Ahwatukee resident Riley Rae Kocsis, 16, has spent the past two years traveling between Los Angeles and Phoenix, studying music from across the world and writing music with her own flare. Next year, she’s planning to go on tour to perform her music all over Europe.

Kocsis has been writing and performing her music for years and released her first single when she was 14, but things have really taken off since she met her new artistic director, Sergio Lombo. Lombo is a Columbian musician who has performed across Europe with his own band, Pazport. Now, Kocsis said she has been honored to be somewhat adopted by Lombo as he has become her mentor to get her career off the ground.

“He has taught me a lot about different cultures,” Kocsis said. “We’re doing a lot of world music. I’ve been singing a lot of Spanish. I’m still keeping the pop image but infusing it with different components. It’s been really cool and really eye-opening for me to see the different spices you can add to your music from different places in the world.”

Kocsis, or Riley Rae as she is known professionally, has been performing her pop music all over Arizona, but by the beginning of the next year she hopes to leave on her first European tour.

“We’ve written almost 100 new songs,” Kocsis said. “To have people hear that new music is exciting for me and I think my music has definitely matured from where I started out. My writing style has definitely improved since I’ve met Sergio and I’ve been writing and writing. It’s evolved to something totally different from what I expected.”

Life has been a little hectic in the past few years. Kocsis has been rehearsing, training, writing and going from interviews to photo shoots to the studio.

“We’ve been working really hard for what we want to do,” she said. “This has been my dream since I was 2 years old. I’m not going to stop until I get there.”

The music Kocsis writes and performs is very upbeat. Her vision for herself is to be a role model to others of living positively.

“We write songs about love and hope and positivity because the world needs more of that right now,” she said. “I do this because I have a passion for it but if I can help someone else through it, that’s just what you do. I want people who listen to my music to know it’s OK to just be you.”

Kocsis is a former Desert Vista student, but she has turned to online schooling since her traveling schedule has picked up. She’ll graduate in December.

Riley Rae will perform in Arizona before she leaves on tour. A show is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Tesoro Lounge at the Days Inn in Scottsdale, 5101 N. Scottsdale Road. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. To order tickets, email rileyraemusic@aol.com.

For more information on Riley Rae, visit www.rileyraemusic.com.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.