Urban Pop Duo URBANO Bring Talent & Family Bond To Forefront on Royal Family
URBANO is more than just a Philadelphia based urban pop duo. Urbano stands for something much more meaningful, it stands for family. John and Ris, the brother and sister combo that makes up the incredibly talented pair grew up in the suburbs and developed a love for music from youth. Individually they set off on their own journeys by pursuing solo music careers, fairly successful solo careers I might add.
After the completion of their solo projects, the siblings combined their unique talents and styles to create what they’d been destined to make this whole time. Recently releasing their debut album, URBANO bring a shining light to music, effortlessly delivering radio friendly hits. This is my talk with on the rise duo, URBANO.
Parlé Mag: Who are your favorite artists to listen to? Who inspires you the most?
URBANO: We have such a large pool of artists that we consider to be our favorites! We love music so much and it is such an important element in our lives. Just to name a few artists – Eminem, 50 Cent, Ja Rule, D12, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ashanti, Lady Gaga, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, The Game, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Drake, MGK, Logic, Cassidy, Chris Webby, Kinetics & One Love, Jarren Benton, Royce Da 5’9”, Crooked I, Meek Mill, Sammy Adams, Snow Tha Product – I mean we could literally go on and on – we value music so much and there are so many artists that bring happiness into our lives and inspire us.
Parlé Mag: Why the name URBANO?
URBANO: Well we are a brother and sister duo so at first we just went by our first names. Then we both thought – okay what about our last name like the Jackson 5? So at first, we decided on the name “Urbano Family”. Although, the more we lived in that name, the more we felt it wasn’t right for us. We have a very eclectic sound, keeping our listeners on their toes with a lot of different aesthetic styles. We also wanted to keep our listeners guessing with our name…
(John): Yea we just felt that URBANO was right for us and really created the spot-on vibe we wanted to portray. When you see that you are thinking – what is that? What is URBANO? We want to intrigue people and it helps us highlight our connection as a family as well.
Parlé Mag: How did growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia cultivate your style and influence your sound?
URBANO: Growing up we listened to many Philadelphia artists. Hearing their sound and passion gave us inspiration to create music. The many different artists who came from Philly always really showed their intense love, passion and tenacity for creating music. Although, we wanted to stay in our lane and only create music that was true to us. Philadelphia is a harsh city at times and we have talked about this with many artists. Some artists we have connected with from other states tell us they sometimes don’t really enjoy performing in Philly because the listeners are so critical. It can be very tough in the surrounding area of Philadelphia where music and sports are intense topics. Although, it has made us stronger and inspired us to be creative and make a unique sound formed off of all the talented people we have listened to all of our lives.
Parlé Mag: When did you URBANO begin making music as a group?
URBANO: We started making music together approximately eight years ago! Time flies when you are having fun! At the age of 16 John started recording music professionally in a studio, and thereafter I decided to follow in his footsteps! Once we both heard what we created, we were addicted and loved how it made us feel. John originally had asked me to record some hooks for him, but we still decided to pursue solo careers. In fact, Marisa’s solo career began with tracks featuring John. After we both put out our solo projects, we still felt all those years later that our best work was with one another.
Parlé Mag: After releasing successful solo projects and developing your own individual fan bases, were there any doubts about coming together for URBANO?
URBANO: We honestly had no doubts about forming URBANO. We had always recorded together since the first time we got into the studio. Hindsight is always 20/20 – and when we looked back and thought about it, we knew we had something more special together. We talked and worked together so much that it only felt natural. It was like fate knocking us over the head and we knew that everything was leading us to form URBANO. We felt we made the best music together and it shows with the overwhelming support this album has gotten.
Parlé Mag: “Happy Hour”, the intro to your newest album sounds like something that has potential to be on every radio station. Is that the sound you were going for?
URBANO: When we heard Cam Taylor’s production, we instantly wanted to work on creating something to the infectious rhythm. We felt a magnetic connection to the overall production as we listened to the instrumental over and over again. When we sat down together, we instantly caught the uplifting vibe and wanted to match that with our melodies, harmonies and lyrics. We jammed out for a while and the hook just kind of came out spontaneously. Our producer, Joe Logic, definitely enhanced and helped us put the whole vision together. We loved the way it made us feel and we just wanted our listeners to feel that too. The fact that it sounds like it could be on every radio station is just an extra bonus!
Parlé Mag: Your music seems so fit for the club scene, describe your live show for those who might have never seen it?
URBANO: Well we have performed together previously before making our album and it is definitely a collaborative effort. We work off one another and seem to work best together while performing. It is truly a whole production where we put our heart and soul into every single performance. The vibes are so important when you are performing and you must give these people a true experience. It is something magical, almost spiritual, when you go to see your favorite act and you have that electrifying feeling in that moment from such a soulful experience. People should leave wanting more and feeling enchanted – and we want to give that to every single person. We give a piece of ourselves every time we get out there and perform. We are looking forward to booking performances and showing people how much love, passion and heart we have for this album.
