INTERVIEW: River Nelson
Hi River, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’m wonderful. Thanks for asking. Excited about the new album and eager for everyone to hear it. Glad to to be chatting with you.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Today”?
Sure. It’s a song about someone who’s been working towards a particular goal for a long time, and one day they feel more hopeful than usual that their plans will come to fruition. But that hopefulness is also filled with an anxiousness, because that person has been working towards their dream for so long and it’s been an up and down battle.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I can’t say there was one in particular. I think throughout the years of making music, or pursuing any passion professionally, you have those days that you really hope your big break will come or you’ll be rewarded for all the hard work you’ve put in. So I would say those kind of feelings inspired the song.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
We’re actually shooting the video in a couple of days and I’m really excited about it. The director has some wonderful ideas and the crew has been hard at work getting all of the stars aligned. I’ll keep the details of the video under wraps for now, so I don’t give anything away. But I can’t wait to see all of the ideas come to life.
The single comes off your new album Power, Resilience and Joy – what’s the story behind the title?
A long time ago I thought that ‘Power,’ ‘Resilience’ and ‘Joy’ are three things that I would love to maintain on a consistent basis, and I wrote poems and songs around those words for years. So I thought it would be a fitting title for this particular project.
How was the recording and writing process?
I enjoyed it so much that I was a little sad when it was over. But that’s usually the case with every album that I write and record. There were some days were I’d pretty much write from morning until night. This is also the first album I wrote and recorded solely in California, as opposed to New York, the Washington D.C. area or London, where I’ve written and recorded in the past. So that was also a fun and unique experience.
What was it like to work with K-Murdock and how did that relationship develop?
K-Murdock is always a joy to work with. He’s incredibly talented and his ear is impeccable. He produced a track on the album called “Longer Than Always” which I love, and he mixed the album as well.
The way we met is, a few years ago, K was working an album called ‘#Net-Works’ and a guy name Patrick from the company that put the album out reached out to me and asked if I wanted to be a part of it. So I went to K’s house, and we recorded a song called ‘Good For Tomorrow,’ which ended being the first single on his project.
How much did he get to influence the album?
I would say he influenced it on the mixing end, because he’s also a top notch engineer.
How Common and Talib Kweli has influence your writing?
I’ve listened to those guys a lot and they’ve provided a lot of inspiration over the years. Common’s album ‘Be’ is one of the most beautiful hip-hop albums ever.
What role does NYC play in your music?
It’s where I got my start as a musician, and at this point of my life I’ve lived there the longest. So I think my music is influenced by its energy, it’s grit, and the overall beauty of the city. But I’ve lived in other places as well and have been inspired by those areas too. I guess I’ve been fortunate enough to live in different cities throughout my life, absorb the culture there and then be able to put it into music.
How do you get to balance your classic roots with the much modern hip hop sounds?
I study and learn from the newest of hip-hop acts, just like I learn from the legends. So by doing that I think it keeps me abreast of how hip-hop and music changes. So I adapt to some of those changes, but I still do what comes natural and feels right.
What aspect of joy and power did you get to explore on this record?
It was joyful writing the album, because writing songs is the only time in my day that I can get lost in my thoughts and really hone in on what I think and feel about something. The power aspect came from being able to battle through those things in life that can distract you from your art, so I could finish the album.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
I would say just living life and paying attention to how I feel, how others feel, what I see, what I go through, what others go through. And then putting all of that into the album.
Any plans to hit the road?
Absolutely. We’re figuring out which cities, countries and dates right now. It’s something that I’ll share much sooner than later
What else is happening next in River Nelson’s world?
Just continuing to write songs and get the word out about the new album. We’re in the process of selecting the next single as well, then we’ll be shooting the video for it. From there, show rehearsals and then I’ll hit the road.
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