By Jedd Beaudoin
originally seen in Popmatters
Harlem-based singer-songwriter River Hooks began her career at the age of 11 and by 16 was uploading covers of songs by Billie Ellish, Chelsea Cutler and others to SoundCloud. Soon after, she was writing and recording her own material, culminating in her first EP, 11:11, which arrives this October via Internet & Weed.
On her new single “Mountains”, Hooks proves herself a remarkable vocalist, who quickly finds the emotional truths of the songs, then reveals them to the listener with ease and an impeccable understatement that bodes well for the rest of her debut. Though she is not a singer-songwriter in the sense of a coffeehouse troubadour, she belongs in the storied tradition of writers who place the song front and center and is poised for a bright future in that arena.
She says, “I wrote and produced the song, once I came back from a trip to Colorado, last August. It felt really good to be producing again. I missed the feeling of producing music on my bed, working all night, and creatively exploring my mind. This track is about needing to take a break from many things in my life that were becoming suffocating, such as surviving in New York City. I moved to NYC by myself at 17 and have grown up so much since leaving all that I knew behind. It’s an environment that has forced me to hustle and cope with whatever life throws at me. I’ve grown so much as an artist because of ‘Mountains’. This song has really changed my life. I’m so grateful for that Colorado trip and what came out of it. It reminded me of my purpose, and it has had me working harder for what I want to accomplish as an artist. I’ll forever think back to that summer, with my Colorado gang, when I play this song.”