Monica Riskey, ‘19 is a rising star, with her first EP, “Brighton Beach Baby” coming out later this year and other new projects in the works. On Friday, Riskey released “Spring Lover,” her second song from the upcoming EP. At her core, however, she is still a Binghamton University student who reminisces on her time here.
“I miss [BU] so much,” Riskey said. “Everyone’s going to go through it. You know, I’m still going through it. When you leave [BU], everybody has to settle into what is like a new life. We have an opportunity to like, come back and visit but then [COVID-19] hit so I’ve been in like this awkward state of, I don’t know, everybody’s been through a lot.”
While at BU, Riskey majored in integrative neuroscience on a premed track, although she currently has no plans on attending medical school soon. Riskey described her major as “sexy” and said it’s a great way to help you understand yourself.
“[Psychology] is so hot,” Riskey said. “Especially, like, I feel like every female carries intuition kind of naturally with them. I don’t know, it’s just like, you learn more about yourself and then biology is brought in. So you kind of understand the biological underlining behind the [psychological] symptoms.”
Throughout her time here, however, Risky was sure to keep her passion for music alive, recording songs in her room and uploading them through social media. Throughout her childhood, Riskey was introduced to music in a variety of ways, from piano lessons when she was four years old to ballroom dancing in high school and every day exposure to different genres growing up in Brooklyn.
“You’re hearing all these different sounds every single day and you just start paying attention to what songs you like and which songs you do not like,” Riskey said. “And then in middle school, I really started liking rap and I started writing poetry. And then in high school, and middle school, I just wanted to make songs.”
Throughout high school, Riskey taught herself how to play guitar, how to navigate music-producing software like GarageBand and a condenser microphone she got for Christmas, and recorded songs that she first uploaded to Facebook. At BU, she continued to write and upload songs for fun until one song she wrote after a breakup got noticed on Instagram.
“We go through bullshit in our lives and then I started to write about that bullshit,” Riskey said. “Junior year [at BU] was my first time falling in love, and then this girl just like, we broke up, and it was my first heartbreak. So I wrote the song that week. And then two weeks after the song, I got a [direct message] on my Instagram.”
That message was from a representative at Suther Kane Films asking her to record a song in Paris, France.
“When I first saw the message, I was like, ‘If someone’s trying to kidnap me, this is some elaborate scheme,’” Riskey said. “Like, I didn’t tell my friends. I did research myself first. And then I was like, wait, this is real. Seems like it’s like a solid thing.”
After convincing her dad to FaceTime with the company, Riskey and her family flew to Paris over winter break and recorded her song “Blue.” After a breakup, Riskey said this move helped her get out of a hard part of her life.
“It’s crazy because that fully came from a time of me being very sad,” Riskey said. “Like, I couldn’t get out of bed for two weeks. That was the first time I’ve ever been in such a weird slump. And it changed my life.”
Since graduating from BU, Riskey signed with TeamWork Records and is in the process of producing “Brighton Beach Baby.” “Spring Lover,” released on Friday, is the latest song from this endeavor. The song was inspired by relationships Riskey had.
“I was just falling in love again,” Riskey said. “You know how it be, the simp life. What’s the point of falling in love if you’re not going to channel it? Let’s make some art out of it. I was on this fun adventure with this girl who was such a free spirit and felt myself like actively falling in love it was a lot of fun.”
Another song from the upcoming EP, “newton’s 3rd” deals with questions in relationships and going through despite uncertainties, all in a dreamy bedroom pop sound and comparing it to the law in physics that states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
“‘newton’s 3rd’ has two sections,” Riskey said. “The first was about me [being] in a situation where I was tied up in ‘love strings’ and I was just questioning what [was] the right thing to do. The second part was kind of a continuation of me questioning that, but it was about [how] now I like am talking to this girl from [Atlanta, Georgia] and have my strings tied there and questioning when and what the right thing to do is.”
There are big things in the future for Riskey, but through all these inspirations, BU has a special place in her heart as this was where she opened up to herself.
“[BU’s] social life, I think was the ultimate training for all of [the] socializing that comes later in life,” Riskey said. “You have to have weird conversations with really weird people. [BU] was absolutely a peak of peaks that I will forever remember. I’m very very grateful for the school. I think there is a place for every single person there.”