Ama Groove Songwriting Camp

Legacy is defined as the long-lasting impact of a person’s life. When done right, that impact lives on beyond one’s lifetime and benefits all who come in contact with it. Though short, Riky Rick‘s life was impactful and his legacy of driving positive change through art and collaboration now lives on in the Riky Rick Foundation. Committed to enhancing cultural and mental health awareness in the music industry, the Foundation along with One Groove and other partners launched the Ama Groove Songwriting Camp which saw 14 talented music creators come together for a week of music creation, workshops and networking. This unique opportunity did not only enable the South African and Danish musicians, who would not have met otherwise, to collaborate on projects but also created a space for reflection and connection on a human level.

Among the 14 talented musicians was award winning singer-songwriter Una Rams whom we speak to about the experience at the camp and the importance of such initiatives in the music industry. Read more below…

How was your experience at the Ama Groove Songwriting Camp? What was your highlight from the week?

The camp was a fun and interesting experience. It was cool to see, in person, that music is indeed universal and being able to share ideas with people from different backgrounds with different perspectives. My highlight was being in studio. Creating is always an interesting process. There were songs were I felt we needed to dig deep to find the gold and it was worth it because when things started to flow, the song would come together and that on its own was a beautiful experience. Being in that collaborative environment was truly unforgettable.

How did the cultural exchange between the South African and Danish artists influence your creative process during the camp?

It’s always interesting to see how different artists work and being in their space informs my process as well. It’s cool to see that regardless of how we go about it individually, the end goal for us all is the same and that is to make beautiful art. The collaborative environment affirmed me in my creative process and encouraged me not to be afraid to share my ideas, whatever they might be.

In what ways do you feel the collaborative songwriting sessions at the camp contributed to expanding your artistic horizons and pushing your creative boundaries?

To me, being a musician and more specifically a songwriter is a look like being a magician. When people meet a magician they just want to see tricks and magic. The same goes for a songwriter, when you go into studio, you are expected to write a song instantly and sometimes one forgets that the art needs some sort of balance between inspiration and pressure. Being in a collaborative space like I was at the camp allowed for ideas to come forth because it was a safe space for ideas to be explored and experimented with, and as a result beautiful songs were created.

The Ama Groove Songwriting Camp emphasized fostering understanding and breaking down barriers through music. Can you share any specific instances where you felt this goal was achieved during your time at the camp?

Well…for one the Danish artists could speak English, so the language barrier was broken from the word go. As for melody and rhythm – those are universal. We all knew when something was good without having to speak, we could feel it. But we did have to break away from our primary routines. We were in a different environment to our normal and we had to find ways to work together to create something beautiful. Also being in a remote area, away from daily distractions, allowed us to bond as both people and musicians which translated into synergies in our collaborative creation.

As one of the participants in the camp, were there any workshops or networking events that stood out to you as particularly beneficial or insightful? How did they contribute to your growth as a musician?

We had sessions that were geared towards conversation and that’s what made this camp feel special. Usually, these types of camps are focused on the creation of music but with this one, it felt like there was an intent to uplift or empower the artist as well, which really goes a long way.

The selection process for the camp aimed to ensure inclusion and representation. How do you feel this diversity enriched the overall experience and outcomes of the camp?

They succeeded in that regard. We were a group of diverse people, in terms of gender, race and age. It was inspiring to see artists in their 40s still working on their art and pursuing this career. We often think we have to do everything and have everything at a young age but seeing them eased the pressure for me. In one of the sessions I also got to work with a female producer which was a first for me.

One afternoon we just stood together as a group and watched the sun set, in absolute silence. That was a memorable moment for me because I felt that I was with my tribe, my people and we just got each other. We may be different and have different backgrounds but in music we’re all the same and that was therapeutic.

How did it feel to showcase your collaborative work at the final listening session to an audience of industry professionals, and what feedback did you receive?

It was beautiful to hear all the work we had done during the camp come to life in front of an audience. The audience’s reaction further affirmed what we knew already – that the songs were indeed great. People were asking when they can get the songs and that’s the best feedback because it means they like the music. The experience showed me once more that when you give of yourself so purely to the art, it will give back to you.

How do you envision the relationships formed during the camp continuing to impact your music career moving forward?

I feel like I have made some real and genuine friendships, not just collaborators, and friendship is a lifelong journey. I just look forward to doing more.