There is undeniable power when great music and a vital message converge on stage.    Global musician Nattali Rize epitomizes that dynamic, and will be bringing her music, along with Cayo Ritmo, to Ocean Key’s Sunset Pier on Sunday, March 17. Rize, born in Australia and based in Jamaica, calls her music “rebel music,” and her debut album, “Rebel Frequency” was met with popular and critical acclaim. The music is a soulful reggae-roots hybrid, with an entirely unique style. Rize’s performances are dynamic and energetic, with good vibes and engaging lyrics. She says: “Our intention with our music is to ignite that memory in ourselves of our individual and collective power to live life to the fullest and recognize ourselves and each other as evolving beings of light.” We had the pleasure of catching up with Rize and asking her about her music and her vision. 

What did you grow up listening to? Who were your early influences? I am grateful to have a mother with excellent taste in music. I grew up on Judy Mowatt, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, Santana, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Third World and Louis Armstrong, to name a few. These are all my earliest influences and inspiration to this day.

Do you think we are in an era where signing with a major record label isn’t necessary for “success” as a musician? Never has it been necessary to sign to a major to be a successful musician; with that said, success must be defined by the individual as there are many variables. What the industry is experiencing is a shift in independent thought, which is being backed by tools and resources; basically it is much easier for people to run an independent model these days.

What one artist needs is different to the next; what we need to see is a more informed and balanced industry, where the musician is equally as informed and aware as the industry folk and where all platforms consider and properly value the musician in its model. From this space we will define the future of the business.

Old school standards, deals and mindsets need to be reassessed to ensure their relevance instead of just being habitually accepted. With a more informed musician community, big shifts will come, but we still need more respect and reverence for art and for the artists and the pure expression that is channeled through them. The highest goal should be to serve the music and artistic expression as the foundation to any industry relationship, whether label, management, booking agent, etc. Major or independent, I would encourage artists to be very clear with their musical intention, for it is this that defines each one’s path forward.

How and where do you see music working effectively as social activism? Everywhere. Music has always been a voice of the people. One of the world’s most well known artists, Bob Marley, has proven that music is a powerful medium for raising awareness as well as consciousness towards states of mental and physical freedoms. 

Music will always play a vital role in amplifying the voices of the streets, and the intention of the conscious messages musicians have come to channel and share, to spread and embody.

What was the impetus for your time in Jamaica? How has your music changed with geographic change? There come different cycles in a life where one has the intuitive feeling to do something or to try something new, or to follow the heart. For me, staying in Jamaica for an extended period was following one of those feelings, as well as following an energy that was created between some Jamaican musicians and myself while in Australia. A spontaneous collaboration led to exploring the connection further, which led to the creation of a new collaborative project.As far as my music changing, it is always evolving. Being in Jamaica and working with Jamaican producers and musicians has been a great learning experience for me and has no doubt had a big influence on my music. I’m a huge fan of the roots movement in Jamaica as I resonate with it deeply.

So, I am grateful and giving thanks to be able to collaborate and co-create with some of the greatest artists out of Jamaica right now.

How do you see the Key West music scene as unique? To be honest, I’ve never been to Key West so I couldn’t tell you. As far as music goes, I imagine it has a nice blend of all the great cultures present in that part of the world, some of my favorite sounds on the planet!  

You sing songs of inspiration and revolution. Describe what you see as “Babylon” and its problems, for those unfamiliar. I see Babylon as any oppressive system, or person, “law,” “rules” reflecting and presenting for such a system. By oppressive, I mean any imposed force to intentionally keep us from our highest selves, our truth, The Truth, to keep us from our complete and full potential and ability to live sovereign, free and happy.

What inspired you to rename yourself Nattali Rize? It was a feeling and something that was there for a long while. Sometimes it just takes time to find the name that resonates with your being, intention and vision I had been thinking on it for some years before reclaiming Nattali Rize.

Any words of wisdom or advice for aspiring musicians in a time of global strife? Global strife is not new; the internet just made it more visible. The world needs continuous positive and creative energy to shift the global mindset. Musicians keep rizing up. Keep singing your songs, chanting light, channeling pure source and light frequencies to inspire and uplift people. It’s a time to connect and unify. Collaboration is the foundation of the future! Rize Together!

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