After a two-year break from solo releases, the UK’s indisputable Superman of R&B — Jermaine Riley returns with the catchy, 808-rich banger “Family”. The track samples Jay Z’s “Family Feud” and was produced by Birmingham’s own Gifted, who also has a couple cuts on Riley’s forthcoming sophomore album, following 2012’s critically acclaimed Hello Earth. Candidly touching upon the subject of marriage and building a family with the one he loves, Riley flows over the beat with his renowned approach, complete with quick vocals riffs, lush harmonies and a rap-like delivery in the verses. Unbeknownst to him, however, upon recording the song, he had no idea he was writing an anthem for those who want to take their relationships to that next level.
“All the girls I played it to were like ‘Awww… oh my gosh, that’s so cute!’ — which I didn’t expect, to be honest. As songwriters, trying to please everyone and keep our audience engaged, sometimes we dive into the creative process with the intentions of ‘I know this will get them on my side’, and I didn’t do that at all with this song. I just wanted to flip the “Family Feud” thing and just have a song everyone could sing and dance along to. But the feedback has let me know that the topic is way more relatable than I thought. I just wrote the first thing that came to me.”
Riley continues to live up to his superhero namesake by writing, arranging, engineering and designing the artwork for all his songs, and “Family” is no exception. The somewhat adorable cover art incorporates the digitally illustrated head of the first-born child of Jay-Z and Beyoncé: Blue Ivy Carter, a clear symbolic reference to the start of the celebrity couple’s family. Fans of the former 1/3 of Fun*dmental will be pleased to know that he has every intention of giving them more of what they’re used to when it comes to the visuals for this song and those on his new solo album, slated for 2018.
“I want to challenge myself, push for excellence and give my fans something they’re definitely not going to find from another UK artist. There’s no one here giving kids what MJ and Usher gave to me. That showmanship. I’m always going to try and pass that down and be that all-round entertainer.”
If “Family” is anything to go by, Riley’s new album will be filled with well-written, memorable numbers that showcase a more human side to the ever-creative R&B Superman. What’s safe to say is: Jermaine Riley is back!