Speaking to artists, I’ve heard several different opinions on what it looks like when you know you’re onto something. One, in particular, that I’ve always found interesting is that when you can look back on your work from one year prior and still be proud, impressed, or even excited about it. The one-year mark highlights a certain benchmark of longevity that all great art has to cross at one point or another, and in many ways, it circumvents a struggle that many artists go through of hating past work that some early-stage fans might love – a blessing and a curse that in some cases, can add difficulty to the transition that comes with growth.

I say all this to say that RILEY THE MUSICIAN is in a unique case, opposite to the aforementioned struggle. With very few other artists have I seen such a high level of artistic integrity and quality so early on in their career, from the music itself all the way down to the visuals, whether it be overall aesthetic or even the most minute details of typefaces, cohesivity, etc. RILEY’s latest release – “NINETEEN,” and its accompanying music video – support this statement.

Released as the second single from RILEY’s forthcoming project Ana Kennedy, “NINETEEN” is a heart-in-hand offering that highlights the coexisting themes of strength and vulnerability in RILEY’s work. Describing a tangled relationship, he uses a culmination of feelings, objects, and occurrences to break in the emotional context of the song, all whilst a flurry of fireworks and flashing colors grace the screen. The relationship between content and presentation creates a certain warmth to the release that almost validates RILEY’s vulnerability, the yield of which is an emotional release that offers relatability just as much as it does an odd sense of inspiration. And the best part is, it was all crafted by RILEY THE MUSICIAN, himself – a testament to clear, multi-medium prowess.

While I’ve likely already tied this one up in an over-complicated mess of adjectives, the simple fact is that “NINETEEN” is immensely impressive work, and being so early on in RILEY’s career, it’s proof that he’s already on a path headed toward longevity.

Don’t just take my word for it, though; check out “NINETEEN” below and keep an eye out for the release of Ana Kennedy on July 10th.