Jermaine Riley - Interview
You guys may know the R&B singer Jermaine Riley best as part of the boy band Fundamental a few years back. Now split from the group, Jermaine has been plugging his trade and has gathered up many bright connections to make his prodigious album 'Hello Earth'. Released in January, Jermaine has already notched up over 80,000 downloads. If you still haven't got yourself a copy, follow the links at the bottom of the screen (it's free!!!).
In the meantime, Jermaine Riley talks to MOBO.com about his new material and who he thinks will be big this year.
Are you working with any of the other boy’s (from former band Fundamental) on their projects?
Nah, I've heard good things in regards to their projects though. They're doing their individual things.
It sounds like you have been busy this past year what have you been up to?
Just been giving my heroes what they want really; I put out a mixtape, an album, a couple videos and I'm just grinding away, building awareness for my artistry. It's been going great. I'm learning a lot in the process too.
Who are your influences?
Growing up, mainly Michael Jackson, Usher, Boyz II Men, Brandy, Mary J. Blige and Whitney Houston. Nowadays I'm influenced by so many different artists. I love absorbing new music and discovering different vibes. I'm a huge fan of Drake, Ed Sheeran, Adele, Jhene Aiko, Frank Ocean and Lianne La Havas right now. Influenced by their great song writing and melodies.
What do you think of about the music scene in the UK at the moment?
I think it's beautiful. It's so lush and so many great acts are coming through. It's exciting to see/hear.
Do you plan on going back to crack the US?
I plan on going wherever my music will take me. America will be on the list no doubt, but right now I'm still building. I'm in no rush if I'm honest. All in God's time. I pray that's written in the stars for me.
Your brother is also a great singer does music run in the family?
As far as me and my brother go... then it stops. Hahaha! As a matter of fact, David and Michael Milliner from the UK group The Pasadenas are our 2nd cousins, and they were making moves in the 80's so I guess we aren't the first pair of brothers to be doing this.
He also appears on your album Hello Earth alongside Mark Asari, Donaeo, Cherri V and Lioness. How did the collaborations come about?
I just asked them straight up to be a part of the album. It's a blessing that they all wanted to be down. Everyone did an amazing job. I'm really proud of the album.
How was the recording process for Hello Earth?
Pretty organic. I recorded whatever came natural to me. That's generally how I write. I don't like to overthink lyrics and melodies. The whole album, aside from a couple of the featured verses, was recorded on my mac in my bedroom. I learned a lot about myself and I think I grew a bit vocally and writing wise during the recording process. I'm thankful to all the artists and producers who got involved.
You used to be a part of the writing collective ‘The Write House’ are you all still together?
Nah, everyone's doing their individual things and it didn't really get off the ground, although we still work together outside of it being labeled "Write House" stuff. Like, both Mark and Cherri are on my album and Harmony produced 2 tracks on it, which are both singles. When it was supposed to pop off, we got signed in the states and it really took us away from all the creative vibes we started. We were still writing on H's beats and co-writing for other acts but it just wasn't the same with us being so far away.
How did you get into graphic design?
I just started designing flyers for the group I was in during college. Playing around with pics and logos in photoshop and it just grew from there. I really REALLY got into during the MySpace wave when a lot of people and artists were asking me to design their profile pages. I've been graphic designing doing for years now. It's my little self-taught side-hustle. Haha! I'm happy that I'm able to design all my own artwork.
Why do you call yourself Superman?
It's a nickname I was given and it stuck. My thing is changing Superman images I find to look like me, with the part in the hair and everything. I'd like to think with everything I've done creatively, I'm deserving of the title. I think anyone would be hard pressed to dispute it after listening to my album and previous mixtapes. Hahaha! That's my thing.
If you had any special powers what would they be?
Flight is a must and I wish I could control people's minds like Professor X... that would be fun.
As an artist where are you at right now?
I'm in a great place. I feel like I know myself and I'm getting better and better with each project. I love being creative so I have a lot of fun being artistic and it's therapeutic for me to make music and visual art. Music gets me through a lot.
Do you feel you have grown in the past few years?
Most definitely! I've become a better singer, song writer and vocal arranger over the past few years. Being in FDM, working with Harmony and Dready as well as other great producers, recording a whole bunch in the states, being under Ne-Yo's mentorship during 2009, writing my brother's mixtapes and penning my own mixtapes and album has all helped me grow as an artist.
What do you think of Angel, Talay Riley & Loick Essien?
I think they're all amazingly talented. I'd love to work with each of them, hopefully real soon.
Who do you see yourself working with in the future?
I definitely want to work with Ed Sheeran. Like I said, I'm a huge fan and I love his melodies and style of writing. Frank Ocean too, we definitely need to reconnect. I'm so proud of everything he's achieved and I want to do a lot more with Cherri V. She's amazing and deserves a lot more credit for her talent. That'll happen soon, trust me. I want to collaborate with more producers and up and coming talent.
In 5 years where do you want to be?
On vacation in a hot country, after a couple successful years of making music, mentally prepping for my next album. I want to be writing for a whole bunch of other acts all over the world. Something like a Ne-Yo or an R&B Gary Barlow, hahaha! I've got a long way to go but it's not impossible at all.
Who do you think will take this year’s best newcomer at the MOBO Awards?
Lianne La Havas... she's one of the best artists in the UK. The world even. In my humble opinion. She's so incredible live! It's a bit early in the year so Angel is the only other artist I can think of who's worthy of snagging that award. He's so dope to me, definitely want to get him on my next album. Fingers crossed.
Interviewed by: Ponciano Junior
Jermaine Riley's "Hello Earth" album free download: http://bit.ly/zlAFdD
Key To The City Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pS0_ccDIVdY&sns=em
Jermaine Riley "Climax" (Usher refix) Free Download: http://t.co/nq8mr3sf