POWER. PASSION. SOUL.
Her name is the perfect representation of her – Cultural, Artistic, Spiritual, Soul Sista! Rize representing ascension and elevation, and Rahnda in Kiswahili meaning to come forth, to dance and to show off, this Philadelphia Pa native has been showing off her talents almost since inception. Hailing from the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection, the birthplace of Neo Soul and the city that gave America the Sound of Philadelphia, Rize represents the soul of the city to the fullest.
In addition to being a multidisciplinary performing artist, she is an event organizer, community activist, youth mentor and an advocate for the well-being of women and girls, especially lil black girls whose self-esteem and self-image has been damaged due to systemic racism, oppression and underrepresentation, etc. Her social service and advocacy work has allowed her to work with various cultural organizations and youth programs throughout the city of Philadelphia, and has also lead her to create programs such as the Sisterhood of Goddess Queens Girls Rites of Passage Program and the Rize Up, Act Out Performing Arts Workshop for teens. Not only has she been emerging as one of Philly’s up and coming soul music artists, she is a songwriter, poet, trained dancer and actress. Dedicated to bringing depth and integrity to the stage, her dynamic artistry has been seen all over the city of Philadelphia and beyond. Her musical, dramatic and poetic works have been featured at such notable venues as the African American Museum of Philadelphia, Prince Music Theatre, Freedom Theatre, Adrienne Theatre, The Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Odunde Festival, The Black Woman’s Arts Festival, The International Locks Conference and outside of Philly at the National Black Theatre of Harlem (NYC) to name a few.
From an early age Rahnda has been deeply immersed in the arts and knew early on that it would be her life’s calling. For such a young person she had strength in her voice, movement and personality that has carried with her to the present day. Her love of dance sparked it all off for her. Dancing ignited her soul and made her fall in love with the stage. At the age of seven she was attending dancing school training in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, African and Modern Dance, and it was not long after that she realized she also had a voice. It wasn’t a surprise to her mother because music is deeply rooted in the family. Her grandmother was a vocalist who sang with legendary Philadelphia gospel singers of her time, and her aunts and uncles who had voices comparable to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke etc, sang everything from gospel to jazz music. They were members of the Philadelphia gospel group The Paige Gospel Singers as well as their own group, The Holman Gospel Singers. So it was inevitable that the gift of music and passion for singing would be passed down.
She started dabbling in songwriting and poetry in high school. When she realized she had a knack for putting lyrics and melodies together her penmanship began to grow. During this time she was involved with several area aspiring singing groups but realized that going solo is what she wanted to do and she began to dive into making music of her own. During her college years Rahnda started developing her stage presence and honing her many talents in dance, theatre and music (performing with various companies in Philly and NYC). She attended Temple University in Philadelphia. It was there that she would begin to explore and find herself as an artist. Around this time she began frequenting the Philly open mic circuit. The first open mic she performed at was Baptism By Fire, which gave her the confidence to try others, but it was at the famous October Gallery “Panoramic Poetry” event where she would find her voice – on paper and on the mic. From there she went on to perform at other notable Philadelphia venues such as World Café Live, Warmdaddys, the legendary Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts, The Blockley and more. Additionally, spinning jazz music as a jazz host & Dj at the NPR affiliate WRTI 90.1 FM greatly influenced her artistry, and increased her passion and desire to continue to pursue her craft.
Philadelphia is one of the music capitals of the world, and has always been known as a city that produces great soul singers. Like the ones before her, Rahnda is carrying on that tradition. Her voice is one that moves the soul, which is reminiscent of the funk of Chaka, the gospel of Aretha & the R&B and Hip Hop of Mary. In one of her personal quotes she describes herself as a “Soul Siren shaping sound. Defining rhythm w/a touch of blues. Melodies in all hues. New. Timeless. Classic. In bloom.” Equipped with a diverse arsenal of electrifying talent that is meant to be seen and heard, this Soul Sista is on her way to making her mark with an undeniable voice and a fierce pen! Ready to take flight, she is definitely blooming, blossoming and on the #rise.