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Interview With Emmanuel Rivera Project

Neo-soul trumpeter Emmanuel “Manny” Rivera brings “an exquisite and tasteful platter of music for your ear, with flavors of jazz, soul, blues, electronic, ambient, funk and rock”. His first solo album, The Emmanuel Rivera Project, Part 1, was just released, and features some well-known names in the industry. We caught up with Emmanuel for an inside look at the making of this record.

Please describe this album- genre, feel, and the other musicians?

The musicians I play on this album are one of the best I have ever played with.

*Jean Sandoval on electric guitar and acoustic. He is also the producer for the entirety of the album. We did record it live but went into his studio Sandoval Music Studio in Meriden, CT to touch it up. He has played with some top notch musicians throughout the country. And also a long time friend.

*Tim Rouse out of NYC plays keyboard. He mixed and mastered all the live tracks as well as re-mastered the previous released singles that will be on the recording from his studio Nucleus Entertainment. Tim is a seasoned musician, traveling the globe with Grammy award winning R&B artists, as well as hip-hop and other genres. His resume is too extensive to list here. Lol!

*Lawrence V. White is on bass except on “Dolorosa Blues”. Lawrence is a straight pocket, groove-centric throwdown bass player. He knows when to play just at the right moment. He to is a seasoned gospel, R&B bass player.{{more}}

*Chuck Peterson is on drums. Chuck bring his expertise in rock on this album. You can here his rock passion flowing through every song. Although “Isaiah 53” is really the only rock tune, you can hear his musical voice in every tune. Chuck is also a seasoned and respected drummer.

*Nelson Garcia lays down his Tenor Sax on three live tunes. Nelson is a well know Smooth Jazz/ Gospel artist from New Haven, CT who really held it down with his playing.

*John Blanck is featured on the three previous released tracks. John is a well known and respected musician. Playing Tenor and Alto sax on all three tunes. You can here his solo towards the end of “Dolorosa Blues”. He is well versed in his craft and has traveled throughout with top bands.

*Frank Brockelhurst plays bass on “Dolorosa Blues”. His expertise in blues really brought out the song more than what I expected. Frank is a well known bass and guitar repair technician throughout the U.S. He has traveled playing with various bands.

*Manley Cameros was the engineer for the live recording. He also mixed and also engineered 3 songs I already have out that will also be on the record. “Dolorosa Blues”, “Amazing Grace”, “One Thing Remains”. He is well know throughout as a dedicated and professional engineer.

The album doesn’t target a specific genre. But if we do want to call it something, we can call it

Neo-Jazz Fusion…. does that exist? Lol!!!

This album has a great energy and vibe to it. You can feel the love and hard work that was put into it. The musicians here put their all into it.

What made you decide to create a solo album?

This is something that has been brewing in my mind for quite some time. I think I was like 20, maybe 21 when I wanted to record. I just didn’t really understand how to write music. I mean, I could write music, it just didn’t make sense. Lol. By the time I hit 30 I wanted to stray on my own from what I was normally doing. But, it really started when Jean and I were at his house on sunday after church watching some videos on Youtube. By that time I had a lot of songs written. Ideas were on paper. Jean just asked me, “Dude, would you like to record an album?” I responded, “With who”? “In my studio”! I was shocked and ecstatic. To make that long story short, I recorded three singles, but it wasn’t until the live recording when I knew the album was going to really happen. It took 3 years but it well worth it.

What was the biggest challenge in recording?

The most challenging was being patient. A lot of folks were asking about it constantly and I felt pressure to get it out ASAP but with the feeling was the pushback of being patience. That’s the hardest. I’m stubborn, but I learned to step back and let things happen as they should.

What was something you learned or gained from writing/recording it?

You have to come prepared when recording. It’s a long process to record. So coming in prepared helps the producer and those involve get the work done at a reasonable time. They do have families to go to, so that is something important and generous to take in account. That is something I learned.

I’ve learned the process of recording and writing music. You come in think of a way to record something and it just doesn’t work. I have learned to make changes on the fly and trust the process. It was very rewarding.

Tell us about yourself… where did you get started in music, your musical journey till now.

I actually started to play trombone. I was 10 years old. I practiced every day. It was cool, but it wasn’t for me. I remember going to the band room, at Luis Muñoz Marin Elementary in Bridgeport, CT., ready to hand in the trombone and quit. I walked in to this amazing sound come out of the band teachers office. It was so warm and angelic. I stood at the doorway of the teachers office admiring the sound of that instrument. It grabbed my attention. It took a hold of me. He turned around not noticing I was there. I said, “I want to play that”! From that day forth the trumpet has been my love.

I played in the marching band at Central High School in Bridgeport, CT. That was a great learning experience for me. Just before my senior ended I started to play professionally in local bands. A lot of latin music. Mostly salsa. Eventually going to New York and playing with some heavy hitters. It has been steady since. I also play in other bands that play in different genres. Like jazz, funk, pop rock, concert, symphonic, merengue, disco….etc.

What do you see yourself doing musically this year and in the next couple years?

I see myself introducing my music to those searching to hear something different. Presenting it in small venues as well as larger venues. Growing and recording each year.

What song means the most to you?

“Isaiah 53” means a lot to me. It’s a musical description of what Jesus went through from the moment the people chose for him to be imprisoned till his death on the cross. The hard driven arrangement and the wacky solos musically describe the confusion that took place.

What was the release date?

The digital release was January 18, 2019.

When did you start writing and recording for this album?

We started to write in the summer of 2015 and recorded the September.

What advice would you give to a newer musician looking to record an album?

Be patient. Listen. Trust your fellow musicians. Write from the heart. Come prepared to record. Trust the process.

What is the craziest experience you have had with music?

As a fan I got to see Nicholas Payton when I was 16 years old. I didn’t know who he was but his trumpet playing was and till this day phenomenal.

The craziest gig experience was in New York. It was a different type of crowd. Very “unique”. But they partied till the sun went up. I got home at 7am!

Do you have any gigs planned to perform and promote this album after release?

At the moment I am hitting up places to perform

How does your faith work into your music?

The love and passion I have for the Lord is shown through my playing. No matter how I feel my faith keeps me aligned to what I must do to accomplish what God has in store.

Where can people find this album to download?

They can go to CDBaby, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Music and my website. www.emmanuelriveramusic.com

If you could change one thing about the music industry today, what would it be?

There are a lot of great musicians that make great music that should get airplay.


Lori Lebel
Lori Lebel has been putting her passion of music to work in the business for over twelve years, booking, managing, promoting and photographing artists, as well as freelance writing music reviews, band interviews and features for top recording artists and indie bands alike with several online and in-print magazines and blogs. When not working with artists, Lori enjoys painting, spending time with her family, and exploring New England and all it has to offer.

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