LONE TREE, CO (August 4, 2023) – Explore the colors of your world with ROY G BIV, the debut solo album from Harvard freshman teen sensation Riley Max, who's just getting started but has already opened a United Nations General Assembly Meeting with her voice; recorded on impactful projects with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, Grammy-winning collaborators, and chart-topping artists; onstage in live show tours; and as the lead role in many musical theatre productions. Composing music and lyrics, singing, and playing keyboard and guitar backed by woodwinds and strings, this prodigious new artist wrote and produced ROY G BIV at age 17.
The daughter of a chart-topping recording artist and college music teacher, Riley tracked her album at Reach Studios in Colorado with the exception of Blue, which was recorded at Stanford University. Recording was completed on her 18th birthday in a session with a string quintet bringing joyous new resonance to four of the tracks. This moment of exhilaration is caught on tape and referenced by Riley on the album’s first track, 18 — the same age she was one of ten students worldwide accepted into a dual degree program where she'll earn a Master's in Music Production at Berklee School Of Music simultaneously with her Bachelor's in Music at Harvard.
A seasoned performer long before releasing her first solo album, Riley’s extensive youth performing resumé includes credits as a featured vocalist on numerous acclaimed recordings and chart hits with other artists, singing with 3-time Grammy Winner and UN Goodwill Ambassador Ricky Kej at the 2021 UNICEF World Children’s Day Concert; performing on recordings with Grammy winners Isabel Leonard and Nathan Gunn; performing solo roles in music videos and education apps with millions of streams and downloads between them; performing live on tours with Doctor Noize; and playing lead roles in Denver area musical theatre productions like Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz, Junie B. Jones in Junie B. Jones, Sophie in Mamma Mia, and Esmerelda in Hunchback of Notre Dame.
But it’s as a young composer and poet that Riley Max’s work is truly unique. Where most young artists have been groomed by digital culture to write freestanding songs and singles, Riley’s written a cohesive and affecting concept album, with a clear and purposeful big picture vision, for her first release. "A young and timely voice wrapped in an old soul. I love the theme and creative approach. A colorful album of gems..." writes Lonnie Park, who produced a 2022 Grammy-winning album for The Police's Stewart Copeland. “The message itself is catchy,” says Green guitarist David Amaya, who, like Riley’s mother, is blind and a fan of Riley’s music and words.
Highlights of Riley's song cycle include the first single and video Blue, featuring Riley Max on voice and piano looking and sounding like a world-weary, bygone-era jazz diva and instantly announcing she’s a bit of a unicorn who can relate to past generations as much as her own. “I came up with Blue first — after that I came up with Yellow,” Riley says of the latter guitar and voice folk art song that’s the album's single-take showcase of her skills as a live singer and instrumentalist. Yellow is both Riley's second single and video and her second video directed by her older sister Sidney, a pupil of the Blue Planet Director of Photography who also directed Riley's Making Of video.
Other highlights include Green, written alone in her room while longing to be at the camp in the mountains she regularly visited throughout childhood to get away from the busy modern world: “Green is the anchor of the album because all the other songs are about interactions with other people, and Green is more about connecting with yourself.” Other tracks include the desperately dangerous pop diva anger of Red, the lush strings and vocals of Orange, the true teen story of Indigo, the cheeky punk perfection of Violet, and the astounding closing instrumental track Alphabet Soup, which confidently and contrapuntally weaves the melodies and moods of all the colorful songs you’ve just heard on the album into a wordless summary of the emotions within.
Adding more layers of color and artistry is the fact that Riley Max — an award-winning visual artist whose social commentary work has already been displayed at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art — created her own striking album cover on the aforementioned themes. She's a young woman who speaks her mind and directs her own life, comfortable both behind and on stage: she scripted her debut music video Blue, designed the sets for some of the theatrical productions she starred in, and co-mixed and co-produced her own debut album. All told, ROY G BIV announces the arrival of a confident multimedia artist with major things to say: “The idea of doing the whole spectrum of colors was to show a very wide range of experiences and relationships. I hope that everybody can relate to at least something in there and take something away.”
Take Riley Max’s ROY G BIV away with you to launch your day in full color.