Ria Boss is busy. The soulful Accra-based musician is midway through an impressive endeavor to release an EP every week for several months, a project called #THANKGODFORRIA. She's also just become the face of Osei-Duro's expansion into XL sizes. We are thrilled to have her modeling, you can see her on social media and in the product listings. Happily for us, she found a few moments to answer our questions about how she's gotten here.
What do you do? How did you get started?
I am a singer-songwriter and now an aspiring producer if I do say so myself (lol). I've always found solace in melody, felt most at ease in song. My mom will remark that when I learned how to sing "twinkle twinkle little star" I became like a broken record. I was in piano lessons very early on from about 9 or 10 years old, and at a classical level. My piano teacher at the time also had a small choir made up of all her students so I would sing in it from time to time. But it bears mentioning that I didn't become more professional, more serious, later on in life. Truth is I was terribly shy at one point of singing in front of people by myself. I tell this story a lot but my mother one cloudy day as we were driving down the Tema motorway told me I had a "true voice" after she listened to me sing "Tomorrow" from Annie (the movie). It was then that I started to pay more attention to my voice, mimic singers I enjoyed till I was doing riffs on my own, but I was still quite shy. It wasn't until I was living in Harlem, NY, years later, and after being in talent shows and singing competitions (in high school) in between, that I took the leap of faith and took a chance on being a singer, a real performing, original music making, musician.
What are you working on now?
Right now I'm in the midst of a series titled "#THANKGODITSRIA", where I release a new EP every Friday. It started on September 14th and will continue on till November. As of right now two EP's LOVEFLUX and WILDWOMAN are out, and I'll be doing some pop up shows in Accra to help promote these releases as well. I'm honestly having a lot of fun working on these, mostly because some of this music is from my vault of unreleased gems, so people get a mix of new high fidelity tracks as well as my favorite Lo-Fi tracks also. The response so far has been really positive. Give thanks for that.
What do you love most about your work?
I always fall back on this quote by Nina Simone where she says to be an artist we must be "a reflection of our times". No matter where you go, and who you meet, everyone has a song for a particular moment in their life, a song they go to for when they are sad or happy, or just want to relax. There are protest anthems and negro spirituals - the soundtrack to existence. I love what I do because I get to feature on this soundtrack. I get to help ease someone's pain with my voice and with my words. I get to inspire with the belt of a falsetto, it's thrilling for me. To be able to reflect my times and make people feel something.
Where do you find inspiration?
The trees, the rain, the air. Everything around us. Stillness. The experience of life itself, and it's ability to be so vastly different day by day.
Describe your perfect day off.
This question gives me anxiety because I'm such a big kid and now I have so many fantastical ideas as to what would constitute the perfect day off! So now I have to narrow it down. So I suppose, when you do what you love, most things feel like fun regardless, so when you use that logic, you have the ability to make everyday give you the same rush as your day off...HOWEVER! (lol) my perfect day off would involve me waking up at the soneva resort in the Maldives, eating an assortment of delicious fruit while my feet dangle in the warmth of the crystal blue waters, I meditate while sitting on the roof of my cabana (seriously look up Maldives resorts...intense) and my day is filled with a mixture of laziness and swimming, and a really good book, oh and don't forget the blunt (#legalizeit!). My day would end with a good Merlot and did I mention I've been in a swimsuit all day? Bliss.
What is your relationship to Osei-Duro?
I remember quite vividly the first time I heard of Osei-Duro, it was while I was living in New York. Went to school right by the big urban outfitters on 14th and 6th and used to stop in there sometimes, check out the sale racks on the bottom floor (lol). On one such outing I saw this amazing mud cloth poncho and had to have it, what sold me though was the name, "Osei-Duro", I concluded of course it must have roots in Ghana which I think helped seal the deal in making the purchase, I've followed up with the brand ever since.
What’s your favorite Osei-Duro piece in your wardrobe and why?
Definitely the mud cloth poncho, it's my favorite because when I was still living abroad I could use it to accessorize just any outfit, it could be a layer over an all denim fall look, or in the summer evenings it works super well over off shoulder mini dresses, I still own it and find new ways to rock it. Close second is something I don't own! The Tulip wrap dress in pink! So pretty. Especially how it flows.