Friday, May 28, 2010

Waiting for Paris: Interview with Andrew Ryan

Thirty seconds into the song, "Paris" was instant intoxication. The soft combination of acoustic, piano, and subtle accordion melodies combined with Andrew Ryan's mesmerizing voice, sets the tone from the very start.

Andrew Ryan's sophomore EP Waiting for Paris is a pleasant change from his debut EP, Summer & Fall. The new album show's a more matured and more developed artist, taking listeners from rock to pop jazz.

I thoroughly enjoyed the song, “Sugarlaced”. It is a very lounge, jazzy, and Michael BublĂ©-esque joyful song about a re-ignited love that happens every time "she" speaks, "...because her words are sugarlaced". Once the song was over, I wanted more. Pleasantly, I found that his other songs were just as impressive as the previous one. In a market that is over saturated with “wannabe” Michael Buble, Frank Sinatra’s, and Harry Connick Jr’s, it is hard to justify who is worthy of a mention. Andrew Ryan deserves that mention and with merit.

One song that stood out is the song, “I'm Not in Love”. It is a heart breaking and tragic love song, yet it is very visual and beautiful. Done with a duet with the lovely, Shelby Walker, they take the listener on a journey. Together they compliment each other and bring the song into a deeper level of beauty and while the story has a not so happy ending, the beauty of the song makes you forget it is a tragic song.

Much like this song, the album, Waiting for Paris is just as heartfelt throughout. In all his songs, Andrew tells many stories in a soulful and poetic fashion that melts the hearts of his listeners. His captive emotional charm is the very essence of Andrew Ryan, a voice that is a rare treasure.

Listen to a special 4-track preview with a special guest appearance with Andrew Ryan on The Great Unknowns Presents

Q&A with Andrew Ryan:
Back in 2007, you released “Summer & Fall” and that style of music was night and day compared to your newest release, “Waiting for Paris”. What was your motivation to go from rock to pop jazz?
When I think back to my childhood, I am hard pressed to find a musical memory that doesn't involve jazz in some way.  I grew up in a conservative Baptist household and the farthest my father ever veered from religious hymns was Sinatra or Big Band Jazz.  Because of this exposure, I naturally developed an affinity for jazz music and this love is something that never went away.  For years I toyed with blending jazz, blues, and pop to make a unique crooner-like sound that was solely my own.  

Call it naive, call it inexperience, or simply call it fear, but when the opportunity came to record my debut album - Summer & Fall - I was worried that the rock saturated market wouldn't except my style so I conformed to the industry.  Ever since that decision was made, I regretted it.  Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of Summer & Fall.  It is an amazing album but it isn't a totally accurate representation of my personal style .  So when I headed back to the studio to record Waiting for Paris, my only motivations were to set hesitations aside, remain true to myself, and produce an album that was truly reflective of my love for music.
When you did your first live performance and you played music from your new album, what was the crowd reaction like?
The crowd was not only enthusiastic in their reaction but they were genuine in their acceptance and eagerness for more.
Was that when you knew you made the right decision to move your music into a modern crooner direction?
I think deep down, I already knew that I had made the right decision but the crowds confirmation definitely gave me an overall peace.  It was almost overwhelming to realize how awesome and accepting my fans really are!
What originally influenced you to get into music? How young were you?
My mother, and church were my first introductions to music.  I was very young when I started singing alongside my mother in our small church.  It soon grew into a passion that influenced me for many years. 
From high school until a few years ago, you basically disappeared from the music scene. Why the long break from music?
I don't think it's fair to say that I disappeared from music.  After high school, I went to college, met and married my wife, started a family and completed a masters degree.  It was a wild and hectic journey which didn't really allow me to prominently display myself on the music scene but music remained a central part of my life throughout this time. 
What brought you back to write and perform music again?
During the "hiatus" of my college years, I never stopped writing.  In fact during that time, I delved deeper into my writing than I ever had before.  I think I wrote at least one song in every genre I was remotely familiar with.  I always knew that I would return to the performance side of music again and when Divulge Records approached me with an opportunity to sign onto their label, well that was all it took.
Since you have two different styles of music, which is your favorite?
Unquestionably, it is jazz-pop. 
What is your favorite song and what does it mean to you?
I would have to say "Paris".  I started writing this song three years ago and finished it in time for the EP.  This song is where my blend of Jazz and Pop became very comfortable to me, and I think that is when I became confident enough to push for my love for jazz on this EP. 
When you write music, do you share a part of your personal life or is it pure fiction?
It truly is a mix between both, but I would lean more towards the personal side.  In some of my songs, feelings from personal experiences, and sometimes I use emotions that were felt from hearing about my friends or family experiences.  There are times I may fabricate the story a bit to work for a song, but usually the song originates with a true emotion.
What music artists have influenced you?
I have been influenced by many different artists over the years.  If I could only just pick a few, I would have to say, Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Eric Clapton, Jason Mraz, Michael Buble, Maroon 5 and the list goes on…
Do you own an iPod or mp3 player? What is your top five most played artists on your iPod/mp3 player?
Is there anyone who doesn't own an iPod these days?  I think Apple is taking over the universe one set of earbuds at a time.  But to answer the question, yes. Recently my ears have been enjoying the following;  Coldplay, Harry Connick Jr., Michael Buble, Rufus Wainwright, Frank Sinatra
Do you plan on creating another rock album or another jazz album?
I have found myself.  Waiting for Paris was a coming out of sorts and I don't plan on diverting from the direction of jazz-pop.  I will certainly continue to evolve as a musician - which is something I think all good artists should do - but   what you hear on Paris is the true Andrew Ryan and anything else would be a disservice to my fans.  
What else is in store for Andrew Ryan?
Only fate knows what lies ahead.  Hopefully, it is a future where I can play my guitar, write songs, and share my passion for music until the end of my days. 
Do you have a tour planned for this summer?
There are a few charities that I am happy to support by performing at some summer benefits but no major tour plans are on the books for this season.  I will be testing out some new songs however, and gearing up for the fall which is when I hope to tour the East Coast and later hit the UK.

Find more of Andrew Ryan:
Listen to a special 4-track preview with a special guest appearance with Andrew Ryan on The Great Unknowns