Introducing: Richie Krisak
Not many producers can say that they walked away from a desk job to become a DJ. For New York City’s newest dance pop producer, though, that is exactly the case. Richie Krisak was born in New Jersey in 1994. The son of immigrant parents from the Ukraine, being a musician wasn’t exactly a viable career option growing up.
No one in my family ever played an instrument, so the thought of becoming a musician was completely abstract. However, music was still a huge part of my childhood, and listening to classic Russian/Ukrainian pop music was a family tradition.
Despite this intense focus, Richie turned to music as a creative outlet. Over time he dabbled enough in drums and guitar to call himself a halfway decent musician. It never progressed beyond that, though. After a few years of playing junior hockey, it became clear to Richie and his family that he had a real shot at making it as an elite level hockey player. So for 10 years, that became the sole focus.
This isn’t one of those sports journeys that ends tragically, but eventually it was time for Richie to hang up the skates. In the end, it came down to: pursue junior pro hockey with no guaranteed outcome, or go to college. The decision wasn’t made lightly, but in the end Richie chose to make his way to the University of Richmond to study business. Following the herd of graduates into the business world, Richie worked at Merrill Lynch for one year as a financial advisor before finally deciding to focus full time on his music career.
It was during his time in college that his passion for music production really took hold. In between classes Richie worked on his production skills, starting out with bootleg remixes and eventually progressing to original productions. His early work led to attention faster than he expected: his early releases were noticed by Swedish label LINC Music (Sony Sweden), who offered Richie a recording deal on the spot shortly after graduation.
In October of 2017, Richie was scheduled to release his debut single. The song was called “Vegas” and was a collaboration with his writing partner and mentor, Ivar Lisinski. Then on October 1, Las Vegas suffered the worst mass shooting in US history, leaving 58 people dead and 851 injured. Richie described what followed:
It was tragic, I couldn’t believe it. Like any music fan, my first thought went to the people who were just there to have a great time at a festival. It’s supposed to be a place to escape. I was excited to start releasing music, but the label and I decided to pull the song. In the end, showing respect for the loved ones of those lost was much more important.
During the time off, Richie doubled down on growing as a composer and producer, and kept growing his catalog. He completed more than a half dozen tracks that he’s going to be releasing throughout 2018. The first of those is a dance pop track with Swedish singer Emelie Cyréus. The track is an uplifting, optimistic crossover record that deftly uses vocal chops as the key melodic differentiator of the drop/chorus. This is complemented by the lofty vocals of Cyréus, who seems to capture a youthful spirit throughout. It’s clear where Richie draws his inspiration: artists like Grey, Zedd, and Kygo as influences.
“The Beginning” is out today on LINC Music, and should be the first of much more to come from the talented New York City based producer. For an unknown name, it’s an unexpectedly strong debut. Richie Krisak has made it clear that ‘The Beginning’ is the start of something big for this young producer
This track is very special to me, being the first release under my new project, I wanted it to push production boundaries and norms while retaining a high energy anthem like feel. -RK