Rileyy Lanez is a whole vibe, and her distinct, standout vocals do not go unnoticed. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, the 21-year-old has been steadily growing her fanbase, reeling music-lovers in with her version of unapologetic, heartfelt R&B. Boasting 517K followers on Instagram alone, it’s safe to say Rileyy is on her way to superstardom.
Most recently, Rileyy unveiled her newest single and visual for “4 Life,” capturing the lighter side of a relationship. She explains, “The actual love: where no matter what hardships two people go through, they will always hold on to that good love.”
She also released “Can’t Deny” and “Not Mine,” paving the way for her forthcoming EP titled Bittersweet, dropping on December 2nd.
Sheen spoke with Rileyy Lanez via Zoom, who was posted in her mom’s crib on the East Coast. Read below as we discuss her new music, getting engaged, top 5 artists in rotation, & more!
How you been since the last time we chatted?
I’ve been good, just working. Studio, stuff like that. Trying to get this EP put together.
You just put out “Can’t Deny,” what inspired this? I know most of your songs are inspired by love.
Yeah, this one wasn’t though. [laughs] This one had nothing to do with me. We were in the studio, just vibing. Necessarily trying to touch base on a lot of subjects that people might be going through with themselves, or feeling internally. We wrote that song for everybody else.
What about “4 Life”?
Yes, that one still has nothing to do with me. It could relate to me, I just got engaged to my fiance.
Thank you so much. The song definitely can relate to me. But again, that was another song that I wrote mainly for the people. Just for them to have for their loved ones, sing your heart out.
How long have y’all been dating, for you to be engaged so young?
We’ve been together for two years. We just got engaged a couple of weeks ago. That’s my baby.
Were you surprised? Who did it?
No, it was probably both. We already knew, this is it for us. We want to be together forever. For now and forever. Let’s just go buy the ring, come on. We already doing wifey stuff. We already together, so why not?
How did y’all meet originally?
We met on Instagram, that’s crazy to think about.
I feel like everyone nowadays meets on Instagram.
Right? I know. We met over the media. You knew you could find your soulmate on Instagram? [laughs]
Is she your biggest fan?
Yeah, she’s my biggest supporter, everything. She’s the one who styles me, all of that. She’s a good stylist, great actually.
I was watching the “4 Life” music video, where did you perform that? Was that in New York?
Yeah, that was in Mount Vernon. That was one of the first towns that really supported me when I came out as an artist. Even before, when I was going by actual name, they were supporting me. I was 13 or 14.I had to shoot it somewhere that’s really sentimental to me, especially for this upcoming project.
What can we expect from Bittersweet? And why are you calling it Bittersweet?
I mean, the title speaks for itself. People in relationships they know not everything’s gonna be all glitz and glamor. It’s gonna be a lot of hardships that y’all gotta get through. The EP again, the title speaks for itself. It’s talking about the good moments, the bad moments, just knowing wrong and right. Knowing who’s right to fight for, you know?
Damn, I’m going through a breakup. Is it gonna speak to me?
Yeah, it’s going to speak to you. It’s going to speak to you.
Are there any features?
No, not this one. Definitely in the future, for a fact. I just started laying down some tracks for a lot of artists that you probably would know. I got some stuff coming, but not on this EP.
How many songs is it?
- Actually “4U,” I wrote this for my fiance.
What are your beauty go-to’s?
I just started getting into makeup. I really wasn’t big on the make up, I was always natural face. What’s the makeup that I’ve been using… what is it called? Damn, I don’t even know the title. Maybelline. [laughs] I don’t really be using makeup. I put a little concealer under my eyes, that’s it. I’m not big on beauty tips, I’m more natural.
What inspires your fashion?
Now… my girlfriend. She inspires a lot. When I first came out as an artist, I was definitely like trying to balance my masculinity and my femininity. It’s crazy because I was definitely on my masculine side when I got with my fiance. But over the years, she’d definitely introduce me to a lot of stuff. “Babe, you should put this on. Try this out.” She definitely tapped into my femininity, so a lot of my inspiration comes from her as far as that.
Does she make you try new things and go outside the box?
Yeah, she definitely does. Definitely.
Is there something that fans may not know about you?
I’m trying to think… I used to ride a skateboard when I was younger.
Do you still at all?
No. I had an injury and after that, it scarred me. I was scared. [laughs] I was not getting back on there.
Top 5 artists in rotation right now?
I’ve been listening to Moses Sumney. I be listening to… his name is Joseph Solomon. I’ve been listening to my Mary J. Blige. I’ve been listening to SZA lately too. Oh, Giveon. Giveon’s a good one, I always listen to him.
Any goals for yourself?
At the moment, it’s really being in the crowd. I’ve been trying to get my feet up off the ground for a very long time. Just being able to be around the people that inspired me, that’s really my goal. Just be heard in my music.
Have you had a recent encounter that you were hyped about?
Yeah, it was somebody asked me to hop on their song. He asked me himself, so I really am honored. I was definitely excited.
Anything else you want to let the people know?
Stay tuned for my EP, it’s dropping early December. Stay tuned, keep watching. That’s really it.
Photo Credits: Courtesy of Columbia Records