SEARCH FOR: RILEY THE MUSICIAN

Get Refreshed: The Story of Cartz

“Get Refreshed” is a weekly column by Billy Bugara covering all things digital in the music world. Refresh yourself here.  Cover by Alejo Andres Remembering To Forget With Cat Mother Any creative eager to move towards new beginnings in their artistic career might focus on the idea of the “future” more than anything else. Most creatives would more than likely share this belief in full; planning out how things might turn out in going through with an artistic transition is much better than going in blind, obviously.  But what’s even more obvious is this: Quinn – the 16-year-old phenom of the online music world – has never, and will never, be classified under the title of “most creatives.” Simply put, we’re dealing with a talent who stands completely amongst themselves in regards to their place in the modern music landscape as a whole, and nothing better exemplifies that than their brand new artistic endeavor under the pseudonym “Cat Mother.”  This fresh title has arrived with an equally-fresh outlook in regards to their craft. The immense, impactful, and influential waves that they have already created with their past pop-centric work has been effectively concealed and placed out of sight by way …

ALONE – [CMTEN] x [Riley The Musician]

Regardless of how limitless the scope of pop music has grown over recent times, its defining core aspects will always remain true and apparent in the best modern examples that this genre has in store. When it comes down to it, all it takes is a convincingly memorable performance that grips a wide variety of listeners in via a track’s addictive and returnable nature to make a pop song that works as it should. Infusing it with those modern stylistics, however, is where this contemporary age shines brightest. And with that being said, no two acts have proven to take the baseline standards of pop and have elevated them as effectively in full than CMTEN and Riley The Musician — two acts who come from differing backgrounds with equally-distinct styles to their name, but without question the exact same mindset when it comes to communicating these aforementioned concepts.  Their shared outlook shines so brightly on their latest collaborative effort in “ALONE,” a single that stands for so much despite being one of the most baseline examples of how to make modern online-centric pop music work as best as it can. These two use all the passionate and learned energy in …

Iced Out – [Riley The Musician]

Riley The Musician certainly isn’t defined by any particular sound or style; the Kansas City pop phenom has actually worked to sonically diversify himself on repeated occasions throughout his still-young career. Whether that is through integrating some nuanced and popular pop stylistics into his most recent project “Ana Kennedy,” or through simply always looking towards the next step as a completely forward-thinking figure, Riley has simply always been one to never let the idea of consistency get in the way of innovation. But even with all that being said, perhaps no one could have predicted what a departure his most recent single “Iced Out” has turned out to be compared to the rest of his discography. This song relates to almost none other in his catalog of roughly 2 years, as it is something of an enormous contrast to his typically delightful and enlightening pop stylistics.  It truly is anything but that aforementioned description, as it takes the arguably the roughest, abrasive, and destructive side of Riley’s musicality and puts it on full display. It takes the listener through a bevvy of ear-bleeding sounds that range from pure distortion to warped and edgy samples of some sort, practically creating a …

Ana Kennedy – [RILEY THE MUSICIAN]

The magic of RILEY THE MUSICIAN – and more specifically, his most recent project Ana Kennedy – is twofold: relatable and aspirational. As most great and therefore, lasting music tends to do, Riley’s new, 7-track project not only possesses the sonic intimacy to speak eye-to-eye with its listener, but also offers enough emotional complexity to create a sense of shared aspiration between the two (artist and listener). They’re not spoon-fed and they’re not always explicit, but these intangible qualities shine through in more detailed parts of the project’s fabric: the warmth in the melodies of “Nineteen,” the in-the-moment charm of “Railroad,” and even the transparency in the project’s rollout, specifically shown through this “making of ‘Nineteen’” TikTok. Riley’s art is just as much a reflection of his own thoughts and experiences as it is a mirror for listeners to look through, and as such, it feels less like listening to a distant figure make sounds and more like listening to a friend share stories, thoughts, and emotions. This comfortability is the basis of the project’s appeal, while the sense of “aspiration” is created largely through its sound; bright, vast (I hope this makes sense), and more than anything, affirming. Ana Kennedy packs a whole …

NINETEEN – [RILEY THE MUSICIAN]

Speaking to artists, I’ve heard several different opinions on what it looks like when you know you’re onto something. One, in particular, that I’ve always found interesting is that when you can look back on your work from one year prior and still be proud, impressed, or even excited about it. The one-year mark highlights a certain benchmark of longevity that all great art has to cross at one point or another, and in many ways, it circumvents a struggle that many artists go through of hating past work that some early-stage fans might love – a blessing and a curse that in some cases, can add difficulty to the transition that comes with growth. I say all this to say that RILEY THE MUSICIAN is in a unique case, opposite to the aforementioned struggle. With very few other artists have I seen such a high level of artistic integrity and quality so early on in their career, from the music itself all the way down to the visuals, whether it be overall aesthetic or even the most minute details of typefaces, cohesivity, etc. RILEY’s latest release – “NINETEEN,” and its accompanying music video – support this statement. Released as …

Blush – [Damon Rush]

In the age of accessibility, the fact of the matter is that kids in their bedrooms all over the world are mastering skills in music without any formal education. Hit songs and star artists can come from any direction, and these artists surely aren’t waiting for access to professional studios to make their music. One artist exemplary of such is Damon Rush; an LA-based talent whose eye for aesthetics and hand for production are amongst the best I’ve come across in quite some time – even as he records in a home studio, and sometimes, in his car. Today, making his Lyrical Lemonade debut, we’re here to revisit Rush’s thrilling single, “Blush,” self-produced with the help of Riley The Musician. 2 minutes and 42 seconds in length, “Blush” doesn’t waste a second of time. Every moment is packed with high-octane, electronic production and feverish energy, introducing sonics reminiscent of early 2010s pop in its fervent, left-of-center sound. Between this aesthetic base and Rush’s penchant for taking sharp turns throughout the song, “Blush” creates a sense of feeling and image much larger than the sum of its parts, refusing to look back after the initial beat drop at the 55-second mark. …