Rié – St Martin

London-based Japanese singer/songwriter/painter Rié, inspired by the uniqueness of Kate Bush, the chords of Joni Mitchell and the voice of Karen Carpenter

Rié (pronounced ree-ay) Funakoshi – known simply as Rié – is a Japanese London-art school graduate who made her debut in the UK in the summer 2017 with the four-track EP Business Trips. A singer-songwriter of rare melodic grace whose music resonates with the lush splendour of Karen Carpenter and the acoustic intimacy of Suzanne Vega, news of the release comes in line with ‘St.Martin’ (Theme Park Mix) – the first track to be lifted from the EP – which seamlessly cuts between London and Tokyo, representing both her background and her journey to the UK.

Having studied Fine Art at London’s Central St Martins, she began to immerse herself in music shortly after graduating, which along with painting, became her defining characteristic. Following a deluge of songwriting the young woman who sports striking pink-streaked hair earned a deal with Sony Japan at the age of 19 under the recording name Rie Fu, earning herself widespread recognition with the release of her debut album at home. Subsequent albums followed, along with a stint performing on a series of Asian tours before Rié returned to the UK the next stage of her music career.
Rié possesses the ability to write about anything within her music, speaking about the influence behind this, she says: “There’s nothing I wouldn’t write about,” she says. “I’d welcome the challenge of writing about the most unexpected thing. Kate Bush writes about mundane things but makes them sound like magical fairly tales.”

Rié frequently combines her love for both fine art and music and her paintings can be seen in the artwork and visual video concepts with this EP. She frequently turns to Japanese poetry as a source of influence, something she says will often describe the ‘beautiful’ without ever being explicit. “Japanese poetry and writing are all about saying something through something else, implying obliquely,” she muses. “In a Japanese poem, if something is beautiful, you never use the word ‘beautiful’; you refer to it without spelling it out.”