Singer songwriter Ria Jade came back from depression to follow her passion- singing. (Photo: riajade.com)

B.C.

The woman who was saved by her voice

By Ted Alcuitas

She is Ria Jade to her fans – a singer-songwriter with a beautiful voice.

In real life, she is Maria Paula Nina, the youngest of two daughters to Jackie and Raffy Diy. She has an elder sister Deanne.

This year marks her fourth year of recovery from an eating disorder.

She turned 22 this month and to honour her birthday, she asked friends to donate to Looking Glass Foundation for Eating Disorders.

In her Facebook post, she revealed that weight has always been a significant part of her life – she was excluded by society for being overweight and for struggling with anorexia nervosa as a teenager. 

According to Wikepedia, “Anorexia nervosa, often referred to simply as anorexia is an eating disorder, characterized by low weight, food restriction, fear of gaining weight, and a strong desire to be thin. Many people with anorexia see themselves as overweight even though they are, in fact, underweight.”

While she was able to recover, she thinks of “others who are still struggling and a percentage of beautiful souls who no longer walk among us after losing their battles to their eating disorders.”

It has been a long journey for Ria who was bullied from a young age because of her weight and later as a teen because of her anorexia.

After several years of not wanting to speak about her struggles, Jade eventually opened up to a school counsellor about her challenges, and later met with psychiatrists, she told CBC in an interview.

Eventually she  got the courage to share more of her struggles with her family, and also met with doctors and psychiatrists. 

But she struggled through with the help of many people most especially her own family who stood by her all throughout.

The Family behind Ria Jade: (from left)Mom, Jackie, sister Deanne and dad Raffy and Ria. (Facebook)

Together with her mother Jackie, she shared her story in a  CBC episode, Age of Anxiety in 2015.

Today she is a successful songwriter and singer with many songs to her credit including several awards from the music industry.

Among them:

2017 Winner, Canadian Songwriting Competition – Rock Category

2017 Winner Best Music Video and Best Canadian Short ‘Snowflakes’ Our Voice Film Festival.

2017 Best Young Actress – Web Host Performer, The Young Entertainer Awards (USA)

2015 Musician of the Year Award, permanent Rain Press

2016 Best Sound and Music (Snowflakes), Reel to Reel Music Festival

Ria also runs her own TV Show on Shaw Channel 116 – EveRIAthing which she co-founded in 2013. Starting as a talk show it is  now a platform showcasing people, events and stories.

No regrets

“I want to be able to live my life with no regrets,” she said in the CBC interview.

“I don’t want to be sitting at home, 20, 30 years from now, wondering, ‘What if I actually did something when I was younger? What if I wasn’t afraid to leave the house to do a gig, or what if I actually did write that song?’”

Jade, who is also a motivational speaker, wants others suffering with anxiety to know that they can, and should, speak to someone about it and get the help they need.

“Everything is always scary at first, but it’s kind of like learning to walk, or learning to ride a bike: you have to start somewhere, and then as soon as you can stand on two feet you can take on the world.”

Her songs are available through YouTube and her website: https://riajade.com/