Interview with Musician Riley Michaels

Today on What On What’s Good with Jovin Tardif, I am here with Ontario Based Musician Riley Michaels.  Michaels started making music at 8 years old. In our interview, we discuss his introduction to music, musical influences, his new single “Turn off The lights” from his new self-titled EP and much more.


Quick Fun Facts & Interesting Information about Riley Michaels

  • Opened for Honeymoon Suite in 2013.
  • In 2017, Riley wrote, produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered his EP “Toxic Love” in his home studio.
  • Performed at several venues including Rogers Hometown Hockey NHL Festival Tour Stops (2017-2019) and Canadian Music Week 2019.
  • Michaels released single “Now I Know,” on September 18, 2020 that gained over 47,000 streams on Spotify.
  • He will be releasing his brand new single “Turn Off The Lights”, on January 15 2021 with “One More Heartbreak” following shortly after.

1. Tell us a little about your introduction to music?

I was always very interested in music. My parents would often find me playing on my toy drum set or guitars.  I don’t really have any musicians in my family, so I never really had anyone to learn from in the beginning, but I guess I was just exposed to extremely good music at such a young age. Then, at about 7 years old, I had decided to join my very first singing competition.

2. You won 1st place in a local singing competition. Can you tell us a little about the competition and the song(s) you sang?

In my hometown, they used to host the Strawberry Festival, and it was like.. a huge deal to the local community. They held a singing competition, and I had decided to enter. I was really big into Twisted Sister at the time. (thanks, Guitar Hero) So I decided to sing “The Price,” by them. I wore a biker vest and fake tattoos and everything. I looked the part. It was sort of a shock when I ended up winning first place. And from there, my journey in music begins..

3. Describe what it was like sharing the stage with legendary Canadian musician Anthony Gomes, Paul Deslauriers and Jack Dekeyzer.

Sharing the stage with artists and musicians that have been playing longer than you have been alive is sort of like being able to meet your favorite superhero in the movies. These guys are all heavy-hitters and have tons of experience on stage. I think that the best part about sharing the stage with those guys was being given the opportunity to learn from them. As a musician, and especially a guitarist, it is so important to learn from the people who have gone before you.

Not gonna lie – I borrow a LOT of Paul DesLauriers’ guitar licks.

4. What was it like working with Tal Vaisman (Ascot Royals), Andre Kaden Black (Fefe Dobson, Walk Off The Earth) and Canadian engineer, Noah Mintz on your newest track, “Turn Off The Lights”?

Working with Andre Kaden Black and Tal Vaisman as co-producers on my new music was a fantastic experience. I have learned so much about writing, song creation, and a lot about MYSELF through working with them. The amount of experience between the two is astounding.

The amount of artists and credits that they have definitely shows that they are able to assist artists in creating fantastic music.

They both pushed me to broaden my horizons as an artist and discover new ways to express my feelings in music. They are both fun, energetic, and talented people, and I really appreciate all of their hard work in helping me work towards my dreams.

After the final mixes were finished by Tal, we tasked Noah Mintz at Lacquer Channel Mastering to put the final touches on the mixes and give it a warm, clean master.

Given the accolades and the mastering credits that he has, it was certainly a no-brainer to work with him. He is a phenomenal engineer, and an even better person.

5. What can we expect from the music video “Turn Off The Lights” that will be released in late January.

I am a huge fan of cinematic shots, coloring, and angles, and I really wanted to explore telling a story not only through the music, but through the music video for Turn Off the Lights. You can expect dark, moody, and at some points almost creepy and mysterious shots telling the story of a person who is so wrapped up in their career, that they often forget to spend time with the person that they love.

6. Just for fun…some of you musical influences include Led Zeppelin, Green Day, Aerosmith, John Mayer, Prince, and Elvis.  Tell us a favourite song from each artist and why?

Led Zeppelin

Over the Hills and Far Away is my favorite tune because I love how it starts as an upbeat acoustic song, and then immediately turns into a moving rock song with overdriven guitars, solid drumming, and of course the beautiful voice of Robert Plant.

Green Day

Whatsername is definitely my favorite.. And I don’t know why, but it just is.. The music is simple, but it’s those lyrics at the end, “and in the darkest nights, if my memory serves me right, I’ll never turn back time, forgetting you but not the time.” I don’t know what it is about those lyrics, but every time I hear them – I tear up.


Favorite song is Love In an Elevator! Love that song because it is a vocally pristine performance by Steven Tyler, and the music is an absolute BOP.

John Mayer

My favorite song from Mayer is between Wheel, Split Screen Sadness, and City Love. Wheel and Split Screen are from Heavier Things and City Love is from Room for Squares. I love these ones because they are musically brilliant, and the lyrical content is extremely sensitive and intimate. Otherwise – I love the whole catalog! Hard to pick one!


Too many to name, as him and John Mayer are my two favorites of all time, but one of my favorites is “Do Me, Baby,” off of the Controversy album. I love the raw emotion, and you can tell that he means the words that he wrote. Doesn’t get much better than Prince.

Elvis Presley

Elvis has always been a staple in my musical preference. My favorite song of his is “Tryin’ To Get To You,” specifically the live version from the ’68 Comeback Special. I make a point to sing it at every live show I play because that chorus is from another world, and the vocal power that he possessed is second to none, even to this day.

Riley Michaels new self-titled EP

  1. Now I Know
  2. Turn off The Lights
  3. One More Heartbeak
  4. Someone Like You

Toxic Love

In 2017, Michaels wrote, produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered his EP “Toxic Love”

Track listing

  1. Hey Old Friend
  2. Dance with Me Tonight
  3. Always
  4. Shadows
  5. Toxic Love

Follow What On What’s Good

Other Interviews at What On What’s Good

Tags: Riley Michaels, Turn off The Lights

Default image
Jovin Tardif
Jovin Tardif is a freelance writer, storyteller, interviewer, reviewer and conversation starter.