Stephaniel River is an up and coming musician from London, U.K., who released his first official hip hop song “flame” on all streaming platforms in 2021. His unique sound meshes together drill and soul influences for a refreshing yet familiar sound. In this interview, we chatted with him about his influencers, what he’s listening to now, and more.

Hey! Introduce yourself. Where are you from?

My name is Stephaniel River, I’m from Camden Town in London, United Kingdom.

When did you start making music?

I started making music in 2019 shortly after I dropped out of university. I’ve always had musical skills growing up but back then everything I did musically like writing raps and playing guitar was really just for fun. I was at university freestyling and people were telling me “you’re so sick bro, you need to take this seriously” I’d say something like “nah I’m not cool enough to be a rapper”. It wasn’t until I dropped out and was losing my home and basically had my back against the wall, I had nothing. I thought to myself that there’s so many people online who make a living off things they’re good at like painting and knitting. I figured “I can rap, so let me just do it, how hard can it be?”

Who inspired you to start making music?

There’s not really a who but more so a what? Like your mind is a magnet to what it really wants to do, I feel like all those years of making music I just for fun and listening to my favourite artist a force and desire for my own music started to emerge from within. I didn’t always know I’d be an artist but there was a part of me deep down in my heart that always knew.

How would you describe your music style?

My music is literally a reflection of my personality. Deepest darkest desires, pain and fears. I’m on a mission to find my sound and because of that I’ve dived into a few different lanes just trying to discover that I’m very versatile and I’m about to show that to people. I’ll go from rapping multi syllable verses with complex flows. To singing and layering up harmonies and a track sometimes I blow myself away.

Who are you listening to now?

I’m listening to Tory Lanez, Fivio Foreign, 070 Shake, Nippa, YN Jay, of course, Duckwrth, Brent Faiyaz, Gorillaz as always, and Drake too.

What’s your best project or single so far?

I feel like my best is yet to come. I’ve really just been warming up. Been trying to experiment and find my angle but this next single I’m releasing called “never have I ever” will set the tone for my first body for work I’ll be dropping very soon.

Want more from Stephaniel River? Check him out on Instagram at @stephaniel_river. And, make sure you follow him on Spotify to listen to his single “flame” and to get ready for his upcoming single “never have i ever” releasing later this year.