Hip Hop artists from Australia and New Zealand often drop valuable projects. One of the rappers from this side of the world, Raiza Biza, has impressed many people with his three albums – “Dream Something LP”, “Summer.” and “Winter Solace”. This emcee with uncommon roots is a really interesting person. I appreciate kind and open-minded artists like him, so I decided to do a short interview with Raiza Biza. We talked about his albums, backgrounds, life, the Hip Hop scene in NZ and other matters.
Peace Raiza, what’s good? I’m not sure how to kick this off, so how about you introduce yourself & your background.
I was born in Kigali, traveled through a couple of countries and now reside in Auckland/Hamilton at the moment.
Do you plan to stay for a long time in New Zealand?
I have lived in New Zealand for the last 13 years so it very much feels like home. I have plans to travel to Europe and USA to push my music in mid-2014 but I will always come back to NZ, it’s a great place for creative types.
How did you get in touch with the Hip Hop community in New Zealand? I noticed that Crime Heat Beats and Jay Knight are one of your best music partners and you all get along well. Did they help you the in your first steps in music?
I grew up inside the NZ hip hop scene, I was performing at open mics when I was 17, and I met a lot of musicians and made a lot of connections along the way. I’ve been friends with Crime Heats Beats for many years. We were friends before we started collaborating musically. Since then, he’s been very involved in each project I have released from Dream Something forwards. I met Jay Knight a few years back and he filmed and edited music videos for both “Pyramids” and “They Told Me”. He has also produced many tracks for me. The people I choose to work with are people that I vibe with creatively, and both Crime and Jay are those type of people.
People all around the world have dreams. What was your “dream” with your debut album, “Dream Something LP”? Are you content with how this release went?
My only goal when I was making “Dream Something LP” was to make something that was refreshing and different from the other music that was out there. I wanted to make a project that people would remember, one that creates a connection between the listener and the music. I feel that I fulfilled that dream and more. I never thought that people in countries all over the world would enjoy the album.
A few months ago you dropped the first single from your sophomore LP, “They Told Me”. After this one, you published “Waves” and “7th Floor”. Was it hard to decide which tracks to use for promotion?
I felt that these tracks gave a picture of what the “Summer” album was like. Those songs are some of my personal favourites and the good thing about being an independent artist is that I can release whichever tracks I feel like putting out. And those songs were the ones I wanted to put out.
“Summer” was released on the 1st April. It seems that a Summer in New Zealand could be an inspiring time to create a full album. How would you compare this record to “Dream Something LP”?
Summer in New Zealand is an amazing time. The weather, the people, the cities. While I was writing the “Summer” album, I was performing in different cities in NZ and I was very lucky to experience Summer in different places every weekend. The project is different from Dream Something because it was more conceptual. “Dream Something LP” was a picture of what was going on inside my head at the time, while “Summer” was a picture of what was going on around me.
“Dream Something LP” and “Summer” are available for free download. Besides that people can buy these projects in a physical format too (hard copies of the CD’s). Do you think that it is still worthwhile and important to have physical releases?
I think that a lot of people still like to have a CD they can hold. I feel the same way. When I released the album Dream Something, people where asking me if they could pay for the free download, because they wanted to support the music. So that was also part of the reason of putting up the physical CD’s for sale also.
It is difficult to get noticed by a large number of music websites and listeners at the moment. What are your feelings about the situation in the independent music market now?
I think that the independent music market is in its best condition right now. It’s easier to put music out, and get it to the listener. The problem is that now there is so much music out there. But if an artist is putting out good music consistently, and is networking and making connections, his or her music will get around to the right people.
Thank you for taking the time to chat. Just one more question – which records from 2013 are your favorite so far?
There’s been a lot of good music coming out this year, some of my favourites have been @Peace – “Girl Songs”, Kendrick Lamar – “good kid, m.A.A.d city” (actually this album was released on October 22, 2012 – U Call That Love), Third3ye – “Ajna” and many more. And thanks for taking your time to interview me.
This interview is a contribution from the homies at U Call That Love and was originally published on their website. They drop gems on a daily but blog in Polish, here at The Tika we push their work to an international Hip Hop loving public.
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