Transitioning from the soundboard to the microphone is a considerable challenge, but Futura is no stranger to spells of strong, course-altering conviction: he spent his adolescence preparing to enter a conservatory as a classically trained pianist before shifting gears to audio production. “I was about to sign my life over to the piano,” he says. “But then I discovered hip-hop and electronic music, and became obsessed with sampling and mixing. ” Despite spending a significant portion of his childhood performing, Futura held measured expectations on the eve of Riviera’s release: “I’m not expecting people to say, ‘Wow, what a singer,’” he says with a laugh. “It’s not that I’m pessimistic—I’m just realistic.