Parlé Mag: As artists, how do you feel about stepping out of your comfort zone to try experimenting with new sounds?
URBANO: We love that! Just as a backstory, we had solo careers and were at different ends of the spectrum. Marisa was a house artist and John was straight Hip-Hop. Now, we have stepped out of two different genres and formed our own lane so to speak. We love pushing ourselves, being able to experience a plethora of different sounds and aesthetic styles. For this album we tried many different styles of sounds, melodies, flows and harmonies. We just made what we felt – we didn’t have a specific sound we were targeting. We picked instrumentals after hours and hours of going through different producer’s selections. We would listen in our den at full volume and when we felt we connected with a beat, we would then start asking ourselves what emotions it evoked. Hopefully, Royal Family just represents who we are as artists and people enjoy our music!
Parlé Mag: John, what made you decide to shift from the rap game to the electronic scene?
URBANO: (John): Well I wouldn’t say I really shifted from rap to electronic exactly. I would say that we have created our own genre in a sense but I always bring the bars. I never want to abandon my roots of Hip-Hop and I love to infuse all of our songs with that same passion. We wouldn’t be URBANO without Ris’ unique vocal range and my Hip-Hop bars.
Parlé Mag: How does it feel to be getting sponsors from clothing brands whose roots stem from your hometown?
URBANO: It felt so amazing to see that these exceptional local brands were behind us! They are SO talented with everything they put out and it has been such an amazing experience to connect with their creativity. Collaborating with them has been such a dream and really an enriching experience in our lives. It is such a fun and expressive outlet for us and we are so happy that they decided to sponsor us! Check them out – Great Society, as well as Milli Wear!
Parlé Mag: What’s the hardest part about working with a sibling to make art?
URBANO: The hardest part is probably keeping a line between work and leisure. Sometimes each of us needs to just “shut off” but the other member might have an idea and there is no way of avoiding it. We live in the same house together so if one member wants to work on something, the other one is going to hear the instrumentals blasting. That can be difficult sometimes as people forget we are still individuals, working at different times. It isn’t like we can just ignore one another or pretend we didn’t hear them like a call or text.
Parlé Mag: Talk to me about your album Royal Family. First, why that title?
URBANO: We felt that it represented everything we wanted to portray as URBANO. We wanted to highlight our connection as brother and sister, showing our unique collaboration as a family. Going beyond that, royalty is a mindset we feel. The way you feel and think about yourself is what you become. “I think, therefore I am” were the exact words of René Descartes. Sometimes you just need a bit of courage, faith and belief in yourself to see what is on the other side of fear. People can sometimes get lost in questioning their abilities and talents, but you cannot live like that, especially within the creative world of art. It is a subjective point of view and you have to believe in yourself and do what makes you happy. We feel music is our purpose and we want to make others happy as well. We never lost focus of that and just made songs that we felt aligned with our emotions, thoughts, and vibes we were feeling. That is the embodiment of Royal Family.
Parlé Mag: How would you describe Royal Family for someone who hasn’t heard it already?
URBANO: Well, we have been working on “Royal Family” for about three years, diligently forming a cohesive collection of songs. We wanted to mesh our eclectic sounds with our unique aesthetic styles. It is a fusion of pop, Hip-Hop, EDM, Top 40 and urban flair. We actually had about 15 songs we recorded, but we only used the ones we thought were up to par for our listeners. We put all our effort into this – making a quality product and putting our best work out there. We try to always compliment each other’s individual style and make something truly distinctive of what we represent as a band.
Parlé Mag: The project released on September 13th correct? What’s the response been like from fans and audiences?
URBANO: It has been overwhelming almost for us. For three years we only had each other’s opinions. We loved what we made but you never know what the response will be exactly. Our friends, family and listeners have been so supportive and really love it! We are elated to hear this – as it is the exact reason why we make music. Pablo Picasso has said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose is to give it away.” We feel so thankful to be able to give our music away and people feel something positive while listening to it. Music is all about what makes you feel good – what makes your heart sing and your soul happy. We are so glad we can impact our listeners in this way and fulfill our purpose in life.
Parlé Mag: What’s next for URBANO?
URBANO: We just shot the video for our single “Happy Hour” and plan to release that within the next month or so! We also are working with producer and engineer, Lectriq on a full collaboration. This is something we will be working on for the next few months, so definitely look out for that!
The duo’s debut album, Royal Family, took a total of three years to perfect and their patience was the result of great commercially driven urban pop singles. Time will only tell what else the siblings can accomplish.
Listen to URBANO’s Royal Family Below: