Powerful Songstress Lumane Not Your Typical Pop Artist
“I want my songs to connect with listeners,” says River Iris. She was born in Japan and alternated annually between schools in South Carolina and California. While most ask if it was a difficult transition, River responds, “Overall, it sparked an appreciation for change in me that furthered my enchantment with the creative process, a place where I am free to be childlike and playful.”
River had a microphone in her hand at age 2 followed with formal voice training that began when she was 11 years old. At UC Berkeley, River received invaluable criticism and more opportunities to expand upon her creative process; learning to adapt, make changes, refine lyrics, and shift direction swiftly.
Upon graduating from UC Berkeley, River was able to backpack to many countries where she lived with locals— learning their cultures, customs, foods, and embracing the beauty of people from Europe to Asia to Australia and performing in local restaurants and bars along the way. River learned to appreciate how interwoven our lives are.
River worked diligently with a Grammy nominated producer to create what will be her first EP. The debut single from the EP, “Bet on Your Love” was released May 8, 2020. Releasing these tracks as a solo artist reaffirms the years of hard work constantly writing, practicing, and performing regularly in Phoenix, Arizona. For River, music is a universal language, a form of release, and a place of exhilaration; “I just can’t imagine doing anything else with my life.”
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MT: Who are some of your musical influences? When did you know music was your calling and when did you figure out why you needed to pursue music as your career?
River Iris: Some of my influences include Alicia Keys, Tori Kelly, Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, JoJo, Jessie J, Sara Bareilles…the list goes on! I’ve always known music was my calling. I remember as children they had us write down what we wanted to be when we grew up and my project said, “I want to be just like Britney Spears.”
MT: How long have you been singing and performing for?
River Iris: Singing since I was a child and performing since around age 11.
MT: Who do you enjoy listening to as a fan?
River Iris: I enjoy listening to my influences! I like to put on an album by one of my favorite female artists and just listen for several days. Lately I’ve got Tori Kelly’s album “Inspired by True Events” on repeat.
MT: When was your very first recording and release?
River Iris: My first recording as a solo artist was last year, and was just released this May 8 2020.
MT: You recently released your single “Bet On Your Love”. Can you explain how this more about the meaning of the song and how it ties into your music goals?
River Iris: “Bet on Your Love” is a soft pop ballad with a touch of whimsy and a heavy dose of emotion. I didn’t have any one love in mind when we were writing the song. It’s more of an expression of the feeling you have while reminiscing on a love that is both joyous and sad simultaneously. I hope it gives listeners a brief moment of nostalgia towards their own loves that may have come to a bittersweet end. In terms of my music goals, I want to continue creating songs like “Bet on Your Love” that connect with listeners, enabling them to express or let go of emotions as they need.
MT: You are now 28 years old and you wrote your first song when you were 13. Can you describe your current sound? Has your sound changed since you wrote your first song?
River Iris: My sound is pop with a touch of electronic influences. I’d like to continue narrowing my sound and pushing boundaries with bending genres together. By the way, the first song I wrote was absolutely terrible.
MT: Do you have a favourite performance to date and why?
River Iris: I wouldn’t say I have a favourite performance to date. The times I enjoy the most are when I am so lost in the music and performance that I just feel like I’m floating.
MT: What has been your biggest challenge in your music career so far? How did you overcome that obstacle?
River Iris: My biggest challenge has always been trusting myself and my vision for my career. I don’t think I’ve overcome it, I’m a work in progress, but aren’t we all?
MT: From what you have learned about your challenges in the music business, what advice would you like to give upcoming new artists?
River Iris: Put in the work–on your voice or instrument, on your song writing, on yourself (mentally and physically), on your performance skills. These are things I value highly and I’m constantly trying to improve.
MT: Besides singing, do you play any musical instruments? How long have you been playing them?
River Iris: Oh I dabble in guitar and piano but purely for song writing purposes.
MT: What’s a typical day for you? Do you work on your music every day? What other activities or hobbies besides music do you like to do that your fans may like to know about?
River Iris: Music is an everyday thing for me, whether it’s voice training, song writing, social media, photoshoots, rehearsals etc. Even on the weekends I tend to be extra responsive and active on my social media accounts. Other hobbies include absolutely ANYTHING creative (painting, sewing, baking, sculpting) soccer, the gym, video games, and swimming or hiking with my dogs.
MT: You had a new single come out Jul 3, 2020. What would you like fans to know about the meaning behind the music on your upcoming EP? Where can fans find your music when it is released?
River Iris: I write about everyday modern life. My upcoming release “So Tempting is an uptempo energetic dance tune. This song is about seeing through someone’s smoke and mirrors and fiercely saying, “No, not today.” It depicts a shady side of modern dating culture where people can ‘submarine’ each other easily with the help of technology, “vanishing without a trace and then, without warning, sliding back into your inbox like nothing ever happened.” You can find my music on all digital music stores and streaming platforms!
MT: Do you have any specific rituals or do anything specific before you head out on stage or even before you record your vocals in the studio?
River Iris: Hm.. I don’t think so! My only ritual is hydration. I am constantly drinking water.
MT: Do you have any up-coming performances you would like fans to know about? Is there anything else you would like to announce for your fans or anything you would like them to know?
River Iris: Nothing upcoming given the state of the world, but stay in the know by following my socials. I can’t wait to get back to performing.
LINKS TO RIVER IRIS BELOW
Bet Your Love with New Music and Interview from River Iris
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Links to RIVER IRIS
Bet Your Love with New Music and Interview from River Iris