Q&A with Emerging Pop Siren Raquel Kiaraa

We spoke to up-and-coming Pop-rock superstar Raquel Kiaraa about her latest single ‘Swim In Our Ocean’ released on June 28th, 2024 via Sono Rak Corp, the inspiration behind her music, as well as how she creates her unique sound.

Raquel’s emotive single premiered and received acclaim from notable tastemaker NOTION. Her talent, passion and prowess has garnered attention from the likes of Billboard, Rolling Stone, Wonderland Magazine and CLASH Mag, further affirming her influence in the ever-changing Pop music universe. Her music has already gained over 2 million streams across platforms, and her ability to craft powerful lyrics and touching performances has undoubtedly contributed to her rapid rise. In ‘Swim In Our Ocean’,  her dream-like vocals powerfully narrates a tale of longing, and the different ways love reflects the depths of the ocean.


Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

Why the arts? For me, the arts are a sanctuary for my tortured soul, a place where darkness and beauty collide. It’s where my raw humanity is laid bare, a confrontation with my deepest self. The arts offer brutal honesty, a mirror reflecting my hidden fears and desires. They allow me to scream without sound, to bleed without blood, expressing the unspoken truths that words alone cannot convey. The act of creation is an exorcism, transforming pain into something tangible, something others can touch and feel. The arts are my lifeline in darkness, a beacon in despair, reminding me that I am not alone. They connect me to others who have felt the same pain, seen the same shadows, and found a way to survive. Through the arts, I find beauty in the wreckage, meaning in the chaos, and strength in vulnerability. They are the pulse of my humanity, the raw, unfiltered truth of what it means to be alive. The arts are not just a passion; they are my salvation, my way of making sense of the world and my place in it.


Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

The idea: I am a woman of words, and they spill from me like blood from a wound. Writing is not just a passion—it’s an obsession, a relentless need. There’s a world of stories locked within me, dark and raw, screaming to be unleashed. Each tale is a fragment of my soul, a reflection of my deepest thoughts and emotions. If I could make a full-time career out of writing, I would surrender to it completely, letting it consume me. Writing is my torment and my salvation, a relentless force that I cannot escape.


What’s on your current playlist?

Imagine Dragons, Sabrina Carpenter, Alanis Morisette, Kacey Musgraves, Benson Boone, Kings of Leon, Artemas, Chris Stapelton and Noah Kahan


Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

It’s an emotional alchemy, a shared experience where my deepest feelings resonate with those who come to listen. When I perform, it’s not just about singing; it’s about conveying the raw emotions that inspired the music. Each song is a piece of my soul, a fragment of my story, and I pour every ounce of myself into each performance. Emotion is the lifeblood of my music. It’s the bridge linking my heart to the hearts of my listeners. I strive to make people feel what I feel, to evoke in them the same intensity that inspired my songs. This connection drives me to keep creating and pushing the boundaries of my music. It’s why I pour my heart into every lyric and melody. I want my fans to know they are not alone in their struggles, that someone else has felt their pain, joy, and sorrow. It’s a reminder that music is more than just sound; it’s a powerful medium for connection, healing, and transformation. This connection is a gift, and I cherish every moment of it.


What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

To craft my original sound, I experiment with a blend of techniques that allow me to explore the depths of my creativity. One key approach is blending genres, drawing from various musical styles to create something uniquely my own. I might mix elements of Soul, Disco, Rock, Pop, and Indie pop, letting each influence shine through in different parts of a song. I also pay close attention to the emotional core of my music. Each lyric, melody, and harmony is designed to evoke a specific feeling, often inspired by personal experiences. When I am putting a song together, I often start with a raw, acoustic version to ensure its emotional honesty before layering in more complex instrumentation and production.

Collaboration is a cornerstone of my music. Working closely with my producers and musicians, I can bounce ideas off others and push the boundaries of my sound. Their input and perspectives often lead to exciting new directions I might not have discovered. Creating a sound that is uniquely mine involves pouring all my emotions and feelings into each song. I dive into those dark, deep spaces within myself and let whatever emerges become part of the process. This raw emotion guides my vocals and shapes the music, making each track a true reflection of my inner world. Most importantly, I embrace the imperfections. Leaving in little mistakes or spontaneous moments during recording can add authenticity and character to the music. These imperfections often make a song feel more alive and relatable.


Take us through a day in the recording studio.

A day in the recording studio when I’m just singing and laying down the vocal tracks is a deeply immersive and focused experience. It starts with a moment of quiet preparation, grounding myself and warming up my voice with scales and exercises to ensure I’m ready. As I enter the studio, there’s an air of anticipation. Caleb and Rachel, my producer and co-producer, are already there, setting up the microphones and adjusting sound levels. We briefly discuss the specific tracks we’ll be working on, ensuring we’re all on the same page regarding the emotions and nuances we want to capture. I step into the vocal booth, a space that feels intimate and charged with potential. With the headphones on, I can hear the backing track and take a deep breath, ready to dive into the heart of the song.

Each take is an opportunity to explore different facets of the song’s emotion. I close my eyes and let the music guide me, connecting with the lyrics and the story they tell. Sometimes, I go deep into those dark, raw places within myself, allowing the full weight of my feelings to come through in my voice. Other times, it’s about finding the right balance, the perfect blend of strength and vulnerability. Caleb and Rachel provide invaluable feedback between takes, helping me fine-tune my performance. We listen back to each recording, discussing what worked and what needs adjustment. Their combined expertise ensures that every nuance of my voice is captured perfectly. It’s a collaborative process, with the goal of capturing not just a technically perfect take, but one that truly resonates with emotion and authenticity.

