Tell us about your career, including your history, where you are from and how you started?
My earliest memories of being drawn into music have to be around 6 or 7 years old. One always stood out to me and that was when I found my old man’s Slim Shady LP stuffed in our old junk drawer. I had a speech impediment through my childhood so trying to grasp how someone spoke so fluently was definitely difficult.
I grew up in a small town called Amherstburg. It was a very country/farm life driven society so the music likeness followed suit. Growing up my grandparents would play a lot of country legends like Johnny Cash, George Jones, Reba etc. I always had an appreciation for the heart and soul those people put into the music they created but I didn’t relate to it as much as I did rap. It all came down to the poetry and word play in the end.
Tracks like C.R.E.A.M and Shook Ones Part 1 and 2 showed me that some people have to play a dangerous game to obtain a decent life. Other tracks from different genres like No Rain or Something in the Way showed me that same pain and internal struggle but displayed it in a completely different way. All with the general theme of playing the hand you are dealt to the best of your ability. I think every young individual should have the opportunity to achieve success in life so if I can inspire that with my words, it is my obligation to do so in my opinion.
How did you come up with your name?
My artist/stage name is a ri13. My given name is Riley so that’s where the “ri” originated from as well as it defines my personality. I’m a very sporadic/jittery individual by definition so it just made sense at the time.
As for the thirteen, it has always been a number that was around in my life. It was my grandma’s favourite number and since the general population believes in the bad luck behind it, I pushed against the stigma and fell in love with the number. I played baseball and hockey growing up as well and thirteen was always the go to.
I chose to be a solo act with that name because I didn’t have any connections in music at the time other than my engineer (@liam.the.engineer on Instagram).
Do you have any recorded music available for fans?
Yes, I have music recorded in a couple studios. I was under another artist name for a while to find the sound I wanted until I solidified “ri13” in late 2020 with my first single under that name “Woah Remix” which came out May 2021 independently. From there I made a couple singles with a feature from my boy Psychotic out in Windsor (@emceepsychotic on all platforms).
I put out a mix tape titled “Beautifully Sad” in June of 2022 with a 8 song track list. Ranging from an acoustic ballad to my mom about addiction to an upbeat pop track at the end talking about where I am at with loving myself and the people around me.
In August 2022, I released a 3 song EP titled “Happily Depressed” which gave me a little more traction on TikTok and YouTube. On that EP is my personal favourite song “i’m still here” which is on all platforms along with a music video shot by @amovisuals on all platforms.
How would you describe your music?
I believe my greatest attribute in music is simplicity. My lyrics will always be my strong suit so fine tuning the balance of poetry with enough musical progression to keep you in that frame of mind but not enough to take away from the lyrics will always be my number one priority. Kurt Cobain is a prime example of that for me.
What makes your music stand out from the others?
My lyricism and overall persona will help me stand out in the industry. Most of the time you will catch me in baggy sweats and a crew neck with my hair tied up under a baseball cap. That’s what keeps me comfortable enough to put all my emotions on the line for people to critique so that’s how I shaped my wardrobe. That along with my knack for doing what I need to do to get that right take bleeds into the music. It’s all real events or raw thoughts running through my mind at any given time with little sound bites scattered from each session along the track. When I write, I give myself completely to the music to delete my ego and pride. It’s my team and I against the sound spectrum so that type of ‘ish stays at the door.
What do you like to do outside of music that contributes to your music?
I have a very physical job outside of music and I regularly go to the gym to keep my mentality and physicality at the levels I need to make the best music I possibly can. It helps me maintain relationships both in and out of music as well.
To keep my focus on music progression, I observe and study a lot when I’m not in the studio. It ranges from interview tactics and the psychology behind it to overall sound design and how to implement it in different spaces. Before all this, I was going to enroll in Child Psychology and even received my acceptance letter but under the circumstances at that time, I didn’t accept the offer and just kept studying independently. It helps you navigate life a lot easier when you can read a situation and see the pattern of outcomes.
Name your two biggest musical influences and why?
I don’t have a top list really. I’ve never really thought of a top list of influences on my music to be honest. People compare me to other artists which is part of the life but in my eyes, I have always been able to see the person behind the credentials so I just focused on the words and learn from their actions. I listen to all genres so I get my influence from everywhere. There is always a story that breaks about your favourite icon that either elevates their statues or diminishes it so I don’t bother with the image. Characters wear masks but you can’t replicate true emotion. Now more than ever, we have individuals in the lime light with no value for their fans that create an influence and it’s not right.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?
I have written every piece of material I have put out with the exception of minor word changes from peers for a more seamless production. My main themes have always been family, past trauma and the elevation out of that mindset. The feeling ranges from happy and upbeat to sad and more slowed at any given time but the ideas and key components of the tracks all stay the same.
What has been your biggest musical challenge? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so how?
My speech impediment and overall lack of a music scene in my hometown growing up have been the biggest challenges. Even now I regularly ask people if they know anyone wanting to get into or already have been into music and if they would collaborate on a project but most of the time, it’s a hard no. Other times its someone signed and they just don’t message back.
I’ve overcame most of my challenges and looking back now, it helped build my character and kept me hungry and humble enough to keep making more goals.
What current projects are you working on at the moment?
Currently, I am working on a few singles with features from artists ranging across Canada and the US to keep my skills and work flow consistently progressing. If you’re not learning, you’re not living so working with as many artists as possible to create quality music and create those relationships along the way is something I want to do for a very long time.