p10 arts kurt riley

Courtesy of Kurt Riley

February 14, 2018

SPINNING SINGLES: Kurt Riley, “Love is in My Heart”

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Kurt Riley ’16  just released a new single for Valentine’s Day. “Love is in My Heart” represents the importance of love to Riley, as well as his musical inspirations.

Riley’s performances feature bright letters spelling out his name, which is very similar to the way that The Killers — one of his biggest musical inspirations — tend to put a K on the stage when they perform. Additionally, just as The Killers do on holiday season, Riley has released a single today. However, this does not mean that Riley is simply following what The Killers do. In fact, Riley’s music is original and passionate. He does not adhere to a single genre or style.

“Love is in My Heart” is a blend of glam rock and ’80s pop, featuring synthesizers and a laid-back beat. Riley’s slow and sustained vocals, along with the keyboards, are what give the song an ’80s feeling.

“Turn off your phone, let’s be alone tonight” is the first line Riley sings. “Love is in My Heart” is about appreciating not just someone, but the idea of love. The song feels the way an ’80s prom would were it to take place today. However, there isn’t anything tacky or fake about it. In fact, Riley has taken iconic sounds from the ’80s and combined them with clean, modern sounds.

While the track displays Riley’s musical abilities and creativity, the music video for “Love is in My Heart” highlights his personality and endearing eccentricity. The video opens to a dark room with a screen in it. A graceful female dancer wearing a simple white dress walks in as the screen lights up to show the band playing. Riley then emerges and begins to sing. For a second, this resembles Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” music video, but Riley quickly proves that his music is nothing mushy and generic.

Riley’s bold eyeliner that goes from the bottom of his eyes to his eyebrows, his brown leather jacket and his vocal style give him a David Bowie-esque glam rock vibe that mixes surprisingly well with the music he’s singing.

It’s evident that Riley has put an endless amount of effort into creating his vision of music. Listeners can pick his music apart to the point where it becomes evident who his influences are, but not so much to where he appears to be a copy-paste quilt of these artists. Instead, his music is more like a blended smoothie. As an artist who began performing in high school, Riley demonstrates that he’s no stranger to making music or performing, as well as showcasing his maturity.

“Love is in My Heart” is a heartfelt, honest song that was carefully put together, and the music video displays Riley’s artistic sense and performance style. Riley is currently working on his fourth album to be released later this year, and his next performance will take place March 10 at The Nines.

Viri Garcia is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at vgarcia@cornellsun.com