Riti Walia, BMus Popular Music Vocalist

What are your musical influences?

I’m inspired by a wide range of music. In terms of specific vocalists, I think Jessie J, Beyonce, Christina Aguleira are amazing.

Why did you choose to study at the RNCM?

Where I’m from in India, in Delhi, there aren’t many options for studying Western music. The places that do exist offer shorter courses, for example a month, six-months or sometimes a year. I wanted to study a longer degree and chose the RNCM because the popular music course offered here is very unique – there’s nothing really like it anywhere else.

How are you enjoying the course?

Everyone in the course is really welcoming. As an international student, initially I did feel homesick, but everyone’s so nice I settled in quickly. The course itself is really good and I’m finding it really interesting. Especially learning about things in the British music industry like copyright, music licenses, and all of this stuff I don’t know anything about. Learning software like Sibelius and how to make lead sheets on my laptop has been useful. I also really enjoy ensemble performance every Thursday, that’s really fun.

You are the first popular music student to be awarded a scholarship. How does that feel?

I’m incredible grateful for the scholarship and honoured to have been chosen – it’s changed my life. It means I got to come to Manchester and has given me the opportunity to study what I want to.

What are you hoping to get out of your time at the RNCM?

I think what I say now and what I want four years later could be different, but I think that’s the purpose of getting a degree. As of now I want to be a singer, but in four years later I might want to manage an artist or have a label or do something else in the music industry. Because the popular music course is broad, we kind of cover everything. It’s not like, ‘Oh, you just sing if you’re a vocalist, if you’re a guitarist you just play the guitar.’ You branch out to all the sections of your course, so it gives you the option to become a more well-rounded musician and have more options later down the line. I’m excited to see where things might lead.