RRILEY’s new track “mmm bye” reminds us to kick negativity out of our lives, no matter how tough it may be.
We sat down with RRILEY to discuss her solo career, new music, new look and how we can say “mmm bye” to the toxic people in our lives.
We’ve known her for the past seven years as Sandra Riley Tang from The Sam Willows, but the talented songstress has now taken a leap towards carving out a solo career as RRILEY. Her debut single “Burn” was released in May 2018, and she’s followed that up with the upbeat “mmm bye”, a song that exudes good vibes, neon lights and empowerment.
“mmm bye” is a strut-inducing track with motivational lyrics to match. The song’s lyrics and the visual messages of the music video work cohesively to remind us that we ought to kick negativity out of our lives, even if it tries to force its way back in. “I am nice, but I do not want to be taken advantage of,” RRILEY declared, “I will not stand for that… This is a clapback song, this is an inner bitch song for the people who are too nice to call out others in real life.”
The music video opens with a monologue about the self-doubt women face in this age of curated feeds and filtered selfies. To address this, RRILEY intentionally surrounded herself with a diverse group of women – with kick-ass moves, might we add – in her music video. “We did not want to stereotype, but in the end, we stereotyped them to represent these categories,” she confessed, “…to allow these girls who fit these stereotypes to fill the spaces that would typically be taken up by a more commercial figure. They are all pretty in their own right.”
Even the choice of the ladies’ pink leisurewear was intentional, even though RRILEY admitted, “I don’t like pink, I never wear pink and the idea of pink is urgh. But it’s meant to be a play on Mean Girls.”
But the video is not all serious and seething; RRILEY found ways to intersperse bits of humour that showed a different side of her personality. In one of the scenes, RRILEY and everyone on set with her burst into laughter after a confetti canon goes off. “It was the most real and the most raw, but it was quite funny,” she recalled. They originally planned to reshoot the scene but the confetti canon malfunctioned. Instead of letting the issue ruin the shoot, RRILEY took it in her stride. “We thought about it, and realised we should not react with anger to such situations,” she said.
Her motivation for this infusion of humour? “I want my music videos to be multi-dimensional, like me,” said RRILEY. And like that, we can see that RRILEY is actually a facet of Sandra; a conduit for her to express the different dimensions of her personality. As she puts it, the second ‘r’ in RRILEY stands for “real”. “One of the hardest things is to be real. Sometimes you can’t cause you don’t want to hurt people, but you have to,” she said.
This includes saying “mmm bye” to people who stop you from being real, which RRILEY has had to do in her own personal life. Her big tip for cutting them out? “Just have the courage to put yourself first. If you are not filled with good vibes, how can you give it?”
It is clear that RRILEY is in a good place in her life. Following the sale of her yoga studio, The Yoga Collective, she has been able to focus on her music and on maintaining a healthy balance in her life. “I am still trying to figure it out, I do think it is very important to keep healthy, especially my mental health, but I do get lazy sometimes,” she admitted. As for future music, RRILEY has hinted at an EP that will be out at the end of 2019 or early 2020. So keep an eye (or ear) out for the album.
Have you ever had to do a RRILEY and say “mmm bye” to someone? Share your experiences in the comments section below.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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