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Rio Leyva Interview: ‘I don’t want to be a character, I want to be myself’

While many ogle and awe at Rio Leyva’s seemingly superhuman creative process, the Internet Money producer insists that he’ll never stray away from being himself.

Handpicked by IM boss Taz Taylor and sonic pioneer Nick Mira, the 20-year-old musician is notorious for frequent 24-hour long beat-making binges on Twitch — crafting somewhere in between 70 to 100 beats in one night. Backed by a stunning track record of placements, he’s worked alongside Yeat, The Kid LAROI, Lil Yachty as well as IM mainstays like Dro Kenji, 24KGoldn, Lil Tecca, Rich Amiri and more. In other words, Leyva is essentially a human-AI DAW that our generation’s trendsetters have all-access to — if you keep cool.

“Just be cool. If you don’t know people that well, don’t be a robot,” he said to OGM host Hakeem Rowe. “I feel like a lot of producers are just so online all the time that when it comes to be in person, they might be around someone they look up to and they freeze up. I get that. When I met Nick and Taz for the first time, [I was starstruck]. But if you want to do this, you have to just go [and do it].”

Leyva’s unmissable ear was foreshadowed by the support of musically-inclined parents, who surrounded a young Rio with a slew of sonic inspiration. He admits that his studio is stacked with troves of gear — a catch 22 in producer culture — that he ultimately uses to create inherently weird, different melodies. Not only a fast-rising star, Rio’s efforts on the content creation side have bolstered his likeness ten-fold — hosting live stream sessions of cook-ups, vlogs and other recordings. Aside from earning perhaps his biggest placement to date, “BackOutSide Boyz” with Drake and 21 Savage, Rio’s looking past other hits in “Tell Me Why,” “Lot Of Me” and a large portion of Rich Amiri’s debut album, EVOLUTION, to create music of his own.

“Sometimes there’d be like ideas or beats or other things that I would make that I hear as a song, but don’t hear a specific artist on it. I don’t know if anyone would use it. I love making songs because it feels therapeutic to me. For once, I’m not making music for someone else or for it to become popular or some other goal. That’s why I have like 200 songs I’ve made, but I’ve only put out a couple because really, it’s only for me.”

Rio Levya to OGM

Nurturing a close bond with the IM-adjacent Lil Yachty, Rio Leyva (aka “the man, the myth, the legend”) chopped it up with Hakeem Rowe to speak on his journey into the industry, producing for Rich Amiri, Yachty, Tecca and Drake, his future endeavors as an artist, content creation and more in our latest Our Generation Music exclusive interview.

Watch Rio’s OGM exclusive below!