Ria Hall’s top powerful female musicians

New Zealand neo-soul artist Ria Hall releases her debut album, Rules of Engagement, this week. Drawing on the themes of not only love and war, but also revolution and change, the album has been nearly five years in the making and is a collision of traditional ways of thinking and modern musicianship.

Aiming to create an honest dialogue, Rules of Engagement looks to uphold the integrity of Māori culture amongst modern musical sounds and the current cultural climate. Featuring performances and production from Tiki Taane, Kings, Laughton Kora, Che-Fu and Electric Wire Hustle, Hall mixes her native tongue with soulful beats.

To celebrate the launch of the album, we asked Ria – a powerful female herself –  to put together a playlist of her favourite five songs by fellow powerful female musicians. Here we go…

Artist: Nina Simone

Song: Mississippi Goddamn!

Reason for loving it: She was fearless and spoke the truth. She didn’t care about popularity, she was concerned about equality for her people. I respect that.

Artist: Beyoncé

Song: Formation

Reason for loving it: Anything Queen B sings is gold in my books. This song in particular hits as she’s never released anything in this context, talking to her history as a black woman in America. Epic.

Artist: Ardijah (lead singer Betty Anne Monga)

Song: Do to you

Reason for loving it: Betty Anne is a New Zealand icon, with a voice that cuts through the noise, and one of my biggest influences. She’s also my aunty (my dads first cousin) so I’ll take that!

Artist: Renee Geyer

Song: Sweet Love

Reason for loving it: Her voice was way ahead of its time. Powerful, convicting and on point. This song is one of my favourites of hers, soulful and funky.

Artist: Chaka Khan

Song: Through the Fire

Reason for loving it: Chaka’s range is out of this world, and I’ve always admired her vocal capacity. This song showcases the depth of her voice.

Rules of Engagement is out on October 27th. Keep up to date with Ria Hall on Facebook.