Another first for drum & bass has now been established; and by none other than two of the leading vocalists within the genre: Riya and Collette Warren. Any lover of drum & bass in general would surely have heard of at least ONE tune by these ladies over the course of the last 10+ years. Having worked with a number of A-List producers and releasing loads of great songs on some of the biggest labels out there, Riya and Collette Warren have most definitely grafted and proven themselves as the industry professionals that they are. Their brand-new collaborative album “Two Sides of Everything” has recently been released on their very own imprint called Carnelian Music and it most definitely deserves mention as well as praise within the drum & bass community.
The album was made possible thanks to a post shared by EQ50’s Sweetpea with a link to apply for the PRS Foundation’s Women Make Music initiative. The ladies were one of only 12 selected winners, of differing genres, to receive a grant for their plans to launch Carnelian Music and use their own platform to release an album like never before in our scene. With drum & bass being such a niche genre, they weren’t fully confident that their project would get selected. PRS Foundation came through in the end, proving that women in the music industry can most definitely seek help through PRS whenever needed. And with that help Collette and Riya have been able to address the gender gap that exists within drum & bass where less than 5% of labels are owned and run by women. They hope to inspire other women and help other vocalists (not just women here!) to get their work signed and released. Vocalists in drum & bass are usually labeled as “featured” artists. Collette and Riya’s Carnelian Music is dedicated to pushing more vocalists out there, giving them the chance to be that main artist that they deserve to be.
These two queens are not only colleagues, but the best of friends; which is definitely rare within any genre of music. Competition is something that is a given within the music industry, but establishing the difference between healthy competition as opposed to straight up hate for no reason is something many artists continue to battle with on a consistent basis. Especially with the prominence of social media in today’s day and age. As friends, these two managed to address and work through the concept of competition, setting a great example for many other artists. At the end of the day our fears of said competition are usually made out to be much worse than they actually are: something that is simply made up in our own heads. If we can address and quiet that nagging negative voice within, then our creative output could reach some amazing heights. Collette and Riya exemplified this with addressing the situation and in turn, working together releasing a 14-track album for the masses on their own terms.
“Two Sides of Everything” is an LP where no tune sounds the same. Collette and Riya wanted to be sure they catered to the various styles of drum & bass out there. From their dancefloor banger “All For Something” with L-Side to what’s been dubbed a marmite-type tune “Two Sides” with the legendary Roni size. The latter tune being “marmite” as in you’ll either love it or hate it—and that was their aim. The ladies wrote this particular tune hoping to spark conversation about division and the two sides of life. With the mixed reviews that “Two Sides” received from listeners Collette and Riya definitely feel their mission was accomplished and job was properly done with the tune.
“Stepping Stones” is another track on the album that accomplishes yet another first within our drum & bass scene. The song focuses on women’s equality and is the first time four women have joined forces to collectively write, produce, record and release a drum and bass record without the involvement of any men. I had the pleasure of joining Collette, Riya and Kyrist on the tune where we wanted to focus on how certain opportunities and failures have really been stepping stones towards something greater for women over time. It has made us stronger, whole and more powerful than ever; as stated by Riya & Collette. We do appreciate and have love for the men in our lives and those that do treat us as equals, but there’s no denying the fact that women have had to endure many hardships over time (Especially in the music industry) and that’s what this song discusses. Yet another perfect example of the album’s focus on differing perspectives: “Two Sides of Everything”.
Check out, support and follow Riya & Collette Warren by following the links below!
WORDS BY: SOFI MARI