Today we’d like to introduce you to Riko Morrissette.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I champion the cause of raising the human vibration by producing music and experiences that aid in our global pursuit for a better quality of life. My musical background spans over two decades, beginning at age 11, playing drums and keyboard in the church.
In the early 2000s, my parents began to manage my brother and I and we began traveling the country as a Conscious Hip Hop act called N-Authorty (minus the “i’s” to signal humility…); performing in a wide range of venues and settings ranging from community centers, arenas, colleges, churches, television, and housing projects. This work allowed us to share the stage with many notable figures in the Christian and conscious community which also rounded out both my musicality and my love for people.
At this time I began to produce the music my brother and I would write to. My parent purchased some PA equipment and a keyboard from radio shack about the same time my brother and I began to write our songs and eventually that equipment would double as my first in home studio. Necessity being the mother of all invention, I recall using a karaoke machine that had two tape decks one for playback and another for recording so I could record something and record over that recording multiple times layering sounds from the keyboard and my voice. I later came to know that this process was called overdubbing.
As with most artist, a large percent of my musical knowledge has been innate and intuitive, never having a musical lesson outside of chorus and some middle school band. Honestly, I felt it an honor to say that I “play by ear”, because I knew that it meant that my music came here with me taping into the frequency of the innovators and pioneers who also had no formal training. My spiritual upbringing framed my view music as a spiritual medium with real physical effects so I really believed my gift came from God. Of course, this was prior to me understanding the business of music and the importance of being gifted and scholarly about my crafts. Once I began to realize these things I was quickly drawn to the study of acoustics and sound engineering which greatly improved the quality of my work, affording me the ability to produce and engineer for artist in studios all over the world.
My musicianship, abstract curiosity and catalog of content all grew in tandem, culminating into a passionate desire to not only entertain but to simultaneously make content that would produce lasting effects leading to an improved quality of life for the listener.
In 2015, I released my first solo project called Free Hugs Vol.1 under the name I Am Maestro RIko. What started out as a promotional tour for the album turned out to be a beautiful social experiment and journey to self discover for me. I decided to pack up a car and go give thousands of hugs around the nation. We drove from Atlanta to Canada to California hitting many cities in between and the whole things was captured on camera and turned into a 12-minute documentary thanks to the Amazing LeeAnn Chisolm Morrissette of LCM photo and film.
The Album and the short documentary are reflections of each other in a larger way both highlighting the ever-present human condition and need for connect first to self than to the world. After that project, I formed a Band called Echo Maestro we were an electronic soul jam band and about this time I began to experiment with long-form cinematic improv with elements of hip hop soul and vocals. I also began to take the time to go deeper into my study of acoustics and I wanted to find a way to incorporate my findings into my music. I came across a few articles about Sound Healing and Sound Baths that really helped me see clearly what sound does to both the physical and conscious bodies. After experiencing a few sound baths and speaking with several sound healing teachers and practitioners, I started to experiment with some of the therapeutic techniques and sounds within my works.
Using today’s music production technology, I produce and perform entire musical compositions that are embedded with healing frequencies and sounds, inspiring affirmations, and dope beats- all in real time and never the same way twice because it’s all improvised. I began to record the performances to capture all the magic in the moments and since February 2018 I’ve been developing this body of work called, “808s and Meditate’. Essentially, 808s and Meditate is a 90 min Guided Group Meditation accompanied by live improvised instrumentation, played on digital instruments. Although it’s a meditation soundtrack, it can be played in just about any setting to set a very dope atmosphere and ambiance. This body of work serve as my personal pursuit to build a modern bridge between science, wellness, and music.
Many doors have come open as a result I began a month-long residency at a very popular wellness studio in Atlanta Seviin Yoga in Kirkwood. I have been asked to present my work and art at last year’s Dirty South Yoga Festival, and also asked to present my work at the Fernbank Museum Planetarium for a fundraiser for sound healers hosted by Danielle Hall of Sound Embrace Health a premiere sound healing practice based here in Atlanta. In addition to being requested to do several performances, workshops, podcast, and speaking engagements as an artist and thought leader on #SoundHacking, which is a term I use to describe using sound and entertainment mediums to retrain the mind and not distract. Most recently I collaborated Jaden Smith on a cut for his latest album and I released my second album on January 22nd, 2019 called 808s & Meditate Vol.2 (Live Recording) available globally on all streaming services.
I am now working with other brands influencers and artist to curate an even more immersive and transformative experience and am always making new music. 2019 will certainly be a year to remember in Atlanta.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My evolution has been natural, and as with any natural cycle, there are moments of ease and discomfort. One of the biggest struggles has been remembering that. My worst enemy can be my own creative power thus learning how to harness it has been imperative. As well as quitting my job, facing the unknown regarding financial security. Believing in myself and not fearing an idea of the future in my head that I created, discontinuing to imaging my fears and focusing on the best version of myself in all aspects. It’s not easy but thats where the beauty is!
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Maestro Riko story. Tell us more about the business.
My business is a brand Called I Am Maestro. It is a holistic lifestyle and entertainment platform that specializes in Music composition for entertainment, therapy, commission, and commercial purposes.
I am known for free hugs – a cross country hug campaign, 808s and meditate – Atlanta’s only synth-based sound bath and group meditation, and as Maestro – artist, producer, musician, and thought leader.
As a company, I am proud that I’ve been able to keep my focus on healing as a priority. And to be able to think outside the box in an industry like music production and performance thats already so saturated with working models that mostly everyone is already using. I’ve been able to do my work in so many places in Atlanta alone. To be able to inspire and affirm so many people is a great blessing, artist and listeners alike, to become more mindful of the frequencies they put out and let in.
I am Maestro is Unique because it’s built on the belief that good leaders make great leaders, so I’m in no rush to get a bunch of followers or anything else for that matter. “Quality over Quantity” is a concept that permeates my life model and bleeds into my business model. I take my time to make sure that I’m moving in alignment with the purpose of Love, healing, and innovation, always leaving room for change or the unknown. I am Maestro is about being the maestro (master/conductor) of your existence. Masterfully crafting the elements to create more beauty.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I would swap the word luck out for alignment. When I align myself to what’s authentic to me, I move far more fluidly and usefully, but the moment I step out of that flow I’m subject to all the doubts and fear that come along with being inauthentic to myself. Feel good to be paid to do what you love and not have to fake it so Alignment has been a key to my growth.
- 808s & Meditate Vol.2 $9.99 on all streaming services.
- Website: www.IamMaestroriko.com
- Instagram: IamMaestroRiko
- Facebook: IamMaestroRiko
LeeAnn Chisolm @ LMC Photo + Film