By Stuart Derdeyn, The Province
She’s done with the globe-trotting pre-parties. She’s done with the smile-and-wave press sessions.
Rykka’s focus was on the really big show, the Eurovision Song Contest 2016, which is taking place this weekend in Stockholm.
Born Christina Maria Rieder, the Surrey-raised, Canadian-Swiss singer is representing Switzerland in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest 2016 with the song The Last of Our Kind.
She didn’t make it through Thursday’s second semifinal round, ending her bid win a contest which has launched the careers of luminaries like Abba and Celine Dion.
Dion also represented Switzerland in 1988 and won the contest. Talk about a hard act to follow.
“It’s an incredible amount of pressure, but I’m always hard on myself,” said Rykka, 30, said earlier this week.
“In terms of exposure, it’s hugely important for my career, and that is key with my new album already recorded and ready for release on Cordova Bay/Little Jig/Vissen Records.”
The Last of Our Kind was written by Rykka, Jeff Dawson, Mike James and acclaimed Vancouver-based UK producer Warne Livesay (Midnight Oil, Paul Young, The The).
It was the sort of tune that Eurovision judges go for, and Rykka admitted there was some planning that went into that.
“The key is epic-ness for Eurovision,” said Rykka. “You need a song that can really come across on TV. You are singing to tape, but doing it live so you need to have certain qualities that come across in that format as well as in front of judges; no biggie.”
Rykka has been honing her skills in that format since she performed under the name Christina Maria on German TV while touring her Ryan Guldemond (Mother Mother)-produced 2010 album Straight Line. Changing both style and name for 2012s Kodiak, she entered into the Peak Performance Project and won $100,000. Full music is available at rykka.com.
Of Swiss and Dutch ancestry, she relocated to Europe where she and her husband live in Zürich.
“I have a band here, and it really is nice to be able to gig in Amsterdam or London in an hour from home,” said Rykka. “Canada has the space, but there is so much more work here and it’s the best for my career.”
What happens now that Eurovision Song Contest 2016 is done?
“My new album titled Beatitudes is out later this year,” she said. “There might be another fairly soon as we line up shows to promote it here in Europe and back home.”