As the saying goes, blood is thicker than water. Family values have created a strong foundation for this brother and sister pop music duo. The seeds had been sowed quite some time ago, expanding their roots and firmly planting them in music. Growing up, this brother and sister duo have branched out in many different areas but always attained an unbreakable bond that tied them together. Positive reinforcement has always been a staple in their household, as a passion for the arts has stimulated their personal progress. Many people today seem to overlook artistic value, casting away imagination and creativity. Within their household it was encouraged to pursue their dreams, and with each step, grow into their full potential. For John & Ris, their love for making music had illuminated their purpose quite brightly. They began not only recording music but also honed their craft as songwriters, creating melodies, harmonies and lyrics for all their original songs.
Growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, this duo realized their gift and started to pursue solo music careers. John started recording his raps at Studio 4, located in Conshohocken, PA. At the age of 16, he began working with stellar producer and engineer, Will Yip. Following in her younger brother’s footsteps, Ris started her singing career, recording her songs at Studio 4 with Will. With every step in the learning process, they networked with many different producers, engineers, and other artists such as Huey Mack, Reed Dollaz, Danimal Lector and Jitta On The Track.
Even though John & Ris pursued solo music careers, they still wanted to work together and share something that was not only a collaborative effort, but very unique. Bringing them closer together, they put in more work and effort to make their dreams come true. After making some collaborative singles, John kept pursuing a rap career, as Ris pursued a vocation in the House genre of EDM music. Ris collaborated with DJS such as Markus Cole, DJ CHANGE, and DJ Marley Waters, who recently co-produced the smash hit “2 On” for Tinashe. Ris was also featured in Tilt Magazine online for her debut EP “Good Karma”. John also came out with a solo mixtape entitled “Sleeping Giant”, which he released on Soundcloud. After the release of their solo projects, two local Philadelphia clothing brands approached John & Ris as sponsors. John & Ris are still currently sponsored by both brands which are entitled under Great Society and Milli Wear.
After completing their individual projects, the siblings knew that their destiny was to intertwine their styles and songwriting skills. Not only had their craft been strengthened, but also their ability to work together. Their bond was stronger than ever and they knew it was time to create URBANO music group. John & Ris love recording in Philadelphia at Milkboy Studios, formerly owned by Larry Gold. They have the privilege to record with talented Grammy nominated engineer and producer, Joe Logic. Their debut album, “Royal Family”, has taken them a diligent two and a half years to perfect, but created eleven commercially driven urban pop songs. They were able to work with producers such as, Sean Divine, Bombs and Bottles, Cam Taylor, IAMVINAY, Zaro Vega, Kajmir Royale, and Kid Flash.
This past year, the duo released their debut album on Soundcloud entitled, “Royal Family”, and received a massive amount of support. Just two weeks after their launch, they were featured on over 40 different blogs, websites, radio stations and magazines combined. This included The Hype Magazine, Electro Wow, The Clothes Maiden Magazine, That’s The Headline, Lady Thriller, Hip Hop on Deck, Triple HQ Magazine, So Addicted 2 Fresh, Indie Nation, Twist Online, Music Crowns, Kaboom Magazine, Elite Muzik, Crazy Pellas, Parle Magazine, Vents Magazine, R&B Supreme, Exposed Vocals, AZ Hustle, Entertwine, , and ThisIs50 – just to name a few! The duo has also been featured on radio stations such as Caribbean’s Hot 509, Below Da Surface Indie Radio, 104.7 Kiss FM, 104.5 Beach (Miami), Hits 93 Toronto, 102 The Mix (Los Angeles) and Kansas’ K Sun 95.9. In addition, John & Ris were able to climb up the new release Beatport charts for both “Dance” and the “Hip-Hop/ R&B” categories, peaking at #10 for their newest single, “Are You?”. Their video for the single has received over 1700,000 views thus far – being shared, praised and listened to around the world. URBANO also released this new single and 11 remixes on Spotify and Beatport!
URBANO – Are You? (Official Video)
Q: When you decide it’s time to make a new record, is that more exciting or stressful?
Ans: For us, it is definitely more exciting because we have such a big passion for creating music. Some days, we just listen to instrumentals and freestyle, making remixes and playing around with new material. So finding an instrumental we are really feeling is exciting, as we love to match the vibe. We also love writing, as it is something we do daily – so really it is a stress relief for us. We feel blessed that making music brings so much happiness into our lives.
