Introducing: Rioghan

Finnish solo artist Rioghan has honed a rock sound that draws on gothic and progressive metal influences. Rioghan’s music combines an intriguing combination of vocal styles in a sound that she describes as “melodic, dark and uncommon.”

The solo project is the work of Rioghan Darcy, a 27-year-old Lapua-based singer, poet and lyricist writer. Rioghan started out creating poetry around a decade ago and decided she wanted to add music to the lyrics in 2019.

On starting a solo project, Rioghan told us: “At this point, I just thought that would be the easiest way to get things done. I didn’t really have a clear vision for what this would be at first, so it was kind of hard to look for like minded people. Everyone I knew had already a billion projects going on and I wanted things done with no additional schedule hassle so I thought going solo was the best option, at least for now!”

And the decision to add music to the mix has proven to be a masterstroke. For example, last year’s single Enough starts out with light guitars and drums over Rioghan’s vocals “Just when you least expect it, Just when you think it’s safe, Just when you have accepted you loss, You feel at ease.” A cool riff jumps in and drops into low-tuned diving guitars and driving drums. It drops into a light verse featuring impressive high notes, then a quiet section explodes into heavy screamed version of the previous lyrics, which shows off the diversity of Rioghan’s voice.

It drops into another quiet section featuring lingering piano sounds under Rioghan’s higher-pitched vocals, and a chugging bassline joins in as it gradually builds. It suddenly bursts into another huge chorus supported by layered guitars to bring the track to a heavy ending.

Contrasting that is the mellow debut single Hollowness and atmospheric latest single Wither, which was released a couple of weeks ago. All of these tracks will feature in the upcoming Blackened Sky EP, which is out on 10 March.

On the EP, Rioghan told us: “I am very excited about the release, and see how people will react to it, as there are so many different moods and genres fused together. I think in this case, I hope people keep an open mind for everything to come!”

Rioghan’s strongest musical influences include the likes of Leprous, Katatonia, Regina Spektor and Anneke van Giersbergen. And on what inspires her to write, she tells us: “I try my best to write about anything really. Yet somehow the best pieces tend to come from different kinds of painful or tricky situations and are means to unwind them.”

We also asked Rioghan about the current Finish music scene, on which she said: “New bands and artists are coming all the time, and a lot of very talented ones too. The rock/metal scene here is wide but hearty. There are many kinds of routes available for aspiring artists to get through and get support. But still, I think in the end it’s just the matter of knowing the right people and/or being in the right place at the right time.”

In addition to the new EP, Blackened Sky, which is out on 10 March, Rioghan has been busy writing more new songs. She’s also been working on some interesting songwriting collaborations, which will be coming our way soon, and wants to record a first full-length album to be released by Spring 2022.

You can follow Rioghan on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out her music on Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music, Tidal and Deezer.

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