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Ashlander leads online music, dance contest

Singer-songwriter-producer Tanner Richie of Ashland is hoping that his re-mix of a famous pop song will open doors for his career, if he stays at his number one spot in a national music competition.

Richie is a young man who’s set out to master everything needed to make it big in pop music — singing, dance, gymnastics, acting, video and sound production, all topped off by a recent degree in music business from Southern Oregon University.

He combined the many tools in his skill set to do a re-mix, leaving in place most of the dance-pop song “Delirious Feat, Kid Ink,” by famed producer-DJ Steve Aoki, but laying down many new tracks, beats and riffs, essentially making it a new — but recognizeable — song.

Richie and his two small chickens are the stars of the video, which shows him doing slo-mo flips on his trampoline, sliding down stairs on a carpet, dumping ice on his head and doing eye-grabbing shuffles and glides from the hip-hop tradition.

A body-builder who learned dance from YouTube and grew up with gymnastics and TV acting spots, Richie, 21, shines like a pro and, with 11,032 points as of Monday (you get points from your number of views), he has nudged his way up to first place on the online “leaderboard,” well ahead of the second-place contestant's 7,823 points.

Over 100 DJ-producers are competing in the event, which is sponsored by Guitar Center. The winner gets $10,000, studio time with Aoki, his song released on a label record, an opening performance with Aoki and a feature article in Electronic Musician magazine.

“It feels amazing to be second place now. I’m really excited,” says Richie, who composes music in the basement of his Ashland home. “It could be a big leap for my career. It’s something I’ve been working toward since age 7... The next level, for me, would be working with Steve Aoki.”

Richie has received a boost from many shares on his Facebook and from '80s pop star Debbie Gibson, for whom he did production work. She tweeted out about him. He posted his song Aug. 26 and within two days found himself at 14th place, he notes.

Aoki will hand-pick the winner from among the top finishers, says Richie, who uses iTunes to put his songs out to the public.

His music appeared on “The Real Housewives of Miami” on Bravo, “Girl Code” on MTV, and “Breaking the Faith” on TLC. At 16, he earned a certificate in audio engineering from Musicians Institute in Hollywood.

Tanner has performed locally at SOB Co., The Playwright, and Edenvale Enoteca. He has also performed with the SOU Jazz Collective at The Black Sheep and an OSF Green Show.

Richie grew up in Riverside, Calif., and got in his first play, a small production of “Oliver,” then moved into more acting. He still gets residuals from his TV work.

He plans to split his time between Ashland, where he has a girlfriend in college, and Los Angeles, the heart of the entertainment industry.

To view Tanner Richie's video and vote, go to aoki.amplifiertv.com/channel/tannerrichie. Voting closes Nov. 6.

Reach Ashland freelance writer John Darling at jdarling@jeffnet.org.

Tanner Richie shows off his dance skills at his home studio in Ashland. Daily Tidings / Jamie Lusch
Tanner Richie gets an update on online voting at his home studio in Ashland. Daily Tidings / Jamie Lusch