Under her real name, Bec Laughton, Brisbane pop artist Rivah was a headliner at Easterfest. Then, for a while, she disappeared. She told Alex she’d been with God in the wilderness, on a journey to find out what came next. ‘It was an intense and beautiful journey,’ she said, ‘and in the process, I actually got picked up by major labels for the first time, which was really exciting.’
But as well as improving her song writing, Rivah was also improving her relationship with God. Though she was a pastor’s kid and always loved God, she admits she didn’t always obey Him. As boring as obedience sounds, she says it’s the key to life. ‘Obeying God = happiness.’
Listen to Rivah’s chat with Alex on Vision180
‘I feel like we excuse some stuff in the Bible, which is honestly there for our good. And we excuse it thinking, in this day and age, we have the pill.’ After a few unhealthy relationships, she realised that God tells us to save ourselves for marriage for a reason. ‘So I finally started honouring Him with that part of my life in 2013. And I feel like I was born again, again, and had a new lease on life.’
In honour of her rebirth, and the new musical direction it inspired, she wanted to perform under a new name. She hoped God would rename her, like he did for Abraham. ‘And then my manager, who was not a Christian, was like: “Hey, what about the name Rivah? It’s like Hebrew or something for Rebecca.” I was like: “Lord, I feel like that’s You.”’
She’d had other options in mind which seemed cooler, but she knew this was the name God had chosen for her. ‘I never want what’s cool to be my motivation for music. I want it to be God ordained, and let Him move through me.’
One of her new songs, Cheerleader, came out of a song-writing session where she was feeling down and alone. ‘It’s what God was singing to me, but I’m singing it to you now. And it’s saying how He’s always got your back, and He’s like your number one cheerleader, even when everyone else falls away.’
Rivah’s work is turning heads in the mainstream. Her song Flood is being used in a French fashion commercial. She’s been played on Triple J, where she also recently won a spot touring Australia with the Rubens. But she knows where her success is coming from, and she won’t let it distract her.
Her latest single, Worry ‘Bout It, was actually inspired by the famous passage in Matthew Chapter 6 which begins, ‘Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink.’ (Matthew 6:25 NIV) It goes on to point out that God dresses the flowers more splendidly than King Solomon, even though they do no work.
‘In this day and age,’ Rivah said, ‘we feel like we need to be achieving, and working, and doing all this stuff to get validation. Obviously God doesn’t want us to be lazy, but it’s not our efforts that help us achieve anything anyway. Jesus died to save us, because we can’t be perfect without Him. And if we try and be perfect without Him, we’re negating the cross!’’
I want it to be God ordained, and let Him move through me
God keeps opening doors for Rivah, but she knows some opportunities could lead her astray. She’s been offered auditions on talent shows like The Voice and American Idol, but she’s turned them down so far. ‘The shows are kind of more about fame and instant celebrity,’ she said. ‘And that’s not why I do music.’
‘It turns music into a competition, which I also don’t agree with. Everyone has a voice, and everyone has something to say. And what I’m saying is more important than the acrobatics that I’m doing with my voice. So that’s why I haven’t done a show so far. But I think as I get older, I feel like my heart is more towards ministry. And I’m like, it is good exposure for me, talking about Jesus. So that would be my motivation if I did it.’
Rivah doesn’t plan to quit music anytime soon, but seeking God’s Kingdom and His righteousness will always be her first priority. ‘The more you’re in the music industry, the more you realise how fickle it is, and how much greater worshiping God with music is.’
The next step on her journey will be a move to New York, but though many of her trips there were inspired by musical opportunities, it was a church that made her want to stay. The first time she visited C3 NYC, she knew it was where God wanted her. ‘My heart is to go back, serve there and keep writing music.’
Rivah’s debut self-titled EP is out now. We can’t wait to hear what she does next.