Natalie Rhea Riggs has become a driving force in the Texas Music scene with her creativity and artistic touch behind the camera lens. Between photography and film, Rhea has a clientele base that ranges from some of the biggest music festivals in Texas such as Larry Joe Taylor and Lonestar Jam, to some of the fastest rising names in the business like Mike Ryan, Sam Riggs, and Jason Eady.
Riggs recently decided to step out from behind the camera, and in to the fashion spotlight, launching her online store Avenue Rhea. Interested in all of the many facets that comprise this Fort Worth native’s entrepreneurial spirit, we had the chance to chat with her about her media production company, her new online store, and how she got her start in the business! Here’s what she had to say:
Texas Music Pickers: Producer, director, editor, photographer and now the owner of your own online shop, tell us what it’s like to wear so many different hats?
Natalie Rhea Riggs: Insane, yet so rewarding! I definitely get a unique perspective on the final product because I’m seeing it through from development to the very end. It can be difficult, though, wearing all the different hats. After all, I am only one person. If I seem to be in a hermit state, it’s usually because I’m thinking through 10 different roles. I hope one day I can find an assistant or producer that can execute exactly what is in my head so I can focus more on the big picture, but for now I’m a one-man-band.
TMP: Can you tell us about your recently launched store, Avenue Rhea, and why you decided to launch it?
NRR: I have wanted to launch an online store for a while now, honestly more for me than anything. I had so many t-shirt ideas for what I personally would want to wear that I couldn’t find in any store. Or sometimes I would see a cool concept, but the execution would not be there. So, I decided to bring my ideas to life and share them with everyone else!
Avenue Rhea was actually a name I briefly did business under a few years back and thought it would work perfect for an online store.
TMP: Do you design everything yourself?
NRR: I design everything myself, and I’m challenging myself into creating one new design every day. Not only to keep the store active and fresh, but to continue growing as a designer. As you can tell from the design work I’ve done with bands, I naturally lean toward the more retro, vintage, clean style. If Sam or I will wear it, it’ll make the cut in the store 🙂
TMP: I know the store just launched, but do you already have an item that is the most popular?
NRR: Everything has been really well received thus far, but I would say folks are really excited about the Music Heals The Soul™ tee; everyone can relate to it. Look out for some of your favorite artists wearing them soon!
TMP: Natalie Rhea Productions seems to offer everything when it comes to media services for musicians. How did you get into the media business?
NRR: Yes! I just celebrated my 10 year anniversary in photography (yay!), and have been in video for about 7 years. My degree is in Film/TV/Digital Media, but I can proudly say that I am self-taught.
When I was in college I worked in country radio, which is how that love for working in music developed. Over time, my projects and clients organically grew into a multimedia business, partly because of the need for it in the business, but also because I was capable of offering various options.
TMP: Do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on?
NR: I love both videos I produced with Mike Ryan. His team lets me take the reins from start to finish, so I decided to try something I had never done before on each video, which pushed me into being a better creative.
TMP: Do you have any exciting projects you’re currently working on or on the horizon?
NRR: For well over a year now I have been building an entire media package for artists, as mentioned before, but I suppose I haven’t really made that known publicly. They typically discover I’m a one-stop-shop when they come on as a client. “Oh, you need album artwork? Well, you’re also going to need new press photos, merch designs, social media banners, probably an EPK video.” I’m making a bigger push for my business to be known for that, instead of an “oh yeah, I can do that too.”
TMP: Tell us how big of impact visual media can have for an artist?
NRR: Visual media is absolutely crucial. Whether you like it or not, social media and the internet is the driving force behind all business now. This is how you not only introduce your music to new fans, but also get your face in front of management and booking. When I am working with a [potential] new client, I always give them my recommendations as to what will be the MOST beneficial for them at their stage in the game. Some artists want to come on strong with guns blazing, but for a developing band… 9 times out of 10 that’s not going to work. I say that coming from someone who has worked in country radio, visual media, am married into the business and has clientele of artists and artist’s management. Visual media is instrumental to an artist’s growth, but they also need to be systematic about it.
TMP: If people want more information on your store and media company, how can they find it?
NRR: My media company can be found at natalierhea.com , Facebook at Natalie Rhea Productions and Instagram @natalie_rhea . There is a link to my store on my website, but you can also find it at avenuerhea.com and stay up to date with new products and promotions by following @avenuerhea on Instagram.
Here is Natalie’s most recent project: Aaron Einhouse – Thinking of You