This blue eyed, edgy, glam rock, kind hearted is the rare artist we all need in our life. He is bringing back the original pop back to mainstream. Rilan, the New Orleans native explains the reason behind his music and style in my exclusive interview.
Xtina: Recently, you have put up your music video called Blindfold. In the music video industry, we are not use to seeing those types of videos especially in pop music, you pretty much have open a new genre for pop. Where did your theme come from?
Rilan: Thank you very much! Well the core progression in the track kind of follows the Japanese music style. So I let the track kind of speak to me to be honest. I always been inspired by Japanese culture and here is my aesthetic attendance accent meeting future mixing elements like an edgy angular artistic futuristic look. I started with the styling and kind of found outfits I wanted and decided to do some crazy makeup with some angles and present something that’s artistic. I like pushing the envelope and make something weird that people haven’t seen before. It’s the world I live in.
Xtina: What was the inspiration behind the song?
Rilan: If you listen to the lyrics it is a sad song, it is not happy. It is about being rejected by someone and not being able to move on. So you see his face instead of everyone else’s face, hear him or her whenever someone talks to you: the feeling you get from his/her touch whenever you’re missing him or her. So it’s really about, no matter what obstacles they or you put in front of you. It’s sad but the same time its pop music so I want people to feel good when they listen to it. It’s a club banger and it’s a house track. So when you learn the lyrics and you realize the story it establishes a connection.
Xtina: I notice in your video you have Naz Tokio and ANTM runner up Allison Harvard. How did you meet them?
Rilan: So Naz is my writing partner, so we write for other people and we write for ourselves. We worked together for two and a half years. She’s my sister basically * laughs * but we decided that we were just going to write a song together and became blindfold. Allison was from ANTM; I watch it and I loved it. She was always my favorite she is so beautiful but in the strangest way. Her eyes are like two plates on her face, its nuts! For the music video I ask” Can we get Allison? , And yea sure lets see!” and in 20 min we booked her and I was like having an aneurism haha! She’s so nice and sweet on set. It was a great time on set, it felt like family.
Xtina: Why did you move to Los Angeles?
Rilan: La is the American capital of pop music at least in my opinion. I was always the theater kid and wanted to perform for a while .I wanted to go to New York and do Broadways and musicals but as I got older, I realize I don’t like playing roles. I wanted to be myself. I wanted to look how I wanted, wear what I wanted, and sing how I wanted to sing. So eventually I started coming out here. When I was younger I came to L.A to dance and to meet producers and eventually made friends. I went to college for less than a semester! College will always lookout but the opportunity won’t .I was young and 18 years old and I talked to my parents and eventually I moved out here and that was the best decision I ever made.
Xtina: Your hometown is in New Orleans. What do you miss about it the most?
Rilan: I miss the culture. It’s a pretty special place. I never realized until I left. There are Spanish, French, and Haitian influences from the 1800s. It has voodoo and all of this crazy influence. They say it’s the most haunted city in the US and I love that! I think that’s so interesting and that influenced my aesthetic in this mysterious dark kind of way.
Xtina: What made you fall in love with 70 and 80-glam rock?
Rilan: My first two albums I ever owned was a Madonna collection edition and David Bowie Ziggy Stardust. I grew up listening to my dad’s old rock album and my mom pop albums. It made sense to me as I got older watching there performances back in the day, I realized that I was emulating what I saw them doing on stage. It was theatrical; it was a production, powerful, artistic, weird, and new. No one was coming out with a gigantic long blonde braid; no one else was painting their face and developing this character. Talk about leaving earth and rising to the heavens that was powerful and artistic to me. In my opinion pop music kind of lost that in the last few years and I would really like to bring that theoretical worldly look feel and talent.
Xtina: Also in your bio it mentions you were giving a hard time in a preppy school . Do you think that made you a stronger person in the industry?
Rilan: Yea I definitely think it did. I went to a very preppy school from kindergarten all the way to my senior year. And of course they’re southern so they wore khaki shorts and pastel color polo’s. You know …all that kind of stuff and I wasn’t into that. I wanted to look like Boy George, Prince and Queen .I wore eyeliner to school like an emo kid, ha-ha. I just wanted to wear what I wanted and I was so much happier being myself and liking how I look. I really didn’t care how others thought I look.
Xtina: Being on the cast of Glee how did you cooperate with the different personalities and group setting?
Rilan: Actually the people were pretty nice. I looked like I was an asshole. I had a prep school uniform and sleek hair and just hated everyone. But everyone is pretty nice and sweet. I was star struck at first with the people I watch when I was going to the 8th grade when Glee first premiered. It was a supportive environment, the people in the show’s cast and the crew basically embodies what Glee stand for. Being yourself and finding your path in life, not being afraid to be different.
Xtina: Last, are we going to expect any new music or acting from you soon?
Rilan: There will be some new music coming out very soon. It’s this feel like blindfold but a little grittier. I’m playing some shows in the west coast and LA Pride, so I have lots of music coming your way.
Cover photo by: Chris Cuffaro