Q: How easily do songs tend to come to you?
Ans : Sometimes songs will be made in an instant when the vibes and atmosphere is just right. Something just comes over us and the song fits perfectly with what the instrumental is conveying. Other times, we have put some beats and ideas on the shelf and revisit them when we feel the timing is right. It really depends on many factors for us, even down the space and environment we are in to create something in that moment.
Q: For our readers who have never heard your music, explain your sound in 5 words?
Ans: lyrical, catchy, eclectic, melodic, and urban flair
Q: You write all of your own music; where do you draw inspiration from when you write songs and what’s your favorite part about the proccess?
ANS: We have always expressed our true feelings and thoughts through our lyrics, flow, and melodies we create. We try to pull inspiration from every corner of our lives and channel our own personal aesthetics into the music.
Q: Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to sing or rap as a career or just advice about careers in general?
Ans : Yes for sure. We feel that in life, when you find your purpose, you also serve others. There comes a point in time when you find what speaks to your soul and realize that this makes you extremely happy. You feel a connection to your purpose and you feel compelled to pursue this connection. Pursue this whole-heartedly and work on your craft very diligently. If your product is worthwhile and you put all your energy into it, good things will come. Go out and do whatever sets your soul on fire. If you have a passion for music, let your voice be heard. If you don’t have a voice, someone else will speak for you.
Q: Describe your family member’s musical interests and abilities.
Ans: Well my brother and I are in the group together so it is pretty easy to describe his ability. We always have listened to music together growing up in the same house. We learned very early we had a strong love and passion for music. Listening to music together brought us closer and showed us the true value of artistry. We both loved music so much and had a lot of passion to create our own songs. We realized our love for music at a young age and started to pursue solo music careers. John ( ½ of URBANO) started recording his raps in a studio at the age of 16. He began working with producer and engineer, Will Yip. Following in his footsteps, I (Ris – the other ½ of URBANO) started my singing career, also recording songs with Will. With every step in the learning process, we started networking with many different producers, engineers, and other artists. We then realized how much we really loved working together and wanted to create something really unique. We then decided to give URBANO a shot as a duo. So here are now sharing the same passion and interests as we had growing up.
Q: Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
Ans: We have such a large pool of artists that we consider to be our favorites who influenced us! We love music so much and it is such an important element in our lives. Just to name a few artists – Eminem, 50 Cent, Ja Rule, D12, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ashanti, Lady Gaga, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Kenrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, The Game, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Drake, MGK, Logic, Cassidy, Chris Webby, Kinetics & One Love, Jarren Benton, Royce Da 5’9”, Crooked I, Meek Mill, Sammy Adams, Snow Tha Product – I mean we could literally go on and on – we value music so much and there are so many artists that bring happiness into our lives and inspire us.
Q: Do you perform in public? Describe those occasions? Concerts, radio, TV?
Ans: Yes! We have previously performed live together and it was such a rush of good energy. It is an intense feeling, a feeling that really lights up your whole being. You really feel alive and we love every moment of that. We have also been played and interviewed on several online radio stations. It has been such an amazing ride and we are truly grateful.
Q: Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?
Ans: Well there are some nerves before a performance but we both deal with it together. One thing to really keep the nerves subdued is being well prepared. We take great pride in our showmanship and work so even when we are well prepared, we still become nervous. That’s when our mental frame of mind needs to be shifted. We have gone through this dialogue many times, where we remind ourselves that we feel this is our purpose. So there really isn’t a need to be nervous or freak out, because this is just all part of our soul’s path. Being able to positively frame our perspective does wonders not only for our performance, but also bringing the right energy and vibes to the crowd.
Q: What makes a good session?
Ans: A good session for us starts with loving the song we are creating and writing something we are both equally happy about recording. Being well prepared to go into a studio session always helps as well we feel. As far as recording in the studio, being comfortable in that specific environment goes a very long way. We record at Milkboy Studios in Philadelphia, and we couldn’t be any happier. We are really blessed to be working with Grammy nominated producer and engineer, Joe Logic. He is so talented and we really vibe with him while making our music. It really is important to have that connection and communication ability with the person you are recording with. Joe always enhances our work and we love every detail he adds, it really perfects the vision we have for the song we are recording.
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