swiss selection come about and what was it that made you set your aims on the Eurovision stage?

I had just spent all year working on my new record, and I thought it would be an amazing adventure. I was right, it worked! I have a lot of new music that is all ready to go.

When you take to the stage in May you will be the fourth Canadian singer to participate in Eurovision, your following in the footsteps of Natasha St-Pier, Annie Cotton and Celine Dion, how does that feel?

It feels great! I grew up in a community where everyone I knew had a guitar. I’m wildly inspired by my peers in both Switzerland and Canada. I also find it surreal to be compared to a legend like Céline Dion! It’s an absolute honour.

After Eurovision you have a new album scheduled for release in the autumn titled Beatitudes, what can we expect from it and what are your hopes for it?

Beatitudes means extreme happiness. I’m really hard on myself and that kind of gets in the way of my own happiness. This record shows that struggle.

We Rykka the best of luck this May and for your upcoming album.

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