This Manny champ knows how to hit those bars
Having been born and bred in Manchester, rapper RIO continues to stay true to his Manny roots when it comes to his music. When playing a RIO tune, we are never surprised to find a reference to the famous city within the track.Although, when it comes to football it’s a totally different story because in fact, this guy is a “loyal” Chelsea supporter, not so loyal to his roots after all!
With his ‘Push To Start’ mixtape out and a recent craze on Soccer AM with his single ‘What If’, I think it’s fair to say that RIO is definitely chasing the dream. After touring with Wiley and remastering Chipmunk’s ‘Champion’, this Mancunian may have come down from up north, but he certainly isn’t going down in the world of rap music. Flavour caught up with RIO to get the the low down on Wiley’s “attendance” shall we say, how he’d like to work with new chart sensation Ed Sheeran, and how life of RIO music has changed since becoming a Dad.
Explain a bit about yourself and how you plan to crack the grime scene?
I’m a 25 year old artist/MC from Manchester. I started off doing grime music with my cousin when we used to just chill, put on beats and write lyrics. We then took it to youth centres and clubs and from then on onto Manchester radio stations where the foundation was broadened – things just took off from there.
What is the story behind the name R.I.O?
My real name is RIO. I got to stress that in every interview I get asked whether it’s RIO or R.I.O with dots. But it’s RIO in capital letters.
Do you consider yourself as a mc or a rapper – is there really any difference?
I would class myself as both. I would say that I’m an artist more than an mc because I can rap, as well as mc. There’s not much difference in what mc’s and rappers actually talk about, the only difference is that raps a little slower.
You recently released your mixtape ‘Push To Start’ with DJ Stylus – what did you set out to achieve with this mixtape and did you achieve it?
Yeah definitely, when I released the mixtape I was out in Rotterdam where I had a school gig. It was amazing, it had 3,000 downloads in one day and within a week it had 8,000+ downloads, so it definitely done what we set out to do. Me and DJ Stylus came together with an idea of mixing well-known tracks with tracks that I already put out there. From what I know of it’s the first time this has been done up north.
After listening to your ‘Champion’ remix I think it’s fair to say that you’re the Manny champion – what made you want to do your own version of Chipmunk’s hit?
Basically I think the beats epic, Harmony is a really talented producer and when I heard the tune I thought yeah I’ll do a version. So I had the instrumental sent to me, tried to make it my own and put my own style with my own chorus. It worked out well, we put it on the ‘Push To Start’ mixtape and its one of the tracks which everyone takes to and loves.
What is the best lyric you’ve ever written?
Wow, there’s a lot you know. That’s a bit of a tough question. I don’t have a particular lyric that I’d say is the best, but I’ve got a couple of mottos that I’ve used in the lyrics. My favourite one would be “don’t chase the money, chase the dream”.
Looking at YouTube comments for your track ‘What If’ – it seems that Soccer AM played a major role in the promotion for it, many people heard the track off there – are you aware of this and do you have any kind words for the show?
Yeah of course, I’m always checking the YouTube and stuff and obviously the fans made it known on Twitter as well so I was definitely aware when they played it. It also upped the views for the track and I love the show, I’d really like to actually get on the show as I used to play football myself so I got a couple of tricks I could show them!
What was it like touring with Wiley and did he manage to turn up to all the dates?
It was wicked, I toured with him on two legs of his tour, one in Manchester and one in Birmingham. It was good to get that kind of exposure so big up Wiley for that definitely! And about Wiley turning up, you know what, Wiley’s Wiley at the end of the day, but he was at every show putting in work with a mad crowd response and a massive turn out, so a big moment for him of course.
Tell us a bit about the collaboration with K Koke – has there been any progress with that?
Not at the moment but we actually sent K Koke the tune with my verse and my hook on it and he was loving it, but obviously there’s the implications with the law. But when he gets out we can look forward to shooting the video, it will be a street anthem, So free K Koke!
Which other artist’s on the UK grime scene have your backing – on a lyrical level who inspires you?
On a lyrical level, Shifty is the one who I think has got real sick lyrics, he’s also from Manchester and a good friend of mine. Wretch 32 is another one, I rate him with his metaphors and his word play, along with Chipmunk, Devlin and Ghetts.
If you could have anyone to feature on a track, who would it be and why?
I’d probably have to work with Ed Sheeran. I’m a big fan of his music, I think he’s going to blow this year and his song writing skills are amazing.
Since becoming a father, has it influenced you while writing lyrics?
Definitely, since I’ve had my little boy, he’s been my main motivation and inspiration for what I do. It keeps me motivated to get up every day and make sure I do something productive whether it’s on the internet, writing or studio. But it’s definitely changed the way I am.
What are you currently working on at the moment and where can your fans keep track of what you’re doing?
If you follow me on Twitter and visit my official site www.officialrio.co.uk then you can find out what I’m doing from day to day. I’ve got a couple of projects lined up and of course the ‘What If’ single is out now to buy on iTunes.
Follow RIO on Twitter @RIOMUSIC10. You can download Rio’s ‘Push To Start’ mixtape for free at his official site www.officialrio.co.uk
Words by Melek Derebeyli