Rico Caruso and Michelle Lee, known as the Indie-Pop/EDM duo Rico & Miella, are quickly rising through the ranks and are looking to be one of the most promising artists we have seen in the EDM community. Between their killer vocals and their organically created lyrics, the duo will instantaneously become some of the most well respected artists in the scene. Rico & Miella’s avant-garde stylistic approach to electronic dance music is refreshing and innovative. We had the chance to catch up with them before their unbelievable vocal performance alongside Nicky Romero at the Protocol Recordings event at Mansion Nightclub during Miami Music Week. These two are some of the most humble, down to earth artists we have met-Rico & Miella have it together and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for them. I think EPIC might be more excited than they are for what’s next!
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: It’s awesome that you guys produce and record your own music! It’s your vocals on the tracks, right?
M: Yes yes!
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: We need more people like you in the industry! When did you guys first link up?
R: A really long time ago, we actually knew each other back in highschool, so about ten years ago? We started doing EDM about three years ago.
M: Yeah, about three years was when we created Rico & Miella.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Weren’t you two classically trained?
M: Yeah, he’s a phenomenal piano player, we both play guitar, piano, and we sing.
R: She started to sing at a really young age with classical training- we both teach actually! I teach piano, she teaches vocals; but we aren’t teaching as much now. Who have been your biggest musical inspirations? It doesn’t have to be EDM related, you can take this how you want it.
M: This is really hard for me...
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Ok ok, let’s do this, lets pick one in this industry and one non-EDM inspiration…
M: I know what he is going to say...
R: Do you? Well, in EDM I love Adrian Lux and Axwell, A LOT. I love the Swedish sound- that is what inspires a lot of our music. Progressive, Swedish, and cool melodies.
M: You can’t forget Porter’s new album....I am SO into that right now, it is ridiculous.
R: And then for non-EDM, you’re totally going to laugh but, I am a huge Bright Eyes fan. We are from the East Coast with the pop-punk scene, so Brand New also.
M: Growing up being a total singer and songwriter, I used to be obsessed with Alanis Morissette, and I loved her songwriting style. But someone who is in the game right now, I really enjoy Katy Perry- every move that she makes with her career makes me idolize her. She is so fun, pop-py and cute, I love it! I am also a really big Janis Joplin fan and The Beatles, of course!
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: It seems like you can respect an artist so much more when they write their own music, which is why you guys are so great.
M: Yeah, we write everything ourselves. It is really cool too because we both have our strengths, and it’s always like a “two heads are better than one” thing. This is how we are in the studio, we go back and forth with things all the time. We work really well together and with our writing chemistry, we just… get each other, which is hard to find when you are working with people in music. If you’re not feeling it, you can’t create something.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Basically, one person brings something to the table that someone lacks.
M: Not necessarily lacks, but we grow together.
R: It’s definitely cool-just for even the writing of vocals, my strengths sometimes is lyrics and she is amazing with melodies. When one of us brings an idea to the table, the other makes it stronger.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What usually comes first, the melody or the lyrics?
M: For me, the melody. I can sing a million different things and Rico will say “Oh, I like that”, and we just go from there. With the lyrics, he is the master. He is a poet.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What kind of elements do you put into your lyrics that separates you from everyone else?
R: For me, every song that we have had is about our lives; it comes from the heart. I think bringing that to the table, instead of just trying to write a hit… I mean, we are trying to write hits haha! But, these songs really mean something to us, every single one, every time.
M: Whenever something dramatic happens in our lives, we are always thinking “Wow, I’m glad that happened because now we have an awesome song”.
R: Yeah, haha, thats usually the case.
M: We write a lot about love, of course, because everyone loves a good love song.
R: Everyone can connect to it, and I think thats the other thing that we try to bring to the table, we take super personal things and make them relatable for everyone. That’s an important part.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Is this your first Miami Music Week?
M: Yes, its NUTS! We went to Ultra yesterday. I’ve never been to a huge music festival like this, EVER. I swear. I’ve only been to one, which was Made in America in Philly. The energy of this place is just so insane. It is so much fun everywhere, there is music everywhere, it’s a really awesome experience. Now that we are climbing up a little bit, I have a feeling we are going to want to be everywhere all the time.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: In these multi-DJ showcases, what do you like to put into your sets that makes you memorable for the evening? What do you want to be remembered for?
R: We have something really special that we have been doing. What I think is going to help us is that we are in the studio all the time and we can record vocals any time we want. What we’ve been doing is taking covers, Miella will sing something… for instance MGMT “Kids”, we have a cover of that, and we will throw that as a bootleg over a Tommy Trash track- then we can sing it live also. Really fun covers that people would know, but they wouldn’t expect it to come from us.
M: We did “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt… I forgot to say this but I am obsessed with early No Doubt.
R: We have a Brand New cover that we did. Tonight we are only singing, but we will definitely be dropping that in future sets.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: How much planning goes into something like this?
R&M: A LOT!
M: A lot of time, a lot of thought goes into it. We hold ourselves to a really high standard and everything is so thought out.
R: We are practicing a month before for vocal performances and planning and coordinating with Protocol has been a couple months in the making. It takes a lot of time.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Has this whole experience just been so surreal for you guys?
M: It doesn’t even feel real just yet, it will later... I think. It’s amazing because we have been doing music our whole lives and once we got into the EDM world, it just happened like THAT! It is really crazy that we’d only been working together for a year, then we did a song on Revealed, and after that, everything just started rolling really fast. We got signed to management, and now we are here, performing at Protocol’s party.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: You guys are definitely bringing something fresh to EDM. Do you think this scene will always have room for improvement or do you think the bubble is about to burst?
R: We mentioned Porter- I think Porter did a great thing with his album, stepping outside of the box. I think there are going to be a lot of artists that are coming up who are going to bring new things. That is the most important thing, because EDM gets a little cookie cutter sometimes. Everyone copies each other and as long as you are adding cool new elements to the scene, I think it will be good.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Do you have any new stuff in the works?
R: Yes, we have a lot of cool things. We just finished a song with Joey Dale- he hit us up and we bounced some ideas back and forth, we are really proud of it. Along with “Get Back” with Paris & Simo, which is coming out next month, we produced half of the song with them. We are excited to hear a lot more of our production style which has a unique tinge to it.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Who produces your music videos? They are really artsy.
R: Our production company, Betterdays, they do an awesome job.
M: We have everything in one place for us which is really special, we have a lawyer that looks over all of our stuff which is all built in in the same company. James, our manager, takes care of us no matter what. He’s got our backs.
EPIC PRODUCTIONS: I always like to end with, when you are old and wrinkly, what is the one thing you can look back on and be remembered for?
R: For me, I always want people to remember the songs I am writing because they mean so much to me and I’ve always hoped that they will impact someone in some special way. She has a special story about one of the songs that we wrote- if the songs were the one thing that people remember from us, I will be really happy.
M: I want people to remember my character- I feel I was born to do this, I know I was. My family always had a lot of confidence in me to pursue a high profile career and now I feel that's finally coming to fruition. I know we're not famous or anything yet but I want people to remember me as funny and always having good energy, haha!
AUTHOR CREDIT: AINSLEY ASHTON