Reija Lee to bring pop sounds to State of the Art Festival on WA Day

Reija Lee will perform alongside a huge line-up of WA acts for State of the Art Festival 2019 on WA Day.
Reija Lee will perform alongside a huge line-up of WA acts for State of the Art Festival 2019 on WA Day.

SHE has played bass in metal bands and been a dubstep feature vocalist but now Reija Lee Thomas is following her true passion and stepping out on her own as a pop artist.

“I’m not an avid believer in star signs but I am a Gemini so I am a split personality,” the Hillarys singer-songwriter known as Reija Lee said.

“I’ve always been someone that listens to many different types of music and I love performing different types of music.

“I’ve done feature vocals for many years and I used to be in a duo (Kito and Reija Lee) where my partner was the producer and I was the singer so that was always my role – to be the songwriter and the topliner.

“But over the last year since starting my solo project, I’ve done a production course and learnt how to produce my own music, which has been really exciting and really fun.”

Since releasing her second single Something True in April, Thomas said she had been “rehearsing a lot” in preparation for the free State of the Art (SOTA) Festival.

Held annually on WA Day, the event is a showcase emerging and established talent from around the state.

Though it won’t be her first appearance – having closed the festival last year alongside her brother Karl Thomas, better known as drum and bass producer ShockOne – it will be a chance for fans to see her solo work.

“It’s big for me because making pop music is my real passion and it’s an achievement to do something just off your own back,” Thomas said.

“I’m an independent artist and I release all my own music.

“In the past I’ve done everything through labels, managers and publishers and this is really like starting from square one again, so it’s really nice to have the recognition in your city and be asked to play at the festival.”

Thomas said she also hoped the gig would help with her transition to being a solo pop artist.

“I lived away for five years in London and I only came back a few years ago and only started releasing my own solo music almost a year ago,” she said.

“So I’m trying to rekindle my relationship with the Perth music industry because I haven’t been a part of it and I haven’t been here.

“In drum and bass there is a really solid community here and it’s a really strong scene but with pop music, it’s a lot harder.

“You have to really search to find those pop artists in Perth to be part of that community and it’s a change for me.

“It’s really different and it’s quite isolating to not have that so it will be nice for people to see what I’m doing and to know I’m here and I’m here to stay.

“I love Perth and I want to be a part of it and I chose to come back here because I want to live here.”

Performing at SOTA will also be the first time Thomas has played bass for her solo tracks.

“Doing a live show is an opportunity to take a bit more creative licence and do something a little bit different so I have a full band with me – live drums, live synths, and I will play bass in a few songs as well,” she said.

“My solo music is very electronic, very produced pop music and I really just want to bring it back to a live band.

“I’ve played in full bands and I’ve sung in front of a DJ before and I love doing both of them but there’s an energy that you get between live instruments on stage that is like a magic you can’t recreate.

“So you could probably say the live show will be like a Reija Lee song on steroids: a little bit more amped up and with a few little surprises in there as well.”

The show will also be a double celebration for Thomas who will turn 31 three days after the festival.

“It’s going to be a good week,” she said.

SOTA will also feature fellow WA artists John Butler, Drapht, Family Shoveller Band, Flossy, Great Gable, Hyclass, Jebediah, Katy Steele, Slumberjack, Tether, T$oko, The Struggling Kings and Your Girl Pho.

This year it moves to a bigger location at Burswood Park.

THE ESSENTIALS

State of the Art Festival 2019

When: WA Day – Monday, June 3

Time: noon to 9pm

Where: Burswood Park

Tickets: free