INTERVIEW: Presley River

I never thought I would be a dentist.

Singer and songwriter Presley River is the first to admit that he wasn’t cut out for having a traditional profession - so he didn’t even try it.

In an exclusive interview for Lewis Magazine, the London-based American singer talks about starting his career as a model, writing bad songs, and who inspires him in the music world.

Interview: Claudio Harris

Talent : Presley River

Words: Marcio Delgado

When did you start singing?

As far as I can remember, I was always singing in the car and joining the whole family in singing along to Christmas songs during the festive season. As a child, my earliest memories are of trying to entertain people around me with music; so, I probably started to sing when I was 6 years old.

Was modelling a career detour?

No, it was a way to figure out what I really wanted to do. I spent some time in NYC as a model and, although I had a really good run, modelling doesn’t give you a lot of room for creative input and I really need to engage with things that I feel are pushing me forward.

I never thought I would be a dentist, or anything that falls into a routine. Instead, I always knew I would end up being an actor, or singer. I even went to acting school for a year.

And how did performing come around?

Even when I was working as a model, music was always there; in fact, I saw myself as a musician that just happened to be modelling - not the other way around.

I started recording and performing in 2018. Back then, I recorded an EP that wasn’t that good but it was all part of a maturing process. I believe you have to write at least 50 bad songs until you learn how to do it properly and I can personally vouch for that. Then, I scrapped the EP and started over again.

As a songwriter, when did you feel ready?

Right where I want you (2019) was the first song that I felt like ‘I think I have done something good here’. Until then, it just hadn’t quite clicked yet. Writing songs is a very personal and isolated journey, but I am fine with that because I have the social life of an old person - it doesn’t take a lot to entertain me.

You are from Tulsa, Oklahoma, the same home city as the American pop rock band Hanson. How did you end up in London?

I started coming to London on and off for months at a time to escape NYC, and I was also here for my 21st birthday.

I find that traveling is a huge part of the creative process for me. I can't really stay in one place for too long. I was sort of of built for the road. Thats where I feel most comfortable. But if I had to call some place home, London would definitely be at the top of my list.

Where do you draw inspiration from while writing your music?

There is a wide variety of singer-songwriters that inspire me, from Paul McCartney to Rufus Wainwright.

And the more I create, the more I feel inspired. Even if the next song has no connection with the one I just finished writing, the creative process in itself is what keeps me going.

Presley River ‘s new EP featuring four songs will be out in April. Listen to his music on Spotify: