Last month, Riker Lynch was runner-up with his single Feel The Love on the 2022 American Song Contest, when he represented Colorado. Riker started his music career with R5 consisting of his siblings Ross, Rydel and Rocky as well as drummer Ellington Ratliff, with whom he performed around the world and released two studio albums. As well as having his solo music project – Riker and The Beachcombers – Riker is hoping to tour later this year with The Driver Era, and he is planning on releasing new solo music. Alongside music, Riker is also an actor, having his first big TV role in Glee and, amongst his other projects, he was part of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix. Having written and directed short film Aliens On Halloween, the film has won numerous awards and been selected at film festivals around the world including Festival de Cannes and Riker has plans for a future release of the film. We chatted with Riker about being a contestant on this year’s American Song Contest, his solo project Riker and The Beachcombers and his short film Aliens On Halloween.
You were a contestant on American Song Contest, how did you find the experience?
It’s been absolutely amazing! The whole team, the producers, the creative team, the other contestants, everyone has been so great. I’m so grateful to be part of such an amazing show. And to perform on live TV in front of millions is always something special.
Was there anything that drew you to compete in the competition and what was it like representing Colorado?
I truly believe that my purpose on this planet is just to entertain and to entertain as many people as I possibly can so any opportunity to do that, especially on a big show like ASC, I’m going to jump on it. Colorado has one of the most amazing outdoor amphitheaters in the world, Red Rocks. Anyone who’s a musician wants to play there one day so I’m honoured to represent the place where everyone wants to perform.
Can you tell us about your single Feel The Love and how long were you working on it?
For me, Feel The Love is about enjoying the journey that is life and celebrating what makes you feel so good to be alive. I got to work with some incredible writers on this song. Desmond Child, Vera Hotsauce and I worked closely with Andreas Carlson and Jimmy Janson. They were in Sweden and I was in Denver when we recorded it so we were sharing notes back and forth over Zoom which I had never done before but I think it turned out great. I think it’s the best song I’ve ever been a part of.
Over your music career so far, you are part of Riker and The Beachcombers, can you say more about this?
Riker and The Beachcombers is my solo music project. It’s all about spreading the good vibes that I want to share with my music. It’s the attitude you get when you’re on vacation and you’re wearing a tropical shirt with a piña colada in your hand, everything is going to be alright.
You are touring around the world this year with The Driver Era, is there anything you’re looking forward to most for the upcoming shows and what can fans expect from the performances?
Well, I guess we’ll see if I’m on those tours, haha. It all depends on my schedule. I hope I am! I would love to get back to Europe and Japan specifically because it’s been so long since we’ve been there. Australia and New Zealand too. If I’m there, you can expect my signature red glasses and full torque party mode!
Having started your music career with R5, do you have any stand-out memories from your time working with your siblings?
With R5, playing The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles always stands out for me. I had seen a bunch of shows at that venue before we played so it was such a cool experience to be on the same stage as One Republic and The Script to name a few.
How did you find the experience performing in different countries and seeing the fans’ response to your music?
It’s always something special to hear your songs sang back to you from people from an entirely different country. I love travelling and seeing new places too. So exploring new countries and new cities and then putting on a show at the end of the day is such a fun way to travel.
As an actor, writer and director, you released the short sci-fi comedy Aliens On Halloween last year, can you tell us about it?
Aliens On Halloween is about these two clueless aliens that come down to Earth for the first time and it happens to be on Halloween so they realise they can crash a Halloween party and go as “themselves”. I was inspired by a Halloween party that I went to in 2019 and the whole story just came to be in the middle of the festivities. I’m hoping to officially release it to a streaming service or something so we’ll see what happens next. Or maybe I’ll make it into a feature film.
The film has won numerous awards, how does it feel receiving recognition for your work?
I’m very grateful of all the success we’ve received. We’ve been selected to film festivals all around the world including Festival de Cannes, which was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. People seem to love it. My entire cast and crew were so amazing. I had some incredible support from fans supporting the film on Indiegogo as well which helped pay for a lot of the film. Everything that has happened with this film has been some of my most favourite memories. I’m looking forward to making my next one.
What is your favourite aspect of being a filmmaker and where did you get the inspiration from for writing the short sci-fi comedy and your previous comedy Lyft Me Up?
I love acting for sure but I feel very confident as a director. I pretty much just write so I can direct and act in films. But really my favourite part of filmmaking is the collaboration that happens with every project. I love working with different people that have expertise in different sides of filmmaking and working to get everyone hitting their peak performance at the same time. I’m fascinated that it takes like 500, sometimes more, to make a big budget film. How much fun that must be! I can’t wait to be part of something like that one day.
Aliens was inspired by buddy comedies like Super Bad and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. With Lyft Me Up, that was really just a test for myself to see if I could actually write and direct something and have it work. I learned a lot from making that.
How did you get into filmmaking and where did you start?
Filmmaking, and directing probably more specifically, I’ve just gravitated to since I was probably like ten years old. I’ve always been interested in performing in general, ever since I can remember, but once I realised I could use my parents’ camera to make my own films, I just did it. I would give my siblings and family members their lines and make them memorise them and then I would film the scene and edit it together. They were all usually scenes from James Bond or other action films but it was so fun. Directing just comes very naturally to me.
Do you have any highlights from acting over the years, which has seen you appear in projects including Glee, Death Link and Turnover?
Glee was my first big TV show to work on and I made some great lifelong friends from that show. So that’s definitely a highlight, but my favourite is probably working on The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix. I got to do a few scenes with my brother Ross and it was so fun. I played a heavy metal rocker dude too so it was different than anything I had done before.
How do you like to spend your time away from music, acting and filmmaking?
I’ve just recently become a licensed skydiver. I have my own parachute rig and everything. My dad and I go together a lot. I’m really into that right now. I also play ice hockey. I play with my brothers whenever we’re in California and we have the day off. We play in a little pickup league. Best sport in the world!
Do you have any favourite films and TV shows to watch and music artists to listen to?
I love going to the movie theater. I’ll pretty much see anything new that comes out but I’m not a big fan of horror films. TV shows, I’m a big Formula 1 fan so I watch every race. I don’t watch too many TV series just because I’d rather go to the movies but I will 100% be watching the new Obi-Wan show.
Music, I like a wide range of different stuff. It really depends on my mood. I like a lot of country music right now. Old Dominion, Sam Hunt, Russell Dickerson. After meeting Allen Stone on ASC I’ve been listening to his stuff too. He’s so good.
What upcoming release plans do you have for your work?
I’ll have some new music coming out this year and hopefully touring with that. And I’ll be making my first feature film sometime in the next twelve months. The script is written and ready to go so now it’s about finding the right collaborators for the project to make it the best it can possibly be. I think the script is super funny so if people think it’s half as funny as I do, I think I’m in good shape.
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