With numerous hit albums and awards, singer-songwriter Riana Nel is without a doubt one of the biggest names in South African music.
Riana started her career as a gospel singer with the albums Oopmond (2001), The Cure (2003) and Someone with Skin (2006). Her first secular album, Die Moeite Werd, was released by Coleske Artists in 2011 and was followed by Die Regte Tyd in 2014. With the hit songs “Die Moeite Werd”, “Dans”, “Soos die Son”, “Tyd om te Lewe”, “Tweede Kans” and “Weier” she sang herself into the hearts of South African music lovers and proved that she is one of the most talented songwriters in South Africa.
Riana was born on 9 November 1981 in Windhoek, Namibia. She had the support of her father Flip, a policeman, and mother Helet, a grade 1 teacher, from the get go. They gave her the freedom to follow her dreams and passion. Gospel music and her strong belief in God is still the most important pillars in her life, but with her secular pop/rock music she reached a far bigger audience.
With Die Moeite Werd she collaborated with Arnold and Ewald Coleske and it was apparent from the start that her career has taken on a new dimension. It was not long before Huisgenoot magazine described her as a talent to be watched in the future.
The Coleske brothers encouraged Riana to write more of her own music and to establish herself as an artist in the true sense of the word. The first single on the album, the title track “Die Moeite Werd”, was an instant hit, but it was “Dans” that became a number 1 hit on commercial radio stations around the country. “Soos die Son” and “Timbuktu” also helped the album to have no less than six number 1 radio hits.
There were numerous awards for Die Moeite Werd. It was awarded best pop album at the Tempo Awards in 2012 and Riana was a joint winner with Johan Vorster at the Ghoema Awards in the category songwriter of the year. But Riana is no stranger when it comes to awards. She won the Geraas award as best new artist in 2001, an award that she shared with Karen Zoid. She also won the award as best gospel artist. In 2001 she also won two categories at the Lier Awards: best new artist and best female vocalist.
With the release of Die Moeite Werd Riana established herself as one of the strongest female voices in South Africa and with her down to earth personality and creativity she became a darling in the music industry and with her fans.
Other artists noticed her talent as a songwriter and she wrote songs for the likes of Bobby van Jaarsveld, Juanita du Plessis, Lianie May and Jay.
In April 2014 her new album, Die Regte Tyd, was released and it achieved gold status in just nine days. “Tweede Kans” was number 1 for four weeks running on Jacarand FM and also number 1 on Radio Helderberg, Laeveld Stereo and Algoa FM. “Weier” was also a hit song and was number 1 on the Kia Afrikaans Top 20 as well as number 1 on Jacaranda FM. Other hit songs on the album were “Glass” and “Meer as ‘n Vriend”.
Die Regte Tyd was the best selling album in South Africa in 2014 and sold more than 62 000 units. Die Moeite Werd has also since passed the 100 000 mark. In Februarie 2015 Riana was nominated for four Ghoema Awards: best female vocalist, best pop album by a female artist, best songwriter and best album for Die Regte Tyd. She won in three categories and also won the award as best selling artist.
At the Sama Awards Riana won two awards - one for best Afrikaans pop album and the big one of the night: best selling artist of the year. She has since also been nominated for three Huisgenoot Tempo Awards in the categories contempory album of the year, music video of the year and song of the year.
Riana is also no stranger when it comes to collaborations. She recorded “Eens in ‘n Leeftyd” vir Bobby van Jaarsveld and “Doen Net Wat Ons Wil”, a collaboration with Die Heuwels Fantasties was recorded recently. The music video for “Doen Net Wat Ons Will” can be seen on YouTube.
With her bubbly personality and endless talent, this is just a start for Riana’s career.