UK R&B singer and songwriter Jermaine Riley has been making noise in the industry since 2003 since being apart of the trio FDM (Fundamental), and since the groups disbandment he’s been trying to make waves as a solo artist. To go with his powerful music career, Riley is also a multi-faceted artist when it comes to multimedia. He has executive produced a number of videos and documentaries, written and produced all of his own records, and he also has a double life as a creative graphic designer, creating all the material for all of his own works. He has toured with the likes of Omarion, 112, Sisqo and Nelly and also signed a record deal with Geffen/Interscope Records and Ne-Yo’s Compound Entertainment. But in 2012 he became a certified independent solo artist, and has had cultivated hits all over the world, not to mention over 150,000+ downloads of his tracks, a nationwide Japanese release of his albums, and has had his videos premiere on the highly popular American show BET 106 & Park.
Like many budding artists, Riley grew up being inspired by many R&B artists but his biggest hero was none other then the King Of Pop Michael Jackson. In many interviews Riley has always said how he spent hours in front of the TV emulating the late icon “I wouldn’t go anywhere without my white socks and black plimsoles, it didn’t matter what else I was wearin,” he says on his website jermaineriley.com. “I wanted to be him.” In 2006 Jermaine Riley and the trio of Fundamental (aka FDM) was born and they enjoyed some success with the singles “Jump” and “Playground”, and earned nominations for numerous awards (a MOBO nomination for ‘Best Newcomer’ and three UMA nominations).
Today Riley has established an ever growing solo career executive producing, writing, arranging, mixing and engineering all his own projects. Becoming the self proclaimed Superman of UK R&B, Riley has created a series of vibrant stories and conceptual creativity come to life on previous mixtapes and albums of his own including Goodbye Krypton (2008), Nine Ten Eleven : The Refixes (2011), Hello Earth (2012) and Ten Eleven Twelve (2012). But how did this self proclaimed Superman earn his nickname? Well it was something he earned during his graphic design days, and changed a Superman image to look like himself and put it up on his MySpace account with his music, and it stuck. “…he deals with the same day to day stuff we do but also the pressures his gifts and talents bring.” he told Pride Magazine.
With Riley being able to touch our souls with his amazing works, you almost have to wonder who it is that are the artists that do that for him. In an interview with earlier this year he shed some light on that saying “A lot of people know Usher’s another one of my main influences, and I’m a huge Drake fan. But I’m also feeling the likes of Ed Sheeran, Adele, Emeli Sande, Frank Ocean. And I’m in love with newer artists like Etta Bond, Lianne La Havas and Jhene Aiko. I’ve been absorbing a lot of Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway of recent too. All of the above are fairly soulful come to think of it, like, you can really feel their music. That’s how I want to be.”
Jermaine Riley has done a countless amount of covers of some of his favorite songs from artists that inspire him, but he’s created his own sound that he refers to as a ‘Refix’. He’s covered artists like Chris Brown, Labrinth, Tinie Tempah, Drake and many more. Now Jermaine Riley has now released his highly anticipated “The Cape Tape : Lost Sessions”. This release is a little different from a lot of his previous works, but it still has the Jermaine Riley vibe that makes it so satisfying. The production is a lot different as were given a sound that is much more darker than what we tend to expect from the singer. There is a spark of brightness though once were exposed to the pace of the track combined with Riley’s incredible vocals. The tempo seems to switch between up-tempo and mid-tempo depending on the section of the album.
“The Cape Tape” is his most creative project to date and was dubbed the savior to UK R&B music. Tapping into his unique ability of arranging and reworking music, Jermaine Riley has delivered yet another innovative project that gets better and better after each listen. The tape is yet again another auto-biographical piece of work that tell some great stories of empowerment, love, life and everything in between. One thing that we think other singers should take note of is how Riley translates his trap singing style into something that works for him. Rather than stick to the usual monotone sound with hardly any variation. He gives his verses a couple of scales in range which manages to make the songs a lot more melodic, enabling him to use this modern style to his advantage. It makes the track stand out in a way that it would not have otherwise and makes you keep listening to hear how the transitions play out.
For anyone that hasn’t heard of Jermaine Riley you’re missing out. But whats even more incredible is you can expose yourself to his music for free, as all his albums and mixtapes are available for download via his bandcamp. So what does the future hold for Jermaine Riley well he answered that himself in an interview with mobo.com saying “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.”