Icon Presents: Ryden
Icon Alumni Ryden shares her experiences as a grassroots artist and talks about the empowerment of being a self-made record producer and femcee.
The Ryden concept is about authenticity and empowerment. The self-made record producer and femcee visited Icon LA to talk about her artistic approach, career goals, and passion for music.
The doyenne vocalist also shares her experience as an independent artist who develops every aspect of her brand. She explains how her artistic expression is not limited to one form.
It’s not just music… it’s not just production for instance. It’s songwriting, singing vocals, rapping vocals. Also, it’s about style and fashion design. It’s producing and directing my own music videos, framing each shot, styling the wardrobe, and the makeup for every single look. Also, it’s dance. I did every touch point of that process. Ryden
As a grassroots artist doing everything, Ryden aims to transform her vision and music into an experience. Releasing music on her label FreeMafia, the songstress entrepreneur is on track to building a lifestyle brand that combines music and culture.
Producer/songwriter/lyricist Ryden has garnered a lot of parallels lately to Missy Elliott for her range of abilities with production and rapping.
A one-woman musical powerhouse, Ryden is quite literally a full production studio in one. She is the producer of each track, the songwriter, the vocalist, and the recording engineer. From start to finish, Ryden’s music is touched by her alone.
It’s a feat that has only been accomplished successfully by a small number of the biggest names in music. This includes legends such as Dr. Dre, Pharrell, Timbaland, and of course, the aforementioned Missy Elliott. Ryden may be the closest an up-and-coming artist has come in the past few years to being viable among those names.
Her productions are distinctively urban; a product of years spent in the trenches of hip hop before immersing herself in recent dance music influences. Ryden’s orchestral background, as well as childhood years spent playing classical piano and violin, is evident in her musicality. Perhaps most impressive is Ryden’s versatility. Her tracks have ranged from hip hop and EDM to dancehall and R&B, all tied together by a low, gritty growl that is Ryden’s signature rap delivery.
“She almost has her own genre,” explains Spotify curator Mike Dean of Work Hard Playlist Hard. Ryden describes it as “anthem music.” Meaning, real music stemmed from her real-life experiences which causes her audience to feel something real, powerful, and authentic.
Ryden | Move feat. Richie Loop
To maintain that authenticity, Ryden also commands several other roles and self-creates all her media. She directs all her own music videos, styles and directs her photoshoots, and also handles every concept through execution. In addition, Ryden heads the independent label and artist collective FreeMafia, the musical reincarnation of her successful high-end men’s streetwear line DopeMafia. She is, as the media has termed it, the real life, stiletto-wearing incarnation of a “girl boss.”
Not surprisingly, Ryden has also become a symbol of empowerment among a very loyal and rapidly growing fan base. You’ll quickly find fans commenting with the hashtag “#RydenNation,” a self-created rally cry for her followers.
“Good music should move you and inspire you,” Ryden insists. “There’s a quote that goes: ‘Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle.’ …I want to be that candle.”