Encapsulating the purity and fragile beauty of artists like Laura Nyro and Kate Bush, Rie (pronounced Ree-Yay) is set to release her international debut album in March 2019. Continuing to forge the music and traditions of her Japanese homeland with Western folk-pop sensibilities, Places explores her relocation to the tranquil backwaters of Surrey, a far cry from the neon circus of Tokyo. Her discovery of the English countryside and the space and natural inspiration she is now afforded is found throughout the tracks on her album, perfectly exemplified by the lead tracks, Ripples and On Track. Observational and spiritual, Rie’s music is the perfect combination of music, art and nature.
“The simple way to explain the title ‘Places’ is that it’s about where I came from and where I am now,” she says. “This idea was inspired by a documentary I saw recently about [world-renowned cellist] Yo Yo Ma’sSilkroad Ensemble, in which musicians with various geographical, religious and political background gathered to perform music.
“That made me realise more than ever that music is all about the journey between where you’re from and the exact moment when the music is being performed. I think where you live, and this beautiful countryside and nature in the UK, is so inspiring. I get off the train and smell the fresh air.”
Having initially studied Fine Art at London’s Central St Martins, Rie began to immerse herself in music which, along with painting, became her binding trait – her releases all feature her distinctive self-painted cover art. Following a torrent of songwriting, she earned a recording and publishing deal with Sony Japan at the age of 19 using the name Rie Fu, earning herself widespread recognition with the release of her debut album at home. Subsequent albums followed, with Rie also becoming well known for sync placements of her music into Japanese film and TV, as well as her live performances across Asia. Rie relocated to the UK to pursue a new music scene in spring 2016 and has developed critical support throughout summer 2017 from numerous UK & US outlets for her two formative EP releases.
‘Places,’ recorded at Urchin Studios in London and produced by Dan Cox, features Rie on lead vocals, acoustic guitar and the delicate piano that creates the spine of the album. Kenji “Jammer” Suzuki adds subtle electric guitar touches and Jo Quail’s cello heightens the classical and jazzy hints in this underplayed pastoral setting.