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17 October 2023 Reviews


Australian singer-songwriter Holly Riva prepares to stun audiences with the irresistible tones of poignant new single, “Drowning”.

Riva made her mark on the music industry with her 2022 debut EP “A Memory”, and further proved herself as one to watch when previous single “Love Who You Wanna Love” received a nomination for Best Song at the Hollywood Independent Music Awards.

Now, her new single “Drowning” is here to showcase a more personal, vulnerable side to the dimensional songstress. Fresh from blowing away an all-industry audience with her live performance in Los Angeles, the track confirms her place as one of the most distinctive and magical voices of 2023.

The stunning new single takes authentic songwriting to a whole new level; Riva details the motions of unhealthy relationships and the damaging repercussions, exploring her growing awareness of the psychological traumas experienced by young people in today’s social media-based society. Coming in at just under four and a half minutes, the track is laced with tales of dishonesty, miscommunication, and mind games. At its very core, “Drowning” is “an outpouring of emotion, a reflection of life’s complexities”.

Not only does “Drowning” open up the conversation about these shared experiences, but listeners are left rooting for Riva as the protagonist, willing for her to escape the toxicity and come up for air. Whilst many artists have cultivated special relationships with their audience, the connection between Riva and her listeners is truly unparalleled. With Riva entirely embracing it, she explains “it’s an honour to share this piece of my soul with listeners, and I hope it adds to the soundtrack of their own journeys”.

Alongside Riva, “Drowning” recruits producer Swavybeats, known for his work with Kanye West, and the captivating UK tunesmith, Kit Rice. The track is texturally minimalistic through fusing inflections of piano, brass, and strings with a sleek production style. Thus, leaving Riva’s vocals to shine as the main focal point, comprising haunting harmonies, glistening melodies, and a controlled solidity. This melting pot of various musical elements makes for an ethereal whirlpool of contemporary sonic storytelling, resulting in a listening experience that resonates long after the music ends.

There’s no denying that Holly Riva is an unstoppable force, as she grows her online presence, reaching nearly 12,000 monthly Spotify listeners, and continues to receive high praise from music industry experts: “the most talented female artist I’d seen since Annie Lennox walked through my door” - Bill Kimber, former head of A&R RCA UK. “Drowning” solidifies Holly Riva’s position as a cutting edge writer, unafraid to push creative boundaries, and these qualities are sure to propel her into further international success.


5 /5


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