Toronto quartet rIVerse met over a decade ago in a local theatre production of Disney’s High School Musical 2 and have grown up together into something rare: a pop/R&B group with a distinct social conscience.
On Juneteenth, they released what may be their most powerful video to date: “Stand Up,” a searing call-to-action in the current global fight against police brutality and systemic racism. The track empowers listeners of all races to fight back against police violence, racial profiling, and a corrupt system that targets Black men, women, and children.
rIVerse has performed for various audiences over the years to share their music and message—from festivals to conferences, MasterCard Fashion Week runways to television appearances on Breakfast Television and Global Morning, from Canada to the U.S. to South Korea. They are looking forward to continuing their journey and “reminding others across the globe that we are all Beautiful, we are Worthy, we are Valued and we are Loved.”
How long have you been creating your art?
All four members of rIVerse have been involved in the arts since we were very young—songwriting, dancing, singing, playing instruments, etc. As a group, though, we have been creating music and performing together since 2012.
Where are you from? How does that influence your art?
Being Canadian, and especially from Toronto, has definitely influenced our art in a way. Toronto is a very diverse city, so we have always been surrounded by different people, different backgrounds, cultures, and languages. Also, with such a large and varied population, it’s much easier to find community with others who have felt isolated in similar ways. We are lucky to have seen, firsthand, how beautiful diversity can be and that’s part of why it’s so important for us to highlight representation in our projects.
What projects are you currently working on? Do you have any upcoming releases?
Currently, we are promoting “Stand Up,” as we feel this topic of racial discrimination and police brutality is one that needs to continue being discussed for a long time, until we see real, systemic change. This is our effort, as artists, to contribute to the movement. Aside from that, we are preparing to release our second album, Poison IV, which was unfortunately pushed back and re-configured due to COVID-19. We are very excited to finally share this project, which is a great mix of fun, up-tempo music and songs with important messages for our listeners.
What is your inspiration? And why?
We are hugely inspired by ’90s and 2000s music, especially pop and R&B songs—that is part of our brand and the group name, rIVerse (our music is current, but feels like a throwback). That was the music we grew up listening to and studying to develop our own artistry so it always inspires us and gives us life. In terms of who we are as artists, we are very inspired by creators who use their art to make a difference in the world. It’s such a privilege to have a public platform and we have so much respect for those who use their platform in positive ways.
Why is music important to the queer community?
Music is a truly universal language. It can connect so many people, from all walks of life, in such a powerful way. We have talked about how some songs have given us hope and inspired us at moments when we felt truly hopeless. It’s really cool to see how we can all have similar feelings, even though we’re going through different things in our lives. The magic we feel in the queer community is in being able to share our hopes, our fears, our grief and our pride together. So many of us feel alone and isolated for much of our lives, so those moments of connection are so healing! And what better way to all connect and uplift one another than dancing and singing along together to great music?!
What do you hope to achieve as an artist?
Our goal is to be one of the biggest, most impactful music groups in the world (we say, humbly—lol). Music is our passion and it is a blessing to make a living doing what we love. But more than that, we want to share our message and discuss society’s important topics with the widest audience possible. It warms our heart when we receive messages from fans letting us know how we have encouraged, uplifted, or inspired them and we hope to do that for many, many more people throughout our career.
Who are your top 3 major influences?
That is such a difficult question! We can never answer this properly when we’re asked. Between the four members of rIVerse, we have such a varied musical background and we all love music SO MUCH. There are too many influences to list.
How can we all support your work and talent?
Sharing our content is the best way to support rIVerse. Following our platforms, engaging with our content, and sharing to as many people as possible is what helps us to grow and helps our mission of Representing The Underrepresented. rIVerse has been working hard for many years and, at this point, the only thing we really need is more exposure. If you want to financially help us produce our work, then our Patreon is a great way to contribute and it allows us to connect more directly with those who are helping the journey. We also have a donate button on our Spotify page.