[Exclusive Interview] Singer-Songwriter RIKA Shows the Difference Sides of "TOXIC" Love in New EP

From BE:LIFT trainee hopeful to now an independent KRnB artist making waves on her own within less than two years, RIKA has released her first EP “TOXIC.” KpopWise caught up to RIKA and discussed her new album and what inspires her to create music. 

Can you introduce yourself to KpopWise readers? 

Hello! My name’s RIKA but a lot of people know me as Erica Kim or Kim Sihyun! Despite my reputation as a rapper because of my viral BE:LIFT audition video, I’m actually an independent KRNB singer-songwriter and I recently came out with my debut 4-track EP, “TOXIC”. If you want to support me, want some new music to listen to, like KRNB, or all of the above, go check out my EP—- out on all platforms now! 

Can you tell us about the album "TOXIC"? 

“TOXIC” is a continuation of my musical storyline starting from my song “Baby In Blue” to “Playboy” and then the 4 songs on the EP. A friend of mine likes to call it the “RIKA Cinematic Universe” haha. The EP talks about toxic relationships but from all angles. From lust to love to heartbreak to becoming the heartbreaker, each song on the EP shows a different side to this story of toxic love. 

Listen to TOXIC on Spotify

What are some things that give you inspiration for songs?  

I think I get my inspiration from a lot of different places! I think to a certain degree my sound is subconsciously influenced by the music I grew up with and the music I enjoy now. I grew up on RNB, hiphop, KRNB, and K-Pop, which I think all play a role into how I make music. As for concepts, I mentioned once in a TikTok that I treat my music like therapy haha. I tend to use songwriting as a way for me to process emotions and experiences. I guess that’s why a lot of my music is a little dark. 

What is your creative process like? 

I think for the most part, it’s kind of spontaneous. I usually have a hard time if I know I have to write something by a deadline haha. Like I mentioned before, I tend to use my music as a way to process things. As messed up as it sounds, I think a lot of the time I need to get my feelings hurt to start writing something good haha. Once I get a beat, I usually come up with some sort of melody or a theme first. Then I start coming up with things that relate to the theme and I start writing! I get to recording shortly after then record harmonies and adlibs and stuff but if I’m being honest, I have no idea what I’m doing so I’m just making it up as I go along haha. I don’t have any actual musical training so I just tend to do things until it sounds cool. I think that says a lot about how I rely a lot on just sheer creativity than actual technique. 

Who are artists you would like to work with in the future? 

I’d love to work with a lot of people. I think if I were to shoot for the starts, I’d love to work with BIBI or Lolo Zouai. I look up to both of those artists so much and I’m basically a super fan. I think in a more realistic sense, I’d love to work with more of my friends! I have a lot of friends that make amazing music and I haven’t been fortunate enough to get the chance to work with a lot of them.

Besides music, what else do you enjoy doing?  

I have a lot of hobbies! Too many actually haha. I used to say that I’m a jack of all trades because I think I’m pretty well versed in most things. First and foremost I love fashion and clothes. I think I’ve been knitting, sewing, and crocheting since I was in like elementary school. I also love doing and watching makeup videos. I think I just like watching YouTube videos in Is there anything you would like to learn in general haha. I also love playing Minecraft and Wizard 101! I happen to be pretty good at Redstone and I’m very proud of that. I also like to do nails, specifically acrylics and nail art, and I love baking, playing with my pets, drawing, painting, and basically anything that involves making things with my hands. Music just happens to be the cherry on top!

What is the best advice you've received? 

I think there’s a lot of good advice that I’ve received over the years but I think there’s a few that come to mind first. The first is actually something I have a tattoo of which is a quote from the show Teen Wolf that says “regression to the mean'', which yes I know is a statistical term, but in the context of the show, it represents that no matter how good or bad things get, ultimately everything comes back to the middle. I think that mentality has definitely gotten me through a lot. I think some other pieces of advice that come to mind is the Korean saying, “you can’t see the mountain if you’re on it”, as well as “the dumbest people are usually the loudest ''. If you can’t tell, I'm a pretty big connoisseur of proverbs, quotes, and life lessons haha.

What can we expect from you next? 

Honestly, your guess is as good as mine! I know for sure I’m never going to stop creating because that’s who I am and that’s what I love. I’d imagine that I’ll continue being a stressed university student but hopefully, I’ll be a stressed university student that makes pretty good music. If you told me on the day I posted my viral audition video that it would get over 3 million views, I would have said that was impossible. And honestly, if you were to tell me a year ago that I was going to be interviewed and have so many people enjoying my EP, or even the fact that I released an EP in the first place, I wouldn’t have believed you either. I think that just serves to show that you never really know what’s in store and so it’s best to just take things as they come and keep working hard. I hope you guys and all the readers will support me along the way!

A special to RIKA and Keisha-Tara Watkin for the interview. 



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Ciera Reeves

Ciera is the founder of KpopWise. She has been a fan of Korean pop culture since 2005 and writing about it since 2009. Her bias groups are VIXX and OnlyOneOf. She is a 2nd-3rd generation K-pop fan, but she is actively keeping up with the current artists. twitter instagram

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