The Rise of Riley | Grace Alumni

News - Oct 04, 2021

He’s just 22 years old, but Grace Graduate Riley Ella has already completed several national tours and shared the stage with some of the biggest acts in the electronic music scene.

Achieving a residency at one of Australia's biggest nightclubs, Riley has produced a number of popular releases while performing all over the country. Now, on the back of his well-supported track 'DEEP DOWN', Riley is preparing for his very own 'Deep Down Tour' - a move set to take his stardom even higher.

Hi Riley, thanks for talking to Grace about your journey since leaving school! You’ve achieved a lot in the local electronic music scene already, and you’re only 22! How are you feeling about what you’ve accomplished in such a short amount of time?

Hey guys, thanks for having me! Yeah, it’s been honestly such an experience over the last few years. Currently feeling quite proud and content in what I’ve accomplished so far, especially in the last year or so during the current climate and restrictions

Tell us how this all started? Were you a music student while at Grace, or did your talents emerge after school?

Kind of a crazy story with this one! Had always loved electronic music my whole life, and it was actually when I went to Googa in Year 10, where I had a lot of time to self-reflect on what I really wanted to do. I returned after 4 weeks and purchased my first DJ controller. I was very open with what I was doing with my schoolmates throughout the remainder of Year 10 and 11 and went on to DJ my friend’s 16th and 17th birthday parties. However, it was when I was in Year 12, things got quite crazy… I was picked up by a very large underage music festival ‘Good Life’. I quickly moved from parties to festivals and ended up having to take time off school during my end-of-semester block exams to tour around Australia. My teachers weren’t impressed, but all my friends thought I was cool, so to be quite honest I felt like I was living the ultimate high school, DJ dream!

Were there any subjects or activities you undertook as a student that have been helpful in your career? 

I was always a creative, so actually picked up subjects such as Visual Art and Media. Surprisingly, never did music in school (not too sure why I didn’t). However, writing and composing music is a big part of my career now. Ideally would have been good to at least do music!

To those of us less versed in the different styles within the electronic music genre, how would you describe your music?

Electro house/trap music. Always love to throw in a bit of hip hop into my live sets also.
You’ve released two tracks this year – Deep Down and I’ll Be There, with both performing extremely well in terms of downloads on platforms such as Spotify. You must be happy with that considering the success of your 2018 track Kairo?
Yeah, I’m pretty happy with my progression in terms of my music production and releases this year, however I’m wanting to take this again to another level. Last year I had a lot of time away from the stage, and a lot more time in the studio writing music. I’ve been writing music seriously for the last 3 years now, and I’ve discovered this is truly where my passion lies. Kairo was actually the first track I ever released, and I’m stoked to see it still performing well, all over the world!

You’re a performer, as well as a music producer - is that correct? What part of the job do you most enjoy?

Yes! That is correct. Two different sides to this career. I LOVE being on stage to a roaring crowd, flashing lights and crazy stage production. However, it can be draining at times, especially the travelling. Music production and the distribution process is probably what is most important to me currently, especially while events and venues are limited, but the future is looking bright!

There must be a lot of pressure in regards to the time requirements of someone in your profession – performing late at night, finding time to produce new music, travelling for gigs – how do you manage your time, as well as things like your health, in this type of industry so you stay on top of your profession?

Honestly, I’d be lying if I said I have it all worked out! It definitely becomes a lot to deal with at times, however I wouldn’t have it any other way. I feel like I manage my time by getting enough sleep, having enough time to myself, having a great support network, and unfortunately saying “no” to a lot of Saturday night plans due to work. If I’m not travelling on weekends, I’m locked away in the studio, creating more opportunities! 

Have you got any favourite memories or moments from your Grace days?  

When I’d have a double period over at the Trades Centre and eat chicken and chips with Mr Prinsloo on Wednesdays. I’ve heard this still happens! Googa especially though.

What are long-term dreams? Where do you hope to be in the next few years?

I actually have no idea where I’m going to end up or what it’s going to look like. I am aiming to build a strong foundation here in Australia, before potentially living abroad, that’s always been a goal of mine. But for when that is, I have no clue. I’m just going to trust for process for now. I have an amazing team behind me also, which helps me keep motivated.

What advice do you have for any of our current Grace students looking to possibly venture down a similar career path as you?

Life’s short. Do something fun because success is whatever you think it is, not what someone else tells you it is.

Please tell us what you’ve got going on in the coming months so we can keep an eye out for you?

Just finished writing one of my favourite tracks to date, which should be out in the next few weeks. Really excited to release this one as it’s in a new direction! Looking like all shows for the rest of the year will be QLD based due to the current restrictions, however I’ve got a few more big ones before the year comes to the end! 

If deep pulsing Electro House & Trap music are your thing, keep an eye out for Riley and his high energy performances on Spotify, club shows and festivals near you!

To keep up with Grace's DJ Dynamo, follow Riley Ella on and .

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