Indian pop sensation Rika joins the international superstar club

June 9, 2018

Seventeen-year-old Indian pop sensation Chandrika Darbari, also known as RIKA has signed up with Virgin EMI, one of UK’s biggest record companies

Being part of the BBC Asian Network’s Future Sounds 2018 list was music to British-Indian origin teen Chandrika Darbari’s ears; now, after signing up with Virgin EMI, this pop star is on song.

When most teenagers are on the cross-roads of figuring what they would like to do in life, Chandrika Darbari is following her passion to be a pop sensation. And while at it, she has created history by being the first and the youngest British-Indian origin artist to have signed up with one of UK’s largest record labels, Virgin EMI.

She now joins the young international superstars club, including the likes of Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber who were signed on in their early teens and went on to become worldwide phenomenon’s. 

The Indian-Serbian teenager, who goes by the stage name RIKA, debuted last year with the single No Need, which has garnered close to 2.2 million views on YouTube, and followed it up with another single The Others. This took her to being BBC Asia’s Future Sound of 2018 and she was declared the “Best New Pop” in the UK by BBC Radio1, one of UK’s biggest radio stations.

Chandrika Darbari

In an interview with YourStory, RIKA speaks about her inspiration, how it all started, and why fame isn’t all important to her. 

Edited excerpts of the interview:

YS: Tell us what drove you towards music? And what is the genre you have grown up listening to? 


Personally, I always had a passion for music from a very young age. This realisation came to me at school when I was given lead roles in school plays, and I loved performing. I love listening to music, and consider Mariah Carey the inspiration for my music.

YS:  What's your philosophy as a pop star? 

RIKA: Inspiring and impacting people positively. For me, the idea of being a pop star is all about creating great music, which people can connect to and be moved by.

YS: How did Virgin EMI happen? Tell us the story behind getting signed up?  

RIKA: Well, I was aware of the label’s interest in signing me, especially after being featured in BBC Asian Network’s Future Sounds 2018. Further, my management company, Rounded Talent, has an existing relationship with Virgin EMI and when the opportunity came to sign up with them, I jumped at it. It felt like home right from the first day. And of course, they were a choice since they have helped build the careers of some of the biggest artists you see today.  

YS: What are your personal aspirations?   

RIKA: There is no doubt that I want to be as successful as possible, have as many people listen and enjoy my music globally. But for the moment, I’d really want one day to do a major arena tour, as one of my favourite things is to perform live.   

YS: While looking at the music industry, where do you think you can bring the difference?   


When I look at the industry, I don’t see any young, female artist of Indian origin who has been creating mainstream music. That definitely drives me. I would want to fly the Indian flag and show that it is possible to break down barriers, something like what Priyanka Chopra has done in Hollywood.  

YS: What/who is your inspiration? 

RIKA: In terms of music, I would say it is Mariah Carey. In other aspects, I would say Priyanka Chopra. Her ground-breaking work and what she has done as an Indian internationally. My family is also a huge inspiration to me and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support.

YS: Does fame scare you or does it motivate you further?   

RIKA: Fame is something I don’t actively seek. It’s a part and parcel of the business we are in. It doesn’t scare me at all. The love of my fans and followers always motivates me to produce the best work I’m capable of and produce the best version of me. 

YS: What do we expect next from RIKA in the future? 

RIKA: Some exciting new songs and hopefully my first official single after signing up with Virgin EMI. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.

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