Red Rianna is here to declare her place in the music industry. Hailing from Polk County, Florida, the singer, songwriter, and rapper pours her heart and soul into her ballads, with lyrics inspired by real-life experiences we can all relate to. Boasting 169K followers on Instagram alone, Rianna is proof that you can wear a ton of hats and still do what you love. From singing to modeling to being a mother, she’s a lot of things — but music’s her biggest passion.
Last year, Rianna released her remix cover “Teach Me,” which went viral after a rare repost from Cardi B. The visual currently hails over 12.8 million views on Youtube and counting, showcasing Rianna dancing and singing alongside her daughter. With matching shirts, Rianna reminded the masses around the world how special a bond is between a mother and her child.
Fast forward to 2020, Rianna returns with her newest single titled “Heart So Broke” inspired by her first heartbreak. Flaunt caught up with Red Rianna via FaceTime, who was located in her hometown of Florida. Read below as we discuss how she got her name, Cardi B cosigning “Teach Me,” her new single, the independent grind, studio essentials, and more!
How’s the weather in Florida?
One minute it’s cool. We had a real cool week last week, then out of nowhere it’s been so hot to the point where my wig lifted up. Nuh uh, it’s hot!
What was it like growing up in Polk County, Florida?
Polk County is real small. Nothing ever goes on here, we always have to go out of town to other cities to do things. I’m close to Orlando and Tampa, which people are probably familiar with those areas. Polk County is where I’m born and raised, but it’s nothing here. If you make it out of Polk County, you really did something for yourself because it’s literally nothing here. A lot of people here are trying to do something with themselves, trying to make it and get out. It’s hard, it’s nothing really going on. No opportunities, so you gotta make them.
Who were your biggest influences?
Mmm, people think because I rap that I have a favorite rapper — I really don’t. My favorite artists are Beyoncé and Chris Brown, that’s it. [laughs] I’m team Beyoncé and team Chris Brown. I like entertainers. I like performers. I like real artistry. I’ll always say Beyoncé and Chris Brown. There’s other dope artists of course. I grew up on Eve, Aaliyah, Monica. Those are my vibes.
At what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
I knew early, I didn’t know how to do it. How do you be an artist? How do you do music? How do you even do that? But I learned. Learned about studios, music videos, how to distribute your music, what ways to put it out. That made me more excited about doing music because okay, people are actually going to be able to come see my music and come see my videos. 2 years ago was when I thought “let me take this seriously for real.” I have old videos on YouTube just playing around, but being serious and consistent, about the last two years.
What were you doing before that?
Working. I’ve always been the hustler type. I did hair. I used to sell shirts, made t-shirts. I always had a job/ I always did little side hustles, but none of those were a passion. I did that because I was popular in the area. I knew how to do hair so I could make money. I knew how to make shirts.
What was the inspiration behind your name?
When I first got on Instagram, I wanted a cool little nickname for myself. I’ve never really had a nickname. People have either called me my full name or Amber for short. My full name’s Ambrianna. Like a Bri or a Ri, I wanted something! The first picture I posted back in 2012, I had this little red hair style. Okay I’ma say Red because I’m doing red hair right now, that’s the vibes. I used the last part of my name, Rianna.
“Teach Me” went viral, 12.8 million views on Youtube. Were you ready for that?
I wasn’t. I woke up and I was a superstar, like what? me? I wasn’t expecting it, but I was intentional with the video. I wanted it to go viral. I wanted that message to get out. I wanted people to see that and for kids to love it, but I really didn’t know the effect. I didn’t know what it was going to be.
Bring us back to when you recorded the record.
It was so simple, because I always do videos in the car. I’m a rapper. That’s what rappers do, they record little freestyles in the car and post them on Instagram. Some of them go crazy, some of them don’t. This video went real crazy because my daughter’s in the video. The song was hot at the time, so it was right on time. A positive message, it went viral. It really was nothing to it. I wanted to do a remix to this song but a little different this time, and that’s how it came about. Simple.
Right, that’s what it was. I didn’t put too much effort. I wasn’t like “oh yeah, I’m finna go viral!” I didn’t do that. I wanted to make something different and incorporate my daughter, just be lit That was it.
What was your reaction to Cardi B reposting it?
