21 year old Pittsburgh college student and Philadelphia native, THA RIVA, has released two mix tapes, Breakfast Club and One Mind, as well as the EP FALL in his short career.
Rapper, screenwriter and Director Nile Overton, is the man behind THA RIVA and will be performing at Pittsburgh’s Thrival Music Festival on September 25th.
Nile has screen written and directed his last 2 music videos, This Life and Bread Winner. Both encapsulate his intimate relationship with the subject matter and the city which has impacted his music from a young age.
Since coming to Western Pennsylvania Nile believes that the inspiration for his work has kept its roots in Philadelphia but that Pittsburgh has opened up a series of opportunities on the musical landscape. Nile hopes to eventually own his own record company and be a vital part of the music industry as a performer and producer. I sat down with Nile to discuss his influences and how coming to Pittsburgh has been significant to his career.
Julianna: What inspired your name?
Nile: THA RIVA was inspired by my actual name, which is Nile. It’s my own take on the connotation of The Nile River. When I was 15 I wanted something that still connected to my actual name but that was original and stood out when you saw it, so I ran with it.
Julianna: What kind of films do you draw from when writing/directing a music video?
Nile: Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino, and Martin Scorsese are my favorite film directors. I really draw from films, just artistically, so when I work on visuals for my music I take a similar approach to how I feel a film director would, or how I would if I was directing… one of my favorites [such as] Do The Right Thing or Pulp Fiction.
Julianna: Who are some of your musical influences?
Nile: As a hip hop artist I’ve always been inspired by Nas, Guru, and MF DOOM. I’ve loved their music since [I was] 10 years old. So when I began making music of my own, their styles and just overall techniques as MC’s, was something that I always aspired to. I also really love Nirvana. Their whole approach to music and culture in general has been something that is so powerful to me, I love the idea of giving people your raw emotion aesthetically and musically and not caring about the “status quo” of popular culture.
Julianna: How did you get involved with Thrival Music Festival?
Nile:From working with the good people at Thrill Mill [I met] Solomon Ilochi… the founder of the music aggregation startup Heardle. [Solomon] was one of the selected members to work through Thrill Mill in 2014. Through his connections, he was able to introduce me to Dan Law (Thrill Mill VP) who does a large amount of the coordination for Thrival. After meeting everyone and attending a few of their events, I was able to build a closer relationship with Dan who has been great over the last year or so. He believed and trusted in my work from the beginning, and was on board with having me be apart of Thrival once he saw the direction I was going as an artist.
Julianna: What are your plans for 2015? Any new projects or upcoming collaborations?
Nile: I’ve been working on a new project throughout the summer, Melancholy Hope, which I plan on releasing in the last quarter of 2015 or the first quarter of 2016. That’s currently where I am musically. As far as collaborations there are a few artists who I’ve been working with and will be working with on tracks real soon. Once this project is done everything is going to come together.
Feature photo by Brennan Peirson