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We chatted with Ria Mae to get her perspective on working with a makeup artist to make her vision come to life and what LIFE IS A STAGE means to her.



We chatted with Ria Mae to get her perspective on working with a makeup artist to make her vision come to life and what LIFE IS A STAGE means to her.

MAKE UP FOR EVER: What sparks your creativity when writing songs?
Ria Mae: If I have a day off and I’m not travelling, I’m always thinking of music. If I hear a little instrumental, sometimes a producer will send me a beat or sometimes I’ll play something on the guitar that I’ve never played before; I’m always looking for a new idea, an inspiration. But it’s never the same process. In fact the 3 or 4 songs of mine that have done the best were all written differently; for example one was with my guitar and another was on instrumental. Just never the same.

MAKE UP FOR EVER: Where did you drawn your inspiration from for your upcoming album?
Ria Mae: There’s something about being in a new place, where you forget who you are, it’s almost as though you let your guard down and allow your mind to wonder. I was just in Nicaragua in February and I wrote some of the best songs I’ve ever written because I felt vulnerable and uncomfortable because I had to wear shorts, which is not something I’m used to living in Toronto in Canada where a lot of places have A/C. I was in a different environment than the one I’m usually in and this helped me think in another mindset.

MAKE UP FOR EVER: How do you blur the gender lines when it comes to how you present yourself to the world?
Ria Mae: When it comes to my music, it seems to happen without me thinking. I think sometimes people are confused with whether I’m a guy or a girl with the tone of my voice in songs. There’s comments on YouTube where people are like “I thought this was an 80-year old woman” or “I thought this was a guy”. And then, with the way I look I sometimes get mistaken for a boy but oddly enough it doesn’t bother me. I think with visual art, the challenge is how do you keep me in it and not try to fit me in a category where I don’t necessarily belong, or want to belong. I don’t mind being in my own category. I’m cool with that.

MAKE UP FOR EVER: How do you see your artistry evolving?
Ria Mae: I’m from Halifax, Nova Scotia. It’s a small town and I think my perspective on life was small two years ago. Then I moved to Montreal where everything is bigger and in the last year I’ve been all through Europe, I went down to Nicaragua, I was recently in Cuba and Mexico and as a result I feel more connected to music around the world, not just music in one region. I think that energy is coming through in my music, it feels more universal and a bit more “poppy”; it’s a bigger sound. But I think it’s because I feel more connected, I’m expanding my horizons and it’s translating through my music.

MAKE UP FOR EVER: What is so unique about your album?
Ria Mae: I think it’s more positive, it’s hopeful. For the last few months with everything going on in the news, I’ve had to delete my Twitter because I felt inundated with bad news. But you also want to be responsible and not just close your eyes, so just wrestling with all that and I think the music served as an escape. Most of the songs on the album tell a story, it’s not about me at all but just a fun story, more of escapism I guess to help forget about things for a second.

MAKE UP FOR EVER: What words and colors come to mind when it comes to your upcoming album?
Ria Mae: We started to do the design process and we keep coming back to the sun, like sunrise. And experimenting with the sun in the morning, going down at night and coming back up. It’s the idea of being hopeful and constant renewal.

MAKE UP FOR EVER: How have you evolved as an artist over this last year?
Ria Mae: I’ve had a lot of personal growth in the last year and trully expanding my view of the world. Instead of thinking I’m from a part of Canada, I see myself as a part of the entire world. I feel like this year I made a lot of changes in my personal life and took a lot of steps towards happiness instead of other thinking things. I think this new attitude shift will show through in the vibe of the new music.

MAKE UP FOR EVER: How did you make those steps towards happiness?
Ria Mae: I took a step back and realized what made me happy. Like every artist, we’re trying to become more successful and we’re trying to grab at everything that we think will help and I’ve been doing that for so many years that this year I was like, some parts I just don’t like and I’m not going to do them and some parts I really enjoy and I will try to do more of. I love collaborating with other musicians so I tried to do more of that this year, I don’t love some aspects of social media so I’ve taken down my Twitter I’m trying to do more meaningful posts instead of rapid fire posts every day. Making these choices, I feel happier and it feels like I can enjoy my job instead of being stressed about it.

MAKE UP FOR EVER: How has makeup played a role in your evolution as an artist?
Ria Mae: For me, it’s almost like the idea of going to a new city and feeling like a new person. I love how when you put on new clothes or you have someone do your makeup it’s different than you would have done it for yourself and suddenly you see a part of yourself that you might not have seen before. You’re like “oh this is how people could see me”. That sometimes is enough for me to have a new idea about another aspect of the business.

MAKE UP FOR EVER: What image/message do you want to convey through your new album?
Ria Mae: More of the “be yourself” vibe, I want people to see more of me as a person and artist, not just someone that’s on pop radio. Even in interviews and things, I want to share more about who I am and give more in depth answers that will inspire others.

MAKE UP FOR EVER: What does our motto “life is a stage” mean to you?
Ria Mae: The first thing I thought of is that sometimes we get in our heads and we get self-conscious and we think that people can see everything. This saying reminds me of why I love makeup and new clothes and experimenting with outside stuff, it’s a reminder that people can’t see inside and you get to control what you give people and sometimes it can be just a bit of a defense, enough to make you confident, and sometimes it can be that you want the world to see that you’re happy, fun and loving, at ease and relaxed.

MAKE UP FOR EVER: As an artist how do you decide what you let people in on?
Ria Mae: There is a balance and I think that it always changes. I think people either go through life building boundaries or working so hard to take them down. That’s the fun part, every album I can decide “am I going to tell people why I wrote this song or am I not?” and with this new stuff I can tell people the feeling and maybe not let them into who I wrote it about and I think that your physical and visual expression is an extension of that, what you want to tell people and what you don’t. We are each in control of that!