Interview – rIVerse

Among the many lessons we’ve all learned over the past year, acceptance of others is one of the biggest, and Toronto’s rIVerse is here to keep that lesson going strong. Just as satisfying to the eyes as they are to the ears, the quartet is preparing for Poison IV: Virtual Concert, which they say is a chance for fans to experience their full-length album “the way it’s meant to be experienced!!

First off, as the ultimate late ’90s/early 2000s teenybopper, let me say thank you for bringing this sound, look, vibe, and energy to 2021! Your single, “BaeBeeBoo”, is the definition of an earworm that everyone needs to get in their head. How the heck did you all find each other to form this brilliant four-pack?

Dizz: Thank you so much for the compliment! We love going in ‘rIVerse’ and taking elements from the music we grew up on, so it’s amazing to hear that you enjoy it for the same reasons! rIVerse actually came together after we were all cast in a Toronto stage production of Disney’s High School Musical 2. I have been putting together groups since I was 14-years-old and have always wanted to be part of a project that had the same qualities I loved in groups as a child, but also offered the music industry something unique and different. One-by-one, I asked the other members of rIVerse if they’d like to work with me and they all said yes! Monroe was the last member to join in 2012, and we’ve been moving forward ever since!

In quoting Dizz on a very important message from the group as a whole, “whether you’re gay, straight, white, black, young, old, man, woman, petite or plus size you can do, have and be whatever you want”, so who were some artists and groups that helped you live your truths and, in turn, find your talent?

Monroe: We have had many inspirations over the years that have helped us become the artists we are today, but in terms of that kind of representation and the feeling that we can be okay, exactly as we are, Lady Gaga was a big one for most of us. I know for me, personally, she really changed the way I viewed pop music and her songs and performances made me feel like there was space in this industry for people who are different from the ‘norm.’ That gave me so much confidence and faith that I could be successful, in my own way.

Since releasing your album, Poison IV, last year, what has been some of the best and/or eye-opening feedback you’ve received?

Khadija: Some of the best feedback we’ve received since releasing ‘Poison IV’ is how many people have told us they found the song they needed on our album. It’s different for everyone, a different message or source of hope or reminder that they aren’t alone. But still, somehow, so many unique people, from various walks of life, with different needs have messaged us to say, “Oh my goodness, thank you for your song, __________. It has meant so much to me and helped me get through a tough time; it gave me the encouragement I needed to make this big change; it is the song I play every day to stay positive; etc.” That is such a powerful thing and it really helps us know that we are on the right track with our music and our message. There is something of value for everyone on this album and that’s exactly what we wanted!

Coming up on your live virtual concert on June 16th, what are you most looking forward to?

Zak: We are so excited to finally share our live virtual concert on June 16thso our audience can experience the ‘Poison IV’ album the way it’s meant to be experienced!! There’s always a different energy when you’re performing live vs just hearing a song on an album. We can’t wait to really showcase the full extent of what rIVerse has to offer, from vocals to choreography to artistry. We’ve built a proper concert experience, digitally, and we are very excited to be able to connect with our fans in this way again.

What are your other plans for the next six months?

Monroe: Honestly, as much as it might sound corny, we are very much just going with the flow these days. The Universe keeps bringing incredible opportunities our way, as more people discover our music and our message, so we’re just open to whatever awesome thing comes to rIVerse next. Our goals are to keep building our social media presence, continue producing our YouTube series, and promote the ‘Poison IV’ album to larger and larger audiences. BUT if we got a call tomorrow asking us to drop everything and travel across the globe for some cool opportunity, we’re ready to go! Our suitcases have been packed and by the door for months.

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