Singer, actor and dancer Rilan is unleashing the music video for his single “MoneyTalk” today (Feb. 9), after building a star-studded team behind him including Lady Gaga’s choreographer Richy Jackson and co-manager Joe Simpson (Jessica and Ashlee Simpson’s dad).
“I actually wrote the song about a year and a half ago, and it was really…I was with different management at the time, and they kept trying to make me into something that I wasn’t, and it just kind of felt like the stereotypical story of Hollywood where like you come here and everyone tries to change you from who you really are,” Rilan tells Billboard. “Thirty years ago, the people that were praised and famous were frankly talented. They were musicians and actors and artists, and nowadays people are famous for just being themselves. So it made me super angry, so I kind of wrote it from the perspective of those people trying to make it on Instagram, and then the video kind of came, and I was like how can I show this and show how fake and plastic Hollywood really is? And so basically it was me and my crew who are trying to make it in Hollywood and not being able to and showing how rough and tough it really is. You know, we come out of a dumpster. We keep trying different people’s facial features on our face and nothing really works, and it’s like totally satirical.”
“I just want to remind people that you don’t have to have money and spend it to be beautiful,” Rilan says of the video’s message. “It’s on the inside and you, yourself, how you look is great. It’s a shame that little girls have to grow up like that now with role models like social media models who are face-tuning their face and changing their features so radically that it’s not even humanly possible to look like that, but that’s what people aspire to be, so it’s honestly just a reminder that all of this that you’re seeing is fake, and real life is different than that.”
Last Saturday (Feb. 3) Rilan performed at The Peppermint Club in West Hollywood, CA, where he brought a model on stage wearing a long blonde wig, dressed in a tight nude bodysuit with huge balloons on her body to exaggerate her appearance while he sang Britney Spears’ “Oops!… I Did it Again.”
He explained the meaning behind the performance: “That character—they’re called ‘The Replacements.’ It’s someone who has become famous on social media and they have replaced those people who used to be famous like artists and singers and performers, and what she represents is all of the girls who try to look the same. You know, there’s a trend that people follow. Everything’s on nude and everything’s on skin tight, and the boobs are out, and the ass is out, and she doesn’t have a face because she’s tried to change her face so much that she looks just like everyone else, so you can’t even distinguish her from anyone.”
The Glee veteran also talked about pairing with Jackson. “I work with Richy Jackson who is Lady Gaga’s creative director and choreographer, and it’s kind of been a dream to work with them because I grew up watching him dance for her and choreograph for her, and it was pretty cool to meet him two years ago. I mean, our goal is to bring pop music back because I feel like pop music has died a little bit in the past few years, and so we were talking about how you make pop music, and pop music is about talking about pop culture and causing a little controversy, and so I wanted to show what it really feels like to be here. It feels dirty. It feels disheartening, and it feels like you wake up every day and crawl out of a trash can and try to make yourself into something, and then crawl right back in, so we worked together on the choreography a lot, and it’s just about energetic jazz-driven choreo. It’s really ’80s influenced and kind of ’90s influenced, as well, and it’s kind of going balls-to-the-wall because it just doesn’t seem like many people are doing that right now.”