Owen Rivera has been a music prodigy since childhood. His talents have taken him to early shows supporting famous names such as Jason Mraz, Mavis Staples and Graham Nash, and well as landing him a series of endorsement deals (Soultone Cymbals, SJC Custom Drums, Tycoon Percussion and Ernie Ball) which started when he was just five-years-old.
Still only sixteen, Owen Rivera now shares his take on the festival favourite ‘Feliz Navidad’ ahead of this Christmas season. It provides an early introduction to the young musician as he prepares to release his first original material early next year via Curb Records. Listen HERE. Watch the video HERE.
Owen’s bright, breezy take on ‘Feliz Navidad’ is full of youthful energy and easy-going charm, its bilingual vocals reflecting his upbringing in California and his Puerto Rican family heritage. It adds to the storied history of José Feliciano’s timeless festive song, which became a worldwide hit when first released in 1970. It has since exceeded 500 million streams on Spotify, climbed the UK Official Singles chart every year since 2017, and has been covered by artists such as Kacey Musgraves and Michael Bublé.
Owen says, “José Feliciano’s timeless classic ‘Feliz Navidad’ has always been my go-to song for the holidays since I was born. My Puerto Rican mother would always kick off our holidays with this classic. It brings up so many fond memories from throughout the years.
I love watching all of Jose Feliciano’s live performances, but there is a specific moment from one of his shows that spoke to me. He said, ‘When I wrote it I wrote it to bring both cultures together, the American culture and the Latin culture.’ Being from both cultures myself, I strive to do the same with my music and I am grateful for artists like José Feliciano who inspire me to do so.”
A vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (guitar, bass, keys, drums), Owen has dedicated much of this year to writing and recording his own original songs, the first results of which will be unveiled early in 2024.
Owen was two-years-old when he was gifted his first toy drum kit, and it wasn’t long before he’d been found playing and singing along to classic tracks from the likes of Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, The Doors, The Animals and The Rolling Stones. He was still just four when he was discovered by America’s music trade association NAMM, who invited him to perform at their Museum of Making Music summer camp for teenagers.
That was the moment that took young Owen on numerous big adventures. In addition to his endorsement deals, he developed his skills in studios across Los Angeles (he particularly remembers visits from Tenacious D, who were recording next door), performing at NAMM’s Red Carpet Gala, and opening for their shows headlined by Jason Mraz, Graham Nash, Mavis Staples (who also invited him to watch her recording sessions), Joan Osborne and William Bell. He has been mentored by some of the world’s most in-demand musicians, such as Arianna Powell (guitarist for Olivia Rodrigo and Halsey) and Gregg Bissonnette (drummer for Ringo Starr, Joe Satriani and countless others), and even featured as a guest on Tom Petty’s Sirius XM Radio show.