Ronika is always upfront on every issue.
As a songwriter she wears her heart on her sleeve, dealing with personal matters in a fashion that is deft, confident, and infectious.
New album 'Lose My Cool' is out now, and it fuses rubber-funk rhythms with some lush R&B textures, all spiced up with some pop flavours.
“I think at a time when we’re losing a lot of musical legends,” says Ronika, “I’ve been drawn not just to newer sounds but those classics who’ll be eternally cool, and each generation will revisit.”
Out now, Clash caught up with Ronika to discuss the Influences that inform her new album.
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World Famous Supreme Team – 'Hey DJ'
HEAVY JAM. One of the best. When I was making 'Lose My Cool' I was listening to jams across the decades, and this ones a classic. Love the playground-chant vocal hook and the way it’s delivered and effected. Love Mariah’s sample of the track on 'Honey' too. This groove along with Hall and Oates 'I Can’t Go For That' and Tupac’s 'I Aint Mad At Ya' were what I was listening to when I made the track 'Late Night Radio'.
I wanted to write a piano riff that sounded like something Tupac would have sampled, so wrote the riff on the DX7’s Rhodes setting which is a classic sound for 80s R&B.
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Janet Jackson – 'He Doesn’t Even Know I’m Alive'
I had a lot of Jam & Lewis produced tracks on rotation when making the album, they’re a huge inspiration for me and of course their work with Janet is legendary. There are many tracks I could have picked out by them or by Janet but I chose this one as it is has such a sweet and catchy pop melody, the kind I aspire to!
With my album I was trying to combine solid jams with catchy pop melodies. ‘Miss You Much’ is another Janet/J&L fave and S.O.S. Band ‘Just Be Good To Me’ another Jam & Lewis classic.
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Justin Timberlake – 'Rock Your Body'
This track is another artist/producer match made in heaven. Pharrell giving disco a fresh spin by anchoring it with his trademark hip-hop touch and Justin channelling MJ on the hooks and falsetto. Of course the middle-eight has that soulful Pharrell magic and you can almost forgive JT for his beatboxing interlude 'cos when the beat drops back in afterwards it’s so damn heavy.
This kinda disco approach with heavier hip-hop beats and loop-based groove was the inspiration for a few tracks on 'Lose My Cool' too.
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The Internet ft. Kaytranada – 'Girl'
I really love The Internet and Kaytranda is one of my favourite producers right now so again, another match from the stars right here. Syd’s voice is so dreamy and I love the beauty and simplicity of her melodies, they always hit the spot. The track has such a smooth spacey groove with Kaytranada’s trademark shuffle and The Internet's minimal jazz approach.
I wanted 'Lose My Cool' to sound like a mix of classic and future jams so was listening to lots of new music as well as the older tunes.
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Ariana Grande – 'Be My Baby'
This is my final artist/producer dream match with Ariana bringing the sweet R&B pop hooks and Cashmere Cat bringing fresh sounds to the lush R&B-gospel style chord progressions. A real sweet-spot of gorgeous production and killer pop vocals. I’m inspired by any incredible pop writing twinned with soulful progressions and production like this, also Max Martin is a master of it and he’s a big inspiration too.
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'Lose My Cool' is out now. Catch Ronika at the following shows:
3 Nottingham Bodega
8 London Birthdays