Indy world, meet 20-year old Ritchess Johnston. Rapper. Singer. Dancer. Actress. Producer. Engineer. Model. Free Lance Photographer. Originally from New Jersey, spent some time in Atlanta, and now in Philly taking care of business. According to Ritchess, she’s been writing, dancing, and acting since the age of 5, but didn’t take her rap career serious until her junior year of high school. As always, I was interested in how she got started in music.
My parents are in the music business. My father [Ken Johnston] has a Grammy for engineering Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation album and my mother [Sabrina Johnston] did her [Lauryn’s] background vocals along with her own top chart international single “Peace“.
(I’ll give you a second to get hip to the “Peace” single… It came out in ’91)
With that being said, I grew up in the music studio. Next, Naughty by Nature, Jaheim, Busta Rhymes, whoever was poppin’ in the 90’s was there at Perfect Pairs Studio! I wanted to be like my mother but I can’t sing like her. I can hold a tune, so I decided to take on rap. With rap I can be hardcore, let my tomboy self out, but also be sexy with it. When I was around 6 my mother made me sit down and write everyday after school. Didn’t matter the subject or if it rhymed, I just had to write. Ever since then I’ve been writing.
So what separates her from other artists?
I still have an innocent thing. It’s not forced but it’s there. I think I just have a different outlook on life. Life is promised tomorrow, you’re not. So live life slow and enjoy it! There aren’t that many people, especially female rappers who rap with metaphors like me.
Uh oh. So let’s get to the music right? Right. Ritchess’ single, ‘Like I Can’ is available for download via her website. Watch the official video below.
Tell me a little bit about the production and recording process of “Like I Can”
“Like I Can” was a beat I bought off of SoundCloud. I recorded it myself, wrote everything, and did half the mix. It took me a good minute to finish. I stayed up ’til 5 am recording that song… just recording the verses over and over, then watching tv, taking a break, going back and rerecording some more. [laughs] It was just a song I wanted out. Something people could have so they could see the progress since its been a year since I dropped the Uncomfortable mixtape.
Ritchess’ mixtape, The Uncomfortable was released May 22, 2012. You can watch the promo video for the tape below.
I had to know what her favorite track was that she’s recorded so far.
My favorite track I recorded would have to be “Timmy” from my Uncomfortable mixtape? ….hmm …. no it’s actually the slow ballad song I’m dropping soon. It’s a song that I did EVERYTHING on which makes me proud of myself.
Check out “Timmy” below.
So, what about her upcoming projects?
I’m working on really nailing my image and finding my sound. I have a couple mash up songs I plan to drop of me singing and rapping. The next song I plan on dropping is actually produced by De’Vaughn from Big Time Beatz. It’s called “Good On You”. I kind of want to make that a movement like “FDB” [laughs]… and then I’m dropping a slow ballad song that I wrote, produced, and recorded. It’s really showing another side of me. I am also working on a portfolio of pictures I took of me and my surroundings…. Andddddddddddd [laughs] I am picking up ballet again, which was my first love!
I want people to know that as an artist, you can be natural and be famous. I have stretchmarks and scars and feelings and a small butt and I’m human. It’s okay to be human. I think society tries to put a damper on being authentic and to appreciate what God gave you. What I want people to take away from my music is themselves. I want them to find stuff to relate to and say “damn she took the words out of my mouth” or “damn that was a clever ass line!” I want people to think when they hear me. – Ritchess Johnston
For more information on Ritchess, visit her website www.RitchessJohnston.com, where you’ll find everything from her music to her social media accounts.