Check out this Beamsville singer-songwriter's most recent release!
Riley Michaels is a pop/rock singer-songwriter who combines his blues rock, pop and funk influences to craft his unique style. The artist has garnered a strong listener base across Niagara, where he was raised in the small town of Beamsville, Ontario.
"It's a small community where everyone knows everyone, and I am so fortunate to have such a great group of supporters from my community," said Michaels. "For the most part, I perform all over Niagara at a lot of the various venues that reside there. Sometimes I venture my way into Hamilton and Toronto, but for now, Niagara is where my stage is. I am certainly a Niagara-based artist!"
Michaels describes his sound as a mixture of John Mayer, James Bay, Prince and the Jonas Brothers.
"I really enjoy writing songs that evoke feeling through the music itself, and not just the vocals," said Michaels. "I like to do this by playing emotive guitar solos, and even using instrument effects in songs that induce feelings of nostalgia or euphoria. Basically if you took John Mayer's guitar playing, Prince's energy and vibe, and the emotion of a vocalist like James Bay, you might find me in those lines." The musician began working on "Now I Know", his most recent single, in the spring of 2019.
"It all started with a drum beat and a bass line," said Michaels. "I had a few lines in the notes app on my phone, so I pulled content from there and then the song began to flow! As of late, I've been really inspired by synth-pop music as well as the classic synth-wave style from the mid-80s. I'm a huge Prince fan, so the use of synthesizers and electronic sounds were a must for this song. This song is the song I had envisioned to be the "song of the summer," because to me, this is the song I would want to blast on my radio while driving down the highway with the top down on your '76 Cadillac Eldorado into the sunset. This song oozes summer, and speaks to the dance club vibe, and I wanted to find a way to synthesize the two together to make something that everybody - no matter what type of music you like, would enjoy."
"Now I Know" is about recognizing the red flags of a toxic relationship.
"The song's message is simple, and it is upfront and bold - "Now I Know what not to do,"" said Michaels. "This is a song detailing a person who has had bad experiences with relationships, and now that person has a grip on their desires, and what they truly want out of a relationship with a person. They know the signs and the red flags now, and they are hell-bent on not making the same mistake twice. It's about giving your all, and only getting a little bit in return, and how unfair it is. It's a warning to not get too attached to this new love interest because you can see the red flags, and you don't want to get hurt again."
Michaels and his band recorded the single at Revolution Recordings in Downtown Toronto.
"I really wanted to put me and my band in a space that had all of the nicest vintage recording equipment, to the old analog Neve console, the old Studer A820 2" Reel-to-reel Tape Machine, and the gigantic tracking room that is inside of their Studio A," said Michaels. "It was a fantastic session, and we had fun not only making this song, but also 3 others - which you will hear eventually. There was really no downside to this approach of using this studio. It had the best equipment, the best sound, and it was easy to get tones dialed in and get a great sound out of the song!"
Michaels said the reactions he received to his single were "phenomenal".
"Everyone was so genuinely into the song and really enjoyed it," said Michaels. "It's being shared online like crazy now, and platforms like Spotify are starting to gain lots of streams for my song. Everyone has been so supportive of me and my journey to create music that I believe in, and that I enjoy myself. They believe in me, too."
The artist hopes to inspire his listeners to support more independent musicians.
"I hope that listeners who hear "Now I Know" continue to support independent music from musicians who are just trying to make music that makes others happy," said Michaels. "I have been so blessed to have been supported by my listeners so far, and I hope that every artist in their lifetime, no matter what type of music they make, feels the same kind of support and appreciation that I have felt. I mean, aside from the obvious message in the song, to not let yourself get swept under the rug by other people, I hope people take away the idea of support for hard working artists."
(Postponed due to COVID-19.)