Riiki Reid opens up to Remix about her new EP ‘SKIN’, confronting vulnerability, and navigating the industry as a female creative

Travelling up and down the country while writing and promoting her new EP, ‘SKIN’, Riiki Reid remains a creative powerhouse in New Zealand—a female artist worth keeping your eyes on. As a producer, dancer, singer, and video director, Riiki showcases her multifaceted talent, tackling the industry from various angles. From infusing live performances with choreographed dance pieces to opening up about her fear of vulnerability, Riiki delves into her creative process, future aspirations, and her experience navigating the music industry as a woman.

I saw that ‘SKIN’ was actually created back in 2017… can you give us some insight into the creative process for the song & rest of the EP? 

I initially started writing a song in 2017, and I don’t know if I would call it my first heartbreak because I felt so young. I began writing down the ideas for the song and titled it ‘SKIN’. I think the sentiment behind 'Skin' was not having someone to be close to. I wrote a lot initially, then kind of left it untouched for years, until 2020, when I went through my first proper heartbreak. When COVID happened and I wasn’t able to be close to my friends or family, the sentiment of the song came rushing back. Going through a heartbreak, I experienced a similar feeling to that of 2017, so I just picked it back up. I incorporated a few musical elements from when I had originally written the song into the new version. Since fully finishing the song in 2020, I've been performing it, and it’s been included in every set I’ve ever played.

And how does it feel having the song officially released for the public?

I find it scary to release a song that’s much more vulnerable. As an artist, there's this fear that people will ask, “Who is this about?” But realistically, they just want to relate to it. Also, sonically, it felt like the right time to release the song now, especially alongside other, more stripped-down music.

What can fans expect from the rest of the EP? & what do you hope for them to takeaway from your new music?

The rest of the EP is a bit more honest and vulnerable. That was my goal for this EP as I feel like I always disguise my words and feelings and put on a bit of a facade. So this time, I wanted to really make it about the songwriting. I hope people can relate to the truthfulness of the EP. I initially set out to release three mini EP’s to introduce little parts of my newly branded project. The first one is a lot more alternative production base and then the second one was a lot more dance heavy. This third one is more about the songwriting and more slow tone, so this EP wraps up this introductory phase of my project.

We saw you performed at Homegrown, how was that for you & did you perform your new music?

It was so fun and I’ve never played homegrown before. It felt like an official debut of how I want to progress as a performer. In terms of having the dancers, having the band and choreographing a whole set - it’s really exciting to me. It’s so hard dancing and singing at the same time haha, I definitely need to practice it but it felt like a good first step in the direction that I want to keep working at. 


Do you have a favourite song either released or being released this year & why?

I’m really excited about new writing at the moment because I feel like it’s bringing together all three of these EPs i’ve been talking about. So I’m excited about that but I think I’m really excited about the song I’ve just released because it had such a long life before release. I’ve definitely felt that song through every year and I’ve always been quite connected to it.

What and where has been your most memorable performance & why?

I think one of my most memorable performances was opening for Lorde in Wellington! That was really cool and was probably the first time I’ve ever felt that type of feeling. I remember being like, if this is what it feels like every time I perform, then this is the feeling I want to chase. I remember consciously thinking that all night after the show. When you’re in front of an amount of people like that, it’s such an overwhelming feeling and elicits such crazy energy.

What does the daily routine of Riiki Reid look like in the Autumn?

It changes all the time but currently, I exercise every morning. I have this thing where I’ll go really hard for a month and then all of a sudden, I’ll come to somewhere like Auckland and then I don’t know where to run and I don’t know what to do. But yeah, I try to run in the morning and then do a really good stretch. I’ve also really started getting into my skincare routine and I feel like the secret for me is to do less. After that, I’ve been going to the studio everyday and doing lots of writing and then I will always take my dog for a walk. At night I always set aside time for my friends, family or partner and will do something either fun or chill.

What is the best advice you’ve received being a female creative in the industry?

Something that I always try to remember (at the core of everything) is to find ways to enjoy the process. I think as a female, it can be really easy for people to just expect and want so much more of you, even if you’re killing it at the top. I feel like there’s not always enough praise for the hard work. I just want to remind myself to be excited for how I’m growing and to appreciate all the things I’m achieving rather than skipping past them and not acknowledging them.

Do you think the music industry in NZ has changed at all since you first started out?

I think it definitely has and it feels like the NZ music industry is a lot better than it was in the past. New Zealand is so lucky in terms of the music industry, for reasons like getting funding - which a lot of countries don’t. I think NZ is really supportive of their artists. I also think people have become a lot more conscious around women in the industry and NZ provides a lot more opportunities for women - which is awesome. 

Where does Riiki hope to be within the next five years?

I just hope I’m still doing music and I hope I’m doing it full time. I also just hope I’m really happy, I know that sounds really cheesy, but I really do just want to be a better human in five years time. And if I can do that through music - that would be awesome. I also hope I’m making an impact and inspiring other people in five years time - whatever that's through. I think you can get really lost in the music industry and so just remaining in this industry and remaining passionate would make me so happy.

Quick fire questions:  

Your go-to shoe to style at the moment?

I love my little Vagabond heeled Mary Jane’s! They're beautiful. 

Your most recent fashion icon?

This has never changed for me - I have always loved Dua Lipa, I think she has such great fashion.

Favourite song to put you in a good mood?

Anything Joe McCoy!

Dream spot to perform?

A dream show would be somewhere in South America, near the ocean or something! An international festival in a stunning setting! I think would be amazing.