Today (Oct. 31), Rakiyah unveils her latest anthem, “Crash Landing On You,” marking a poignant conclusion to the celestial journey initiated in her EP, The Cosmic Queen. The single transcends the musician’s previous cosmic realm, landing into new territory of self-exploration and resurgence post-heartbreak.
Through its accompanying visuals, Rakiyah illustrates the aftermath of her alien spaceship colliding with Earth, a metaphorical portrayal of a heart bruised but unbroken. This track unveils not only the creative’s prowess as a producer but also her ability to traverse through an introspective expedition of self-discovery and healing, layered with meticulously refined instrumentation that cradles her harmonious vocals.
“I created ‘Crash Landing On You’ at such a pivotal point in my self-discovery journey,” Rakiyah explains. “I wanted to write below the surface more and share the tales of heartache that I never shared before. Pain that I once felt, that I think most people can relate to. Many of my fans know me for my cosmic love odyssey. It’s time for the next era.”
Rakiyah’s earthly journey from an aerospace engineer, with a stint of cultural immersion in South Korea, to the ethereal musical entity she has morphed into, is nothing short of fascinating. The diverse backdrop imbues her music with a unique blend of dulcet tones and Korean-influenced lyricism, encapsulated in an ambient R&B soundscape, reflective of inspirations drawn from mainstays like Janet Jackson, Missy Elliot, and Lauryn Hill.
Ahead, we spoke to Rakiyah about her musical influences, coming back from her brief hiatus, fashion, and more. Continue scrolling to check out our conversation.
For anyone unfamiliar with your music, take us back to the beginning — what role did music play in your life growing up?
Growing up, my parents and family surrounded me with music from all eras and genres, and for that I’m super grateful for. It created the unique sound and blend of music that I create today. My parents were huge R&B fans, and some of my favs were artists like Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Janet Jackson, Toni Braxton, Aaliyah, and more. My older aunt and uncles introduced me to 50’s-70’s music, growing my love for music from the past, and my older cousins kept me hip to 00’s hip-hop and R&B music.
I had a close cousin I grew up with who introduced me to pop, rock, metal, and alternative music, and to her I thank the most. Bands like Paramore, Evanescence, Blink182, and Flyleaf, Linkin Park impacted me so much. I felt like alternative music allowed me to feel comfortable with being “different” as a black girl in an urban community. And growing up in church allowed me to discover my voice in youth choirs.
The arts were always my true love and escape for self-expression I didn’t really have growing up. No surprise I came back to this point in the end.
This past year alone has been very transformative for you, but do you still feel like you’re finding your sound? How would you describe it at the moment?
I have such a full sense of who I am and what my true sound is now, which feels so good. With every single and EP I released, I got closer and closer to understanding and discovering that. I would describe my sound as Alternative R&B, at times Alternative Neo-Soul even, and a new subgenre I like to call Aero-trap. I’m a huge fan of somber, dark, ambient production with trap drums and elements while singing in an airy, melodic flow on top. I have been doing it on many of my songs but it’s something I’m leaning more into with my upcoming music and super I’m excited!
Let’s talk about your new single, “Crash Landing On You.” What’s the inspiration or story behind it?
I created “Crash Landing On You” at such a pivotal point in my self-discovery journey. I actually had plans to release a totally different record with a completely different sound. It was a bop, but I don’t think it was a true reflection of me. And I would be doing myself a great disservice releasing music because it’s successful and not because I love it and feel true behind it. Someone I met recently encouraged me to stay in my lane and be the alternative musician that I am, and that this version of me is just as amazing and successful.
I kind of started a fire in me, and the next day, I sat at my computer and produced Crash Landing on You. I wanted to write below the surface more and share the tales of heartache that I never shared before. Pain that I once felt, that I think most people can relate to. Many of my fans know me for my cosmic love odyssey. It’s time for the next era, and Crash Landing On You was the perfect, haunting ending to conclude my journey through space and a glimpse into the next era I’m excited to embark on with my fans.
This is your first standalone record since The Cosmic Queen dropped in February. What’s happened since then and why did you feel like this was the proper record to kick off with?
This year, I had so many revelations and moments of self-growth and awareness. I think all my past music in my discography were different moments and eras of me finding myself. I now know who I am and my sound. Although it has been a while since I released new music, I’m glad I waited until now. I think timing and intention is important.
Before I get further in my musical career, I need to be sure. I’ve reached that point of surness, and it will show in the music. What better way to come back than with my first self-produced single? It’s my way of saying I am here, get ready. I believe my true creative gift is story-telling, and there’s so many stories I have to tell the world.
Aesthetics have always been a major part of your branding as an artist, from your sophomore EP, Into The Cosmos, to social media. When you’re not doing cover arts and promo, how would you describe your style?
I’m a big fan of dark, dramatic, and edgy aesthetics. As an alternative girly, I enjoy expressing my aesthetic in my fashion and hair too. I like colors, whether they’re dark or bright, and I’ll experiment with them. It’s something I actually want to get more into expressing outside of my creative visuals. To keep it real, as an indie artist your money is really just enough to focus on the music, so I’m excited to grow so that I can afford to express that more in my personal style too.
What brands are you loving these days? Could you see your songs being played on any runways?
Lately, I’m loving NAMILIA, Poster Girl, WINDOWSEN, and AKIRA. They have the perfect balance between edgy, dark colors, and fun. I absolutely could see my songs being played on runways. I hope that can come to fruition in the near future. I’d love that for me!
How about beauty? What are some of your go-to makeup products this season?
I count skin care in my beauty routine, so Korean skincare, as most people know, has some of the best products I’ve been using for years. Especially during the years I was living in Seoul, South Korea. But as far as makeup, I’m a FENTY and Charlotte Tilbury lover. My go-to foundation is FENTY Eaze Drop Skin Tint because it’s so light with good coverage, and lately, I’ve been loving Tarte’s double-duty beauty concealers.