Melvin Riley: Return of the “Real Deal” R&B

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He’s the sensual smooth voice behind some of R&B’s biggest throwback hits including Oh Sheila, Can He Do It Like This, Tonight, and Love You Down. He’s also the co-founder and lead vocalist of the platinum selling, chart topping, R&B group Ready For The World. The Fleet Mag had the opportunity to sit down with the one and only Melvin Riley for an in depth conversation about his career in the music industry, current projects, and more.

Melvin Riley is a native of Detroit, Michigan, but has family roots in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He grew up listening to southern blues greats as well as legendary artist such as Stevie Wonder, George Clinton, Prince, and Michael Jackson. He has always been a music lover and believes that listening to music icons subconsciously influenced him to create great music.

Riley was fortunate to have his music career take off at the young age of 19. When he graduated high school he was already writing music, producing, and playing multiple instruments. He enrolled in college and was on track to obtain a degree in Communications, then he received the opportunity of a lifetime, a record deal with Universal. Riley decided to leave school and pursue a career in the music industry. As the son of two school teachers, his parents were a little reluctant at first, then Ready For The World, dropped their debut single “Tonight,” which peaked at #6 on the R&B Billboard charts, leading his parents to know their son made the right decision. Unlike many other recording artist, Ready For The World had instant success.

Now as a headlining act, Riley was living his dream. But along with success came the grueling task of going on tour. Touring was rough and lasted nearly a year each time they hit the road, but seeing the true love and support of their loyal fans was worth it. Riley recalled one night he and a member of his security team were chased back to their hotel by a mob of fans attending a concert. This was at the height of his career and it was an eye-opening experience when he realized just how big Ready For The World had become. He is proud to say they still have those authentic fans today.

Riley has a deep appreciation for music and puts a lot of work into every detail of each song. “It starts with the music, creating that background, that hot track. When you have a hot track you want to compliment it with great vocal arrangement and a great hook” Riley said. “People love great lyrics, you have to put in that special time and concentrate on the words.” Riley prides himself in creating music that allows a man to really sing to a woman. He stated that 80s and 90s music is “the real deal,” and the unique style that many associate with music of that era is coming back.

Riley is currently signed with Universal on a distribution deal. He will release a new song about every three months, then eventually release an EP or album. His latest single “Sugar Daddy,” is a hit among R&B music lovers. When asked about the back story of writing the song he stated, “It feels like for the last 25 years women haven’t been sang to like they should. Sugar Daddy is a song saying baby I got your back and I’m there for you.”

Though Riley is a fan of throwback music, he admires and would like to collaborate with some of today’s hit makers such as Kelly Price, Fantasia, and Chris Brown. He stated, “they have real vocals and remind me of the real deal.”

When asked what advice he would give to other aspiring recording artist he said, “Identify if you really have the talent. You have to be real with yourself, if you have that fire you have to get in the studio and put in the work and utilize social media.

One thing we know is Melvin Riley has had that fire since he stepped on the music scene nearly four decades ago. Every time he puts pen to paper, a hit is created. Stay tuned to see what he does next and catch Melvin Riley and Ready For The World performing in a city near you.

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Interview by: DJ Pynk Dyamond Written by: JP