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The beauty behind K-Riz & Fresh Air

Edmonton, AB – May 14, 2015. On a balmy spring evening, K-Riz posts himself contently inside Up In Arms Studio, the safe haven where he’ll hibernate for the next year as he creates his passion project, Fresh Air. He’s perched on a leather chair, deep in thought, nodding his head and humming to a track being played back to him. This recording session was one of several I was invited to sit-in and I must say that it was a pleasure to watch his vision come to life. K-Riz literally put everything on the line for this body of work, quitting his full-time job to focus solely on his music.

In front of him is Nato, engineer and owner of Up In Arms Studio, completely un-bothered as he works at the mixing console, chiming in every once in a while to drop some knowledge, mixed with his witty one-liners. Nato and Riz have had a solid musical relationship over the years, working on several projects including The Low and The Low: Side B.

- HipHopCanada.com
Photo by Nicholas Yee

To the right is Sydney Love. Singer, collaborator and member of The HonorRoll, a music collective that was founded during the creative process of the album (more on that later). Like K-Riz, Sydney seems right at home inside the studio.

In the room next door are [Executive Producer] Will “J Dats” Duong, Xian, Feddicash, Shaq and LordQuest (who flew in specially from Toronto). Creating, shaping and molding pieces of music that in my wildest dreams could only hope to understand. A humbling experience to say the least.

- HipHopCanada.com
Left to right: Xian, Nato, Will “J Dats” Duong, Shaq, Feddicash & LordQuest | Photo by Touch

This paints of the picture of the musical genius behind Fresh Air. For over one year, each person inside this space dedicated their craft to create this body of work (and that’s not including the artists who weren’t present). K-Riz is an artist who keeps his musical family close, his loyalty and belief in his team has contributed to what we’re listening to today.

“This shit is a grind, man,” K-Riz chuckles at first but quickly shifts his tone. “We all want to be great, none of us want to work a 9 to 5. All of us want to be happy making music, spending time with our families, building families, touring the world. Sharing music with the world. Honestly, that’s all it’s about. There’s so much bullshit going on in the world right now, and realistically, there’s so much hatred – the only way I feel we can reach people and talk to people is music. Music is the most powerful thing we have.”

“The world needs love,” he continued. “The world needs healing and music is the only way to do it. I don’t think I’m the savior but I think I can help. I’m just gonna try to make a change. I have nieces and nephews and I want to have kids [some day] too – I don’t want to bring them into a world like this and it’s in my power to change that. If you have a musical gift, it’s your right to try and change the world. That’s what you’re supposed to do.”

His influences stem from J. Cole and Nas. While the two are the usual suspects, as far as influence goes, Riz comes from a strong musical background. He speaks of growing up to B.B. King, his father was a DJ, his grandfather was a Jazz musician and his brother, J-Mello, is a well-respected MC and DJ in both the Edmonton and Toronto area. All of this adds to the diversity you consistently hear in Riz’s sound. Music is in his DNA.

Fast forward to June 2016. After working tirelessly for a year, K-Riz was finally ready to release his first single from the album, “Levitate.” With the video’s stunning visuals and the song’s undeniable versatility, “Levitate” was an instant success and well received by his peers and media alike. The world was ready for Fresh Air.

The following month, K-Riz invited me to a rehearsal for the album’s official release party. With only two weeks until showtime, K-Riz was in the final stages of showcasing his art. One would be a nervous wreck, but K-Riz couldn’t have been more focused. He had put his blood, sweat and tears into this. The the confidence he exuded that day was an indication of how ready he was.

Accompanied by his band The ForSures, an extension of the HonorRoll Music Collective. As the group intricately progressed through each song, it became more apparent how untouchable they are in this city.

- HipHopCanada.com
K-Riz & The ForSures | Photo by Nicholas Yee

*Note: The ForSures consist of Enoch (Guitar), Cameron Browne (Keys), Steven Atkins (Drums), J Dats (Sample Pad), Eddy Molo (Keys), Ray-Ray Treeze (Bass), Nicholas Yee (Cello), Karimah (Vocals), Timothy Noel (Vocals).

August 4, 2016. K-Riz and The ForSures present Fresh Air, live, in front of a sold out crowd inside The Needle Vinyl Tavern. The Needle is the latest venue to hit Edmonton’s live music scene. The vibe was intimate and the show was curated to perfection. Local artists, friends, family and music lovers alike all came through to show love.

Fresh Air is more than passion project, it’s the essence of who K-Riz is as an artist. The soul, lyricism, and his ability to effortlessly transition from bars to harmonies. It’s all matched with freshly polished production and a brilliant range of features from Deuce Fantastick, Young Tox, Sydney Love, J-Mello, Karimah, Dizzi Bhadhandz, Nicholas Yee, Oozeela, Octavio Santos, GRAY, and Angela O’Neill.

- HipHopCanada.com
Photo by Nicholas Yee

- HipHopCanada.com
Photo by Nicholas Yee

- HipHopCanada.com
Photo by Nicholas Yee

- HipHopCanada.com
Photo by Nicholas Yee

- HipHopCanada.com
Photo by Nicholas Yee

Since the release party, the buzz around K-Riz and Fresh Air has only gained momentum. He’s landed a spot to perform at Calgary’s One Love Music Festival and was chosen as one of Sarah Jay’s top five performers to see at the 2nd annual event. Once One Love wraps up he’ll join The Search (Kayo & Quake Matthews) on thier Canadian tour .

His passion for music pushed him beyond his limits, risking everything he had to do what he loves. What was once a vision has come into fruition. The sky is the limit for an artist as promising as K-Riz.


Twitter: @itsKRizMusic

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