Riell is an internationally touring and Top 40 charting Dance Pop artist, songwriter, and topliner from Canada. She has achieved over 15 Million streams on Spotify alone due to her toplining skills and collaborations with producers such as Egzod, Besomorph, and Unknown Brain.
Riell has charted over 65 times across North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa with her top track hitting #1 in Taiwan in the Electronic charts. Along with this, she has played dates across three international tours spanning Europe, Africa, Asia, and Canada.
We had the opportunity to chat with Riell about her single “Control Of Me”, her music video project and what’s next.
Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your single “Control Of Me”?
Riell: I wanted to explore a couple of themes in “Control of Me”, those being power dynamics and I guess what can be classified as a bit of stupidity when it comes to knowing better but doing different. I wrote “Control of Me” after a particularly toxic relationship where I knew better the whole time but I kept choosing to come back. I found it interesting that all I would have to do is walk away because I easily could have, but I just simply didn’t for the longest time. I knew I had the power to but I kept coming back trying to change things that clearly would never change.
Kat: Can you talk about your songwriting process, does it differ from song to song?
Riell: It differs quite a bit mainly on the project. For the collab work I do, I am usually given an instrumental track and in that case I think of a melody and then lyrics. For most of my co-writes, that seems to be the same: melody then lyrics. For my own stuff though, I almost always start with lyrics. My phone is full of random lyrics that pop into my head that I later turn into songs. Lately, I’ve been involving a lot of words maps into my songwriting process – where I write down single words or phrases or idea of things that interest and inspire me and go from there – as well as I recently created an inspo book of sorts. I printed my favorite art and glued it into this book and next to it I write my favorite lyrics other people have written and can then go into it for inspiration if I ever need to.
Kat: The ‘Control of Me’ video is the 2nd in a series of 5 connected videos filmed in Toronto, can you talk about the connection aspect, and the idea behind the project on a larger scale?
Riell: I really wanted this album to be a chapter of sorts. I wanted the overall album to have overlying themes and concepts so that when you look back on it, especially as I create more albums, you could see any visual or sound and be able to pin point what album/era of my career it’s from. I really love visuals, both video and art, so I wanted to do something that gave an alternate perspective to how you can look at the songs and realize how past lessons actually do have an impact on you moving forwards even when you think they’re unrelated or have no significance. The first videos are connected by the end of one being the start of the next. The videos contain flashbacks and foreshadows to other videos in the series and build off one another. The final video in the sequence loops back around and it adds clarity to the first videos by providing the motive behind the story as the last video is based in a childhood setting explaining why the other videos have come to be.
Kat: You’re currently working with popular EDM producers such as Egzod, Besomorph, and Unknown Brain, what have you learned from that process?
Riell: Some producers have been really great and have taught me about the technical side of audio engineering, both Unknown Brain and Egzod have helped me a lot with that and have answered questions for me as I learn and move into becoming a producer myself. I’ve learned how to communicate clearly and how important it is to accurately and respectfully get your intentions and ideas across to avoid problems. I’ve also learned how to stand up for myself and recognize the value of what I bring to the table. Egzod and Unknown Brain have always been great about fair treatment, but other producers sometimes are not so I’ve learned how to have confidence in my work and most importantly, being willing to walk away when I am being undervalued or mistreated which is a hard and scary lesson and concept to learn.
Kat: What’s next?
Riell: I have 3 remaining videos and singles before the full album, PARADISE, is released later this year. I will continue to release collabs, but I will be focusing on creating more solo music and visuals with my upcoming album and the albums to follow. I’ve recently filmed a ton of acoustic videos that I will be posting on my Youtube Channel, and I’m just super excited to continue to build and see where this takes me.
For more on Riell, visit: https://www.iamriell.com