We take breaks to keep the energy fresh, grabbing a coffee or sharing a laugh to lighten the mood. These moments of downtime are crucial—they help me stay relaxed and connected to the team. As the day progresses, we layer the vocal tracks, experimenting with harmonies and different vocal techniques. I might try a softer approach for one section, then bring in more power for another, always aiming to convey the song’s emotional arc. By the end of the session, there’s a sense of accomplishment and excitement. Listening to the final takes, I can hear the journey we’ve been on, the emotions laid bare in the music. It’s a powerful feeling, knowing that we’ve captured something real and deeply personal. Leaving the studio, I feel a mix of tiredness and exhilaration. Laying down vocal tracks is demanding, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. It’s a chance to pour my heart into the music, to connect with my listeners on a profound level, and to bring the songs to life in the most authentic way possible.


Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

My journey into music began just six years ago, at the age of 32. Until then, I had always loved writing and poetry, but I realised that to truly bring my words to life, I needed to understand the basics of piano and singing to turn my poetry into songs. Learning these skills was a transformative experience for me, and it was during this time that a specific moment of clarity struck me. As I began gaining the confidence to turn my poetry into songs, I realised I had tapped into a gift, and I couldn’t back down from exploring it. My first album, Defying Odds, is a testament to this journey. It represents defying the odds of reaching a far-out-there goal and doing it, proving to myself that with enough hard work and dedication, I could make it happen. From that moment, the rest is history.

Creating music has hit on another level. Writing has always been a passion, but to be able to carry a tune and watch my voice evolve is something I am truly proud of. I keep evolving in my writing, storytelling, and how I want my music to sound and be produced. I am much more hands-on now because I am continually expanding my knowledge. I work at it relentlessly, and that’s the thing—when I am all in, I am going to make it happen. There is nothing that can deter me. My goal has always been to empower people to pursue their dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem. I believe you’re never too old to start trying, and that the impossible is indeed possible. I want to be inspired by my life and, in turn, inspire those around me to do the impossible.


What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

I keep a handwritten note from myself nearby. It’s a simple yet powerful message, reminding me to stay inspired and courageous.


Any emerging artists on your radar?



What gets your creative juices flowing?

What gets my creative juices flowing is my deep love for melancholy. I thrive on writing from a place of sadness; I yearn for it. It might sound dark, but it’s in those spaces that I feel most alive. It’s like, “Ahhh, my sweet friend darkness, there you are,” and I embrace it like a hug. I want to feel the darkness, to get to know it intimately, to immerse myself in it. There’s something profoundly raw and real about sitting in those moments of sorrow. I embrace them fully, allowing myself to experience the depth of those emotions. From there, I can write with a truth that resonates deeply. I love crafting songs from these spaces because I understand them; I hear the music that emanates from that sadness and know exactly how it should unfold. For me, it’s about more than just feeling the darkness; it’s about transforming it into something beautiful and meaningful. That process of turning pain into art is what fuels my creativity and connects me most deeply with my audience. In those melancholic moments, I find my truest inspiration.


Any side projects you’re working on?

Right now, my primary focus is on completing my second album, and I couldn’t be prouder of this work. The writing, the sound—every part of it feels like a true reflection of who I am as an artist. I’m wholly committed to the entire process, and I don’t want the writing to stop. There’s so much story in me, and I can already feel a third and fourth album coming alive. It’s really so fucking cool to feel this alive in music. It’s like my world has awakened something that was always there, something meant to be—a true love. I love creating, from the music to the music videos; there’s so much of me to share, and I am immersed in the process of creation and what that means.


How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

I’ve learned to befriend my darkness, to embrace it fully. It’s in those shadowy corners where the magic happens. Together, my pain and I create something powerful and real. This isn’t just about making music; it’s about diving head first into my inner turmoil and emerging with something beautiful. Every day, it’s me versus me. I push myself to dig deeper, to work harder, to stay connected to my art. My inner voice is a constant cheerleader, urging me to hold myself accountable to my goals. This isn’t a gentle process—it’s a battle, a grind, and it demands everything from me. But it’s in this struggle that I find my truth. The more I delve into this space, the more I understand its significance. Art, in its rawest form, is pure power. It connects people, breaks down barriers, and exposes the soul. It’s about channeling those intense emotions, that raw pain and darkness, into something that resonates. When done right, it’s transformative, both for me and for those who hear my music.


Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

My second album will be released in early 2025, and the process has been like birthing a human—I know, I’ve done that twice. The whole experience is raw and intense, but when it’s complete, you’re left thinking, “Holy shit, I just made magic.” It’s a brutal truth, but it’s all worth it because this music dives deep into the layers of my soul. It pushes you to another level, and when you’re finished, you feel like you’ve conquered something incredible. You realise what you’re capable of, and it’s something to be damn proud of.

You can expect two more singles from me this year, each with its own music video. I just dropped my new song Swim in Our Ocean’ and the music video premieres at the end of the month. I’ve been wrestling with my demons, embracing the darkness, and turning it into something visceral and real. My music isn’t just songs—it’s my blood, sweat, and tears poured into every note. Expect raw, expect gritty, and expect to feel every emotion I’m bringing to the table. This year, it’s all about breaking down walls and connecting on a brutally honest, deeply human level.


Famous last words?

The impossible is possible. Crawl through the mud, embrace the darkness, and bleed for your dreams. You are the magic born from struggle. Never stop believing in yourself.



Follow Raquel Kiaraa: