Aspiring artist Spencer Riley signed to popular music publishing company

Frontman of Riley and the Roxies, Spencer Riley, shares his journey of being signed to Secret Road Music.

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Heather Leith/THE CHIMES

Heather Leith/THE CHIMES

Heather Leith/THE CHIMES

Danielle De Phillips, Writer

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Junior Spencer Riley shares his story with the interviewer. | Heather Leith/THE CHIMES

Spencer Riley, a junior cinema and media arts major, has recently been signed to Secret Road Music Services due to his successful contribution to the music community with his band, Riley and the Roxies. Riley’s dream of displaying his music to the world has only just begun to take shape.

Gaining popularity with big music corporations

Riley — who uses his middle name in place of his last name, Alfonso — currently has two EPs released on numerous streaming websites like Spotify and Noisetrade, which has made his music freely available.

“I’m okay with building a relationship with different fans giving them free music, and hoping that they like it,” Riley said.

His music has been featured on Pretty Little Liars and a segment of one of his drum rhythms has been on MTV. Tommy Hilfiger has also decided to use one of Riley’s songs for a yet-to-be-released commercial.

Secret Road is an agency that is responsible for the careers of Ingrid Michaelson and The Civil Wars. Spencer was presented with the opportunity to sign with them through The Music Bed, a company that licenses music for photographers and videographers.

“They really supported me and after four months they called me and said, ‘Hey, we’re passing you on to this bigger company,’” Riley said.

Musical Beginnings

Riley got his start in music in fourth grade when he started to play the drums with his friends.

“I was always in a band,” Riley said.

Riley and his band entered the Battle of the Bands his seventh grade year, where Riley got his first taste of indie alternative rock when he heard Cold War Kids, a band with Biola roots, perform. 

In high school, Riley originally headed a band called Riley, but the back-up singers in his band wanted to be included in the name. He changed the name of the band to Riley and the Roxies based on the Roxy Theatre in LA, where the band used to play. His back-up singers soon left for college, but he kept the name because he constantly collaborates with back-up singers.

Riley was soon at Biola and started to record music in his dorm room with the help of the men on his floor.

“They would listen to it and give me feedback,” Riley said.

Faith and music

Riley and the Roxies is not an explicitly Christian band, but Riley believes God is with him every step of the way.

“The more that God influences your life every single day, spirituality will flow through what you do,” Riley said.

He also addressed the fact that many non-Christian artists state that God or some divine holy power is present when their best work is being produced.

“You don’t know what you’re going to say half the time when you are writing lyrics, it just kind of comes out of you,” Riley explained.

He emphasized the idea that God is involved in all aspects of his career.

“If you write truthfully, God will show up in your art,” Riley said.

From the dorm to the studio and beyond

Riley is working with both The Music Bed and Secret Road to produce new music and collaborate with other artists.

“It’s been rad. We already went on a really cool writers retreat, and that’s where I met a bunch of other songwriters, and started producing for those songwriters,” Riley said.

Riley looks back to the start of his recording in his dorm at Biola, and is thankful for the opportunity he was presented with.

“It’s cool to know that I created this music that has kind of created my career in Hope and Horton,” Riley said.

Riley and the Roxies will soon be releasing a new EP to different streaming websites for download. Riley expressed hope for the Biola community to support his music by saying that downloading his music is the best way to get his music recognized.

“I think the biggest thing is just listening to it, showing it to friends, listening to it in your car and just making it a part of your life,” Riley said. 

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