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As a child Ríos was member of his church choir, and in addition to this early exposure to music his father also taught him to play the guitar. After finishing his studies at the Academia del Perpetuo Socorro high school in 1996, he moved to Ghent, Belgium. For a short time he also lived in Los Angeles. In Ghent he joined the art academy, eventually deciding on becoming a professional singer/songwriter although still being interested in painting.
Rios started off in Puerto Rico with the band he created called "Los Mimes" (Jose Santana  on rhythm guitar, Ramon Nieves aka Mango Chupao on bass and Leugim Bustello on drums). He later founded the band The Nothing Bastards, and a few years later the more Latin inspired L. Santo. His debut solo album, titled Ghostboy, was released in 2004 (produced by Jo Bogaert), followed by his live album En vivo one year later. He has garnered considerable solo success in Belgium, even being chosen "Best Belgian Singer" by readers of the Flemish weekly Humo in 2006. Early 2007, he released his latest album "Angelhead" (named after the 1980s British band).
In 2010, Rios released 'The Dangerous Return', with Belgian jazz pianist Jeff Neve and percussionist Kobe Prossmans.
Rios regularly moves between New York and Belgium to perform.
His music is a mix of different styles: rock, punk, hip hop, and salsa.
His song Broad Daylight was used by the late Dutch film director Theo van Gogh in the film 06/05 (concerning the assassination of Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn). After the assassination of van Gogh, Ríos and his band performed at a last party held in his honor, because they were his favorite band.
In 2006, Ríos and Michael Franti contributed their voices to a project by Flip Kowlier, which involved a cover of the song What's This? from the stop-motion movie The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton. This single was released as a fund raiser for a benefit action called 'Music for Life', against landmines, organized by the popular Belgian radio station Studio Brussel.
In 2007 Gabriel Ríos wins an EBBA Award. Every year the European Border Breakers Awards (EBBA) recognize the success of ten emerging artists or groups who reached audiences outside their own countries with their first internationally released album in the past year.
In 2010 he contributed with Flemish singer Natalia for the single 'Hallelujah' to raise money for the same benefit action, this time for the people in Haiti. The Leonard Cohen cover was a number one hit for a couple weeks in Belgium.
- 2004 - Ghostboy
- 2005 - En Vivo
- 2007 - Angelhead
- 2007 - Morehead - A Couple Of Covers And Some Alternative Versions (Minialbum)
- 2010 - The Dangerous Return
- 2006 - Broad Daylight
- 2007 - Angelhead
- 2010 - Hallelujah
- 2013 - Gold