Plenty of musicians have had unique starts to their careers, but rarely do they begin with a children's radio set. That's exactly how rising local musician E Ric, born Eric Taveras, first started with his experimental R&B sound at the ripe age of 12.
"At that age, I bought my first little piece of equipment, and I thought, This is what I wanna do," Taveras tells New Times. "I made up my mind very quickly. It's something about those chords and those arrangements that did something for me at a very young age, and that's all I've been focused on since."
Being of half-Dominican, half-Venezuelan descent in a Latin-centered city like Miami, Taveras admits that it could have been easy for him to fall into the reggaeton and Caribbean sounds that South Florida is famously known for. But the 25-year-old was more immersed in the R&B sounds of his influences, including PartyNextDoor, Tory Lanez, and Bryson Tiller.
Roberto Gatica, Taveras' closest confidant and manager, has known the rising R&B star since the sixth grade. Gatica remembers being blown away the first time he witnessed Taveras experimenting with his sound.
"It's been so inspiring to see your friends get better at their craft from such an early age," Gatica says. "I remember seeing him producing music off of a kid's radio set, with bunny ears and everything, and I thought it was this whack setup I'd never seen before. But the stuff he was making was actually so interesting to the ear, and it was reminiscent of the music we loved to listen to growing up."
It wasn't long before Taveras' talent would also catch the attention of other upcoming industry insiders. In 2018, Gatica met another producer and manager, Danny Gallegos, who showed interest in E Ric.
"What makes E's sound so unique from other acts trying to break through is his combination of determination, and yet he has a certain humbleness of knowing that he's coming from the future where not everyone's going to get it right away," Gallegos explains. "A lot of people would be defeated by that. But he understands that he is making stuff that is sometimes probably going to be ahead of its time because that's part of what innovating is."
Together, the trio makes up the White Noise Collective, a group of artists, musicians, and producers pushing the musical envelope in Miami that Gallegos and Gatica are working diligently to manage.
With the help of the collective, Taveras released his debut EP, Adult Novelty, a repertoire of soulful tracks that showcases his vocal prowess and experimentation with sound. Some of the standout tracks include "She Got Things," "Cover Girl," and "Loyal?" All highlight E Ric's ability to blend distinctive R&B and alternative music into a sound that is both nostalgic and fresh.
Taveras' charisma and attention to detail shine through in his music. That same charisma is apparent when he explains how his songwriting is influenced by his experiences with love, heartbreak, and personal connections.
"With this EP, I put together a bunch of experiences that I have lived throughout to date," Taveras explains. "But as a producer — because I always say I'm a producer first — it's really the sound that I'm trying to push and explore as of right now."
Taveras is currently working on securing performance dates and releasing new music in the coming months.
Though he admits many out there may not understand his music right now, E Ric clarifies that he's never afraid to bring something new to the table — and he has no plans to stop any time soon.
"The thing I really want people to understand is that there's a void in this city that I want to fill," Taveras says. "There's a space that's almost filled, but not really, in Miami's R&B scene. With this sound, we can change a lot in the music industry here, and I'm ready to do that."