A Conversation with Riley
By: Siri Svay
It takes a special kind of talent to attract the attention of Elton John and his management company. Music sensation, Riley is that kind of artist. She recently spoke exclusively to The Looking List about the creative process, her early years, the present and her hopes for the future.
The Early Years
You’re currently in Cumming, GA. Is there a difference in scene from Atlanta?
"Well I never lived in Atlanta, I've always lived in cumming but yes it's a different scene by far. It's much more low key"
Tell us about the early years when you were living in Atlanta, GA.
"Well, I did a lot of gymnastics/cheerleading in my younger years, I didn't really start getting serious into music until I was about 9 or 10."
What first inspired you to pursue music?
"My grandma did music and I guess it sort of just got passed down :) "
How long have you been singing?
"Probably since I was about 13! "
How did you get your first big break in the industry as an artist?
" A producer, Matt Still, of Elton's found me on YouTube when I was about 13 or 14! "
Who are your musical influences?
"Jojo, Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, Jhene Aiko, Taylor Swift are a good bunch of inspirations I have."
You received the prestigious Bill Lowery Horizon Award. How did you feel to be honored by the GA Music Hall of Fame?
" It was such an amazing experience. it was also one of the best nights and performances I've had yet! I absolutely loved it!.."
The Creative Process
You sing, play piano, and play guitar. Are there any other instruments you play?
Nope just those two!..
You’ve stated that you write about what’s real in your life. Explain to us what your writing process is. How do you translate your emotions into your music?
" I honestly don't really know how to explain it, it's just like writing poems with melodies and It just comes out how I'm thinking in my head. I try to convert the thoughts I have into something poetic to where people like the way it sounds but also relate to what it's saying :).."
Like many other artists, you've used Garage Band initially to write songs. How was it? Do you think it’s a great place to start as an artist?
"Of course, it's a really great and easy to figure out tool that came in handy a lot when I was younger"
Your songs are incredibly catchy. Are any of them made with Garage Band? If not, who did you work on them with?
"Honestly, to tell you about all the people I've written with over the last couple years, we'd be here all day haha. Some of the people I've recently worked with are Ambiance, JR Rotem, A few of the guys over at disturbing the peace, and Nash Overstreet!."
You have a good presence on YouTube making covers and collaborating with other YouTube musicians such as Macy Kate – loved your “Summertime Sadness” cover by the way. How much importance does YouTube play in your career?
"It helps build a larger fan base and gives you a way to connect with your fans via videos and such, it's a great tool and it's great exposure."
How is it being so young and traveling on tour? What’s the experience like?
"I actually have never been on Tour..there is a possibility of a fall tour coming up, and I'm hoping it works out"
What is a typical day like for you? Walk us through a 24 hour period/day.
"Hmm..I usually head to the gym, come home, maybe do shopping or run some errands, if I don't have musical obligations that day, after that I'll usually just chill with friends, go out to eat, see a movie, the usual :) "
When you’re not working on music, what do you like to do in your free time?
"Basically everything I just listed in the last question! "
Who are you currently working with (artists, songwriters, producers, collaborators, etc.)?
"I mentioned some of them earlier in this interview. Honestly there's just so many that it would be hard to list them."
You’re currently under Elton John’s management RocketMusic. How is it working with a Legend and his team? How much does your team play a part in your success?
"He's really great, and so is the rest of the team. They've help set up a lot of amazing things over the past couple years and they're so supportive."
Who is on your team and how important are they to you in regards to your overall success?
"Well my manager Jon, and Rocket of course. My dad helps out a lot setting equipment up and booking shows. My attorney Rush helps with contracts and etc. And there's quite a lot more people that are just really helping to get me where I want to be!"
You recently signed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV. Tell us about that. How did it feel to join forces with them?
" It's so weird to be like yeah I signed with Sony! like they're such a huge company it's just kind of surreal but it's so awesome! "
What is “next” for Riley
"Hopefully some released music and an album :).."
Who do you want to work with in the future one day?
"Of course, any of the ladies I listed in the last question..Miguel would be cool to work with, Chris Brown, the band Parachute, and Iggy Azalea.."
Where do you ultimately want to be later on in your career? What’s your end goal.
"Traveling, releasing my music, and hopefully just being successful in the business."
Tell us one thing that no one else knows about you?
"One day, I really want to take classes or maybe even visit a school where you learn to do makeup really well and learn the techniques that people who do makeup professionally know".
Any shout-outs to anyone?
"Shout out to my friends for keepin it real, my boyfriend for being supportive, my dad for always helping out, and my manager. hahaha.."
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