Meet the local indie pop band bringing feel-good music to the Baton Rouge music scene

When the members of Riarosa first played together, it was like a match made in heaven. Though they all came from different backgrounds, experience levels and bands, the five musicians flowed seamlessly from the start.

Watching them play together live at their first headlining show at the Varsity Theatre in September felt like watching a West Coast band at a ’70s-style hipster gig. The band’s sunny, summertime sound and electrifying energy poured into the crowd as fans joyously bounced from side to side. It was 11 p.m. on a Thursday, but no one seemed to care. That evening, the Riarosa show was the happiest place to be.

Whether watching Riarosa live or listening to its music through headphones, the indie pop band has the same infectious, uplifting effect. Catchy melodies, foot-tapping beats and funky bass lines send the listener on a carefree, blissful journey.

“My goal when I write music now is to just make people feel as good as they can,” guitarist and lead vocalist Maria Rosa says. “This is really my artistic outlet, my healing expression, my purpose.”

But the 2-year-old band is just getting started. With more singles on the way and the band’s first EP debuting in 2020, Baton Rouge can expect to see a lot more from Riarosa.

The indie pop band has been making music since November 2017. The group consists of Rosa, keyboardist Aaron Dupre, bassist Jeffrey Livingston, drummer and producer J.T. O’Neal and guitarist and vocalist Jacob Stanley. Together, they’ve created captivating songs like the debut single “Better Than Nothing,” new wave-inspired “Don’t Look Back” and their most recent upbeat single “Gravity.”

In “Gravity,” Rosa starts off singing, “I’ve got the world in my hands. It’s weighing me down. Feel like the ocean is pulling me, yeah. The current is strong.” As the guitars grow louder and rise up, Rosa confidently declares, “I am like a forest. I can do anything.”

Rosa says the band wants its audience to feel inspired when listening to the music. They weave positive lyrics into electronic beats and classic guitar tunes to create timeless jams that people can sing and dance to.

The band has performed at Baton Rouge venues such as Mid City Ballroom, Spanish Moon and Varsity Theatre. Riarosa has also taken the stage at local festivals like 45 Mini Fest and North Gate Music and Arts Fest.

As the year comes to a close, the musicians are focused on recording their first EP featuring all new songs for release in early 2020. The album will mix genres, plus acoustic bonus tracks. In between recording songs, the band plans to release music videos to give its fans something extra and a chance for people new to the band to see who they are as a group, O’Neal says.

Listen to Riarosa on Apple Music, Bandcamp, Soundcloud and Spotify. riarosa.bandcamp.com

Up Next is a new 225 series spotlighting up-and-coming music artists in Baton Rouge.

This article is originally published in the November 2019 issue of 225 Magazine.