Granada Introducing: Bollywood loving singer from Bolton looking to inspire new generation

A Bollywood inspired singer says she wants to encourage a new generation - because "she did not see artists like her growing up".

Riya was born in Delhi but moved to Bolton, in the North West of England, when she was one years old. Her Indian heritage is a big influence in her music.

The 25-year-old loves Bollywood movies because they are "loud and bold" and they have inspired both her sound and performances.

The artist believes she is filling a gap in the market and writes and produces her music on her own label, RIYAYASH working with her brother Yash on her music videos.

"Growing up, I didn't see anybody like me in the industry or the media," said Riya.

"I would love for a young girl to say 'Oh I'd like to do that', because she sees that I'm following my dreams and I'm doing it."

Riya at Manchester Museum Credit: Yash Kalhan

She released her debut single 'Look My Way' in 2020 and it attracted half a million views within the first month of release.

"Even with the releases I've done so far they kind of follow a story line," added Riya.

Starting with 'Permission', where the protagonist realises she doesn't have the energy for people who don't deserve it. Then 'Don't Have The Time' sees her take control with a sassy number, while 'Eye For An Eye' sees her wanting revenge because she has been wronged.

Riya performing at Headingley cricket ground. Credit: Yash Kalhan

Her biggest gig so far was performing on the BBC Introducing stage at the Hundred in Headingley in 2023.

"It was unreal, I was like, 'this is what Beyonce feels like' once you have performed to 30,000 people and I won't stop until I'm selling out my own stadium", said Riya.

This was also followed by shows at Macron Stadium, Factory International, the Tate Museum and O2 Academy London.

Riya performing at Manchester International Festival Credit: MIF

Though she's trained in opera and classical theatre but says her real love is pop.

Her sound is a mix of East meets West, with rhythmic tabla percussion or synth guitar with soaring vocal melodies.

She was one of 12 participants across Europe selected for the Music Cities Network LEC project, in Groningen, Manchester, Aarhus and Berlin to help artists to improve creatively and grow their networks.

Riya meeting industry figures at the legendary Abbey Road studio Credit: Yash Kalhan

She was picked to spend some time at the legendary Abbey Road studios, with the Amplify project.

The event offers masterclasses and workshops and support from producers and influential industry figures and Riya said it has "already opened doors for her with some exciting opportunities coming up."

Regularly featured by Rolling Stone India, Riya has filmed a number of her music videos in New Delhi.

She also has support from the charity Youth Music, who have seen her start potential and she is on their definitive 'Ones to Watch' list for 2024.

Riya says the support is helping her create new music and her next goal is to produce her first album.

Riya featured in Rolling Stone magazine Credit: Rolling Stone

"My focus at the moment is to keep creating music that I am proud of and stars will align and things happen," she said.

Her next performance will at the iconic Manchester Bridgewater Hall but the world famous Madison Square Gardens is at the top of her list.

There have been comparisons drawn to her song 'Eye for an Eye' with James Bond theme songs, and that is one of Riya's dreams to produce a song for the movie franchise.

You can keep across Granada Reports' Introducing series showcasing the North West's best music.

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