With an unbiased passion for music – regardless of genre – it’s clear that Skytone Entertainment artist Morgan Riley offers something new to country listeners. Her soon-to-be-released album Collage is just that… A melting pot of genres with an ever-so-slight country dominance. While the road to this release hasn’t always been smooth, Riley has handled each curve with hope and exuberance – all the while finding her sound and writing to connect with her fans. “I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason – everything that’s happened throughout my life has led to my relationship with Skytone and the release of this album. I couldn’t be happier.”
A Maryland native, Riley knew she was destined to be a singer from the start. “One day when I was younger, I started singing a Mariah Carey song… My brother heard, grabbed my parents and said, ‘you’ve got to hear this!’” Impressed by their daughter’s obvious talents, Riley’s parents quickly became the greatest support in her pursuit of a career in music – a dream inherited by her grandmother, who also sang. At five, Riley began performing at weddings and anniversary parties and by 15, she was recording at a local studio. Confident in years of practice and experience gained in live and studio performance, she made the move to New York City at 18.
In New York City, Riley found herself regularly performing with a pop-R&B group and recording at the city’s legendary Hit Factory Studio. In a struggle to find her true sound, she moved back south to Greenville, South Carolina and began to perfect her country edge. “I’m generally undeterred by any type of hardship or roadblock. My dad has been a huge inspiration when it comes to this. He won’t let me give up…” Auditioning for the Pride of Carolinas, she beat out 4,300 people and received single placement on the competition’s compilation album by Koch New York, featuring the best artists in North and South Carolina. Shortly after, she began working with producer Chris Clay (TLC) on her album Affinity. “Chris has always been such an incredible supporter of me and what I do and, of course, is an incredible talent. I so enjoyed working with him on Affinity. The album really represented where I was at the time… Still, I felt I had a bit more country in me that needed to come out.”
Affinity landed in the lap of veteran producer and engineer Frank Green, whose track record includes multiple #1’s and just as many gold and platinum albums. Riley met with Green, performed a few of her originals and was quickly signed to his label, Skytone Entertainment. “My whole life I’ve dreamed of being signed to a label by someone that believes in me and all I do. I’ve certainly found that in Skytone and Frank.” The deal was made sweeter yet when Riley and Green began writing together for Collage material – a writing relationship whose chemistry she describes as “off the chart”. Drawing inspiration from her top musical influences – everyone from Carrie Underwood to Alanis Morrisette, Evanescence to Jewel – has given her unparalleled flexibility when it comes to writing. “I find I can write any kind of genre. I’ve also taken bits and pieces from different genres and pulled them into my writing. Collage is very much a product of that.”
Until the album’s release – set for early spring – Riley continues to write, perform and work with children aged two through five at New Springs Church. “I’m really blessed to be where I’m at in life. I have no doubt given the team I’ve surrounded myself with that this release has the potential for great success. I feel like Collage is me – the first project I’ve done that truly represents my voice. While all other genres play a part in this album, my dad always encouraged my country side. Now that I’ve found it, I can’t wait to share it with fans.”