I felt like I was winning an award. [laughs] Damn, I’m poppin’ now because Cardi B likes it. If Cardi B likes it, you gotta like it. There were so many people in the comments like Kelly Rowland. Chelsea Handler. These are big people! It’s really crazy. I was so excited, I really was. Couldn’t believe it.
What’d it mean to have your daughter on the record?
She sees me doing it all the time so she’s obviously going to have a little interest in it because she’s around it all the time. She goes “I want to be a part of a video! Can I say this? Can I say that?” Let me add her in to give her her little moment and see if she’s really serious. She really likes doing it. She enjoys doing it like I do. I think it’s going to come natural to her too. She likes to dance already, she’s going to automatically have the vibes.
How old is she now?
She’s 6 going on 16. She’s a grown lady, forreal!
Is her favorite song “Teach Me”?
She’s actually at a point she’s tired of hearing it. Because all the kids are like “Teach me, teach me! Hey Dakota!” She’s a kid so she’s overwhelmed. I don’t know what her favorite song of mine is, but she knows the majority of my songs. She could say a verse or 2.
New single “Heart So Broke,” I see you crying in the video. What were you going through?
It’s the emotion. I don’t pretend. You get to a point in life where things are too heavy for you. “You know what, this bothers me. This has been bothering me for years now.” You can’t avoid it, you can’t deny it. Only a fake person would pretend that everything’s perfect all the time. That’s what I wanted to show people. I’m on a pedestal, people look at me like I’m famous but I’m not. I go through stuff too. I have emotions, I have feelings. I’m going through traumatic experiences just like yall. People needed to see that side. I got a hoochie mama side, all these different sides. But this side was the most authentic, the most organic.
How is music helping with your healing?
Music honestly is a way for me to say and deliver what I’m feeling. I can put it in the music. I can write it out, I don’t know how to really explain it when I’m going through it. I can’t sit down and talk about it. I have to hear a beat, hear some music, and let it out that way.
What is it you want fans to get from your story?
Overall, I want people to see that I’m a mom. I’m young but I’m not letting nothing stop me, defeat me, or hold me back. If you really want to do something, you gotta make up in your mind that “I’m not gonna stop until I get there.” No matter what the obstacles are: the traumatic experiences, the lost, the heartbreak. All the overwhelming situations of being a mom, going to school, working, you gotta find a way to fight through all that. I want my music to be fun. I want people to know you can get through whatever. We’re going to have a good time, we’re going to be lit. We’re going to have a good attitude throughout the whole process. It’s going to hurt, but we gon’ be alright. [laughs]
What’s the reality of the independent grind?
It’s hard. I don’t know if people think it’s easy. I don’t know if people think “oh, I can do that.” You can, you can do whatever you want to do. But prepared for some rainy days, some lonely nights, some broke nights, some sleepless nights, some hungry nights. You’re going to have all these different emotions before you get to the grand finale. People need to understand that it’s not overnight. I really understand what other artists or superstars mean when they say it’s hard. I really understand what they mean by that because I’ve come to some of those challenges. Be ready to work. Be ready to find another way. Either you gon’ give up or you gon’ find another way.
3 things you need in the studio?
I’m so simple. I’m not extra. I do take cough drops. I keep those regardless, but I make sure I have them for the studio. You keep going over the same parts over and over sometimes. Water. I like to be fly in the studio. I like to dress fly, it makes me feel good. Looking fly, water, and cough drops.
What can we expect next from you?
I want to drop an album. I want to give people a real original, real raw, authentic music. This year’s been real crazy, I’ve been overwhelmed with all the worldly things. It’s been good for me as far as being able to make music for my album, because a lot has happened. I’ve grown a lot this year, it’s crazy. Really giving good music, good content, good vibes.
What can we expect on the album?
This one’s going to be some heartbreak, a little emotional. They’re going to be like “what the hell’s wrong with this girl?” [laughs] A lot of us are surface people. We only show the bare minimum, but there’s a lot of things going on beneath the surface. I want to scratch that, pull some emotions out of myself and other people. Be raw and organic, that’s the vibes.
Anything else you want to let us know?
“Heart So Broke” is really going crazy right now. That’s been in the blogs. People say “wow, who is she? Okay I like this, it’s dope.” They’re not dragging me too bad, I’m feeling that. The album is next, people need to get an album out of me. I hope everyone’s taking care of their mental health because it’s real out here.