Hi, I'm Riana. I'm so happy you're here. Click HERE for my professional/performer bio.
THE PERSONAL SIDE:
I love calligraphy, painting, singing with my adorable brothers across the country (we’re signed to a national booking agency!), and I have a passion for writing, marketing, orca whales, and sending snail mail to peeps near + far. I love adventuring + traveling (especially on ferries + international trips), I ran my first 5K in 2015, and my bro Derik will tell you I make badass pancakes + roasted veggies.
Fun facts: I am the oldest of the Nelson sibs
Since 2011, I've eaten a pescatarian diet (for me, it's mostly vegetarian, but I do occasionally eat fish!)
I love treehouses! I've now enjoyed two Thanksgivings sleeping in a treehouse in the middle of southern Oregon. Yes, it was as rad as it sounds.
As a singer, I’ve toured & performed in 100+ cities in the last two years! I’m honored to be a U.S. Cultural Ambassador selected by the U.S. Dept. of State (2018, 2019, 2020) in Moldova, Albania, and Turkmenistan which was an application based selection process. I’ve been featured on The Huffington Post, and sang the National Anthem at a Seattle Seahawks home game for 69,000 people. In the evenings, you'll find me doodling, practicing calligraphy, going to a yoga or group exercise class, or keeping up with my closest girlfriends via text or snail mail, or better yet: in person.
I’m an introvert at heart which surprises some people, because of my career. I need a lot of quiet time to recharge, and recently becoming more open about my struggle with anxiety and depression, and discussing how I’ve learned to combat travel anxiety at speaking events, most recently for a local women’s entrepreneurial network, the South Sound Girl Boss Collaborative (formerly Oly Girlboss Collective). If you follow my daily stories & posts on instagram, you might have seen my travel “Pouch of Calm,” and I’m currently developing new projects to support others— especially those who are also easily socially overwhelmed, but demand a lot from themselves while on the road for work.
THE PROFESSIONAL SIDE:
I proudly hold a BFA degree in Musical Theatre from the University of Michigan. I've combined my creative pursuits in visual + performing arts with business and marketing interests. I've freelanced for Disney, Princess Cruises, FOX, NBC, and work in marketing + logistics with my family's Industrial Water Treatment company in Olympia, Washington. In addition to being the female vocalist for our sibling trio (Derik Nelson & Family,) I've single-handedly booked + marketed our two independent West Coast USA tours (to 40+ locations/dates!), and today, I handle all management + press requests.
I completed a 2014 contract for Twentieth Century Fox Television as a Casting Associate for Lee Daniels' hit TV show, "EMPIRE." By Winter 2015, I booked, organized, ticketed, and managed on-road duties and logistics for two of Derik Nelson's TAKE CHANCES TOURS totaling over 40 locations.
The TAKE CHANCES TOUR (a fundraising opportunity for high school arts programs featuring Derik and our band) was a two year project independently launched in 2013. At high schools in Washington, Oregon, and California, my brothers and our team provided inspirational seminars for high school students and full-scale professional concerts we performed. I personally managed over 40 separate venues, accounts, and tour dates, and designed all of the marketing, promotional video and materials, merchandise artwork and designs, and social media/website.
In addition to my singing, acting, and dancing experience in over 50 productions from Olympia, WA to Ann Arbor, MI, I have also shared my diverse jazz, pop, R & B, and musical theatre vocal training on the sea, as a lead vocalist / guest entertainer for Princess Cruises. I've worked on-screen on FOX's "Glee," behind the scenes on NBC's "Parenthood," and personally selected as an on-screen singer for Renee Zellweger's pilot "Cinnamon Girl."
I've composed the music and lyrics for four musicals, and have directed / musically directed each of the shows for kids 5-7 years old to perform. My directing ability extends to students in middle school, high school, and beyond. I was asked to compose a song specifically for a 16-year-old boy to perform as part of a New Composers Holiday Concert at Lincoln Center in New York City, where I also performed in 2010. I co-musically directed one of the most popular co-ed a cappella groups at The University of Michigan: "Amazin' Blue." I love photography, modern calligraphy, graphic design & illustration, and LOVE to travel.
My full length 11 track album, titled "More Like Me," can be purchased here, on iTunes. I'm currently recording vocals on a new album; this one with my siblings Derik and Dalten as a sibling trio project. Known as "Derik Nelson & Family," our trio is professionally touring in 2016, 2017 and 2018 nationally. We've recently been signed with the nation's largest booking agency, EastCoast Entertainment / ECE Touring.
I work with kids in all creative capacities. I taught arts & music education to children in Los Angeles, California and in-home singing lessons for youth. I'm admittedly quite skilled in puppeteering, operating hand & rod muppet-style puppets for the musical STARMITES in Santa Monica in 2010. Because I also love the crafty side of puppetry, I designed and constructed eleven original hand puppets for a musical I wrote and directed, entitled STARS OF THE SEA.
In 2011, I had the honor to work for Disney in Beijing, China. I was the only American at my center leading and managing the Disney English Summer program, teaching Chinese children English through the use of drama, music, and art, and working closely with my Chinese associates to bring the magic of Disney to 4-7 year olds. I went on to work "behind the scenes," designing and editing curriculum in Glendale, CA.
I'm a former Les Mills International Certified group fitness instructor, and shared my passion for yoga & pilates as I taught at two gyms in Olympia, WA before relocating to Los Angeles in 2010, and again to the Pacific Northwest in 2014. While I don’t instruct Les Mills classes anymore, I still love attending classes like BodyPump and BodyFlow, and I’m a proud member of a small, locally owned fitness club— the same one I used to work at years ago!