Sun | Sep 24, 2023

5 Questions With ... Ria Rania

Published:Friday | June 2, 2023 | 12:19 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer
Ria Rania
Ria Rania
Ria Rania
Ria Rania
Ria Rania ia a former beauty pageant winner who is super happy pursuing music.
Ria Rania ia a former beauty pageant winner who is super happy pursuing music.

Singer, songwriter, model, actress, soccer star and former beauty queen are all titles which snugly fit Westmoreland-born, Florida-raised Racquel Service. However, the cape which she is wearing currently is decorated with musical notes, an indication of the career that she is super happy pursuing, and an affirmation that she will not be placed in a box.

A graduate of the Boyd H. Anderson High School in Lauderdale Lakes, FL, she was the recipient of two full athletic scholarships, plus an academic scholarship and ended up attended the Louisiana-based Huntington University where she studied theatre performance.

Her bio states that in 2013, after getting signed to an acting agency, the aspiring actress moved to Los Angeles, California and snagged a few roles in plays, sitcoms and a movie, but months later moved back to Florida. In 2015, she won the Miss Fort Lauderdale USA beauty title and followed it up in 2017 by winning the Miss Jamaica diaspora title. This win advanced her to be the first finalist to compete in the Miss Universe Jamaica beauty pageant. Although she finished top 10, Ria retired her sash and embarked on her musical journey.

Affixing to herself the moniker Ria Rania, the Jamaican-American rapper recorded her first track in 2018, and although it didn’t see the light of day, she was undaunted. Her first single, Korea, was surprisingly on the explicit side, but she made inroads with radio-friendly follow-ups such as Sizzling Summer and one of her biggest songs to date, If You Choose.

Ria’s debut EP, Personalities, arrived in September 2020, a seven-track offering which musically runs the gamut of reggae, dancehall, rap, hip hop and pop. Other singles include Flirt, Hardcore, Golden Ticket, and Flea Market, a collab with diamond-selling artiste, Charly Black.

Her second EP, Service, was released in April, and sees Ria Rania collaborating with Valiant on a track titled Be Mine. Recently, 5 Questions With ... had a quick chat with the on-the-rise entertainer.

1. What is Ria Rania planning to bring to the entertainment landscape that will further the cause of empowerment for female artistes?

Ria Rania working to bring back good music to the entertainment landscape. Music that all ages and all culture can enjoy again. Sensible music! And just from doing that, the other females will just join along. It’ll show that us females aren’t just always singing about their body parts but actually relatable topics and situations that others can relate to.

2. Who are your role models musically?

Foxy Brown, Lady Saw, Buju Banton, Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Nicki Minaj, Sade, Celine Dion, Tanya Stephens, Lady Patra and lots more.

3. You have won beauty pageants, been a model, explored acting and seemed to be on a trajectory for success. How challenging was it for you to leave all that for music and what types of songs are you best at?

Honestly, it wasn’t hard while making the full transformation because music was always in the background. It wasn’t my main focus throughout the years I competed in pageants and appeared in movies and TV shows, but it has always something I had a passion for and practised occasionally. After I decided to end my pageant career was when I came on board full time with music. I believe my best and most comfortable type of songs are pop/dancehall. Not too raw but more of a international sound with a little mixture of dancehall and R&B.

4. How do you handle the pressure that comes with your career, and is it very different from what you would have experienced in the past?

Honestly, I love the excitement that comes with this whole thing as an artiste. I wouldn’t say it’s pressure because I’m doing something I love, something I’ve always wanted to do. Yes, it’s similar to being a reigning beauty queen with all that comes with it from the media but I now can be more the voice for my people. I can be more relatable to my fans. I can now be myself.

5. Share with us some of the joys of recording music and hearing your songs being played on radio or on a big sound.

Speechless! First time I heard my song on the radio I was like ‘Wow! God is active!’ I felt like I won an award ... because just remembering the journey I travelled to even get this far, I felt like I won a big award or something . The joy of me writing and recording my music and then to hear the growth in my voice each session is so amazing. Each time I’m in a session I can see and hear growth . Self-growth too! Just from believing in myself and now I’m finally forming a team of people who I can say are definitely helping me and guiding me in the right directions.


What was the last book you read or the last movie you watched?

Last book I read was probably in 2011. Can’t remember the name of it. Last movie I watched was a movie I’m in called Gun-woman.