Updated: Mar 13
Photos by @nvr.jose , Jose Castillo, Video by Vidhu Kota
“...I wanted to specifically create a ride that I thought would last forever.”
RIZ LA VIE returned home to Brooklyn, New York on Sunday, February 26th for the performance of his debut album tour, The World Could Be A Haven. A hometown show on his birthday marked a particularly special stop on tour for the young artist. I got the pleasure of sitting down with RIZ shortly before his showtime to discuss his album, the energy he felt within and throughout, and the ride that he has been experiencing since the release of his debut tour. I asked RIZ how it felt to be back where it all started, in New York City:
“It feels relaxing… it feels invigorating.”
“It’s extremely comfortable. Tonight’s gonna be really good.”
What are you most excited about tonight?
“I’m just excited to play the songs… like, put a little bubble of energy above the crowd, you know? Hopefully, it feels like the static that makes your hair stand up.”
RIZ fell nothing short of delivering a performance that was packed with energy, emotion, and connection. Throughout his set, RIZ touched on all the different energies that were running wild amongst the crowd. Tracks from his debut album and deep cuts from his original EP’s brought together the artist’s story right in the place where it all started:
“I wanted this to feel like a meal. So I don't want you to just be eating vegetables the whole time, you know, I want you to have things to choose from and go back to and have seconds off and let it be like a full-spectrum-palette. And also, just a little taste of everything, you know? I didn’t dive too deep into any of these worlds that I live in, but I did try to bring the universe together, like, all the solar systems of it…”
So, what was the incentive for putting out more music? You said you have a lot that people haven’t heard and this project is longer, what made you take that extra step?
“So, Haven is like the third eye chakra, the brow chakra, and it's supposed to be everything that you envision or everything that you’re seeing and I was just seeing a lot of things and I wanted to show what I was envisioning, and what I was seeing and so… yea, kind of just in case I’m not here anymore, I just wanted to have it there, get it out. That’s what music, art is to me, just expression, just to make sure it’s not in my head.”
Ever since he surfaced in the music industry, RIZ has been proving that there is a lot of creative depth to the art he creates. RIZ's music is a vulnerable, personal expression and reflection of himself and his story. Despite being his own, his creations have resonated with many people who have shared similar experiences of feeling lost or trying to better understand the world we live in:
“I find that in creating, the most intimate things I've put into music become the things that people feel the closest with. The things that I think no one will understand or relate to are the words that they yell back at me. Like:
'she said I prayed for your vocal cords, it’s no easy job to connect such a hectic heart with such a heavy head...'
It’s specifically about my vocal cords and my mom’s prayer for my vocal cords, but those are the lyrics that people are singing back really loud. So, I have faith that like, okay, if I do that for this whole record it might feel really personal, it might feel really one-of-one, but I think everyone is one-of-one and I think everyone can experience that for themselves.”
In a recent interview, Matty Healey from The 1975 was talking about his intention with his music versus the interpretation that his fans get from it and how he’s been surprised by how his songs resonate with people, where it wasn’t in his original intention until it kind of comes to light. Have you experienced that wave of interpretation and intention, and if so in what realm?
“Every day. Yea, you know, you don’t really send out a little paragraph of what the song means every time you make a song, you just put out the song. So, to hear people come back and say ‘this is what this meant to me, this is what this means to me,’ that’s entirely different every time, you’re just like, ‘Holy shit! I don’t even know how you saw that, but I love that you did.’ ”
It has been evident that with each project RIZ releases, there is a common connection between the titles, starting with Found., Keep., Breathe., and Feed. I asked RIZ where Haven falls into this puzzle he’s been putting together along his journey, with which he shared that Haven is the “penultimate piece to the puzzle,” and his next project will be the finale to completing the chakra system. From there, RIZ shared his excitement to pursue the blueprint of projects he has in his head while ‘doing it in a way that’s in line with his present self.’ The perspective RIZ LA VIE has toward the art he makes is deeply intentional, spiritual, and inspired. Where this kind of artistic drive came from can come down to one person: RIZ LA VIE’s mother.
“...I wouldn’t even be here without her, I mean for sure literally, but I just mean in terms of continuation of the craft and she’s taught me a lot about the process. A lot of people know that I’m really close to her, but they don’t really know why, that like, she’s an artist and she paints and I’ve watched her spend like thirteen hours bent over a painting, painting these huge ten-foot by ten-foot canvases with like gesso and a hot glue gun... all these fumes where she’s breathing in all these fumes and she doesn’t give a fuck… they don’t really hear that so they’re like ‘Oh, your mom!’ and it’s like, yea she’s my mom, but she’s also the hardest fucking artist that I know. She’s so hardcore, and she doesn’t give a fuck and that’s what I appreciate so much and that’s why when I play her my music I know she’s not lying to me…”
Do you think her being an artist was kind of the start of you knowing that you wanted to do that, or did it come from somewhere else?
“I think she just created an environment for me and my sisters where whatever we wanted to do, she was gonna validate and make sure we were doing it in a way that was right, by her and by our highest good. She doesn’t really have much patience for bullshit, and I’m the same way. So I appreciate her for that.”
With such a deep intention behind his craft comes RIZ LA VIE’s careful attention to the energy he is curating and connecting with his audiences. Taking the time to take deep, guided breaths while lighting incense, along with the interactive performance he carries out across the stage, RIZ creates an atmosphere where he invites everyone to be at their highest, most comfortable state.
“I think just good things happen when you feel comfortable, and I mean, obviously like they say nothing grows in the comfort zone, but I don't think that’s all the way true. I think that establishing a safe and comfortable environment is really where you’re able to take all those thoughts that you had in danger and bring them to light. So for me, at a show, I want you to feel like anything can break at any moment, but also it wouldn’t be that bad if it did.”
So what are you most excited about for that journey, even including the rest of the tour, and then whatever you have planned afterward?
“La vie. I’m excited for every day. I think every day is new and has a lot of surprises in store that I never really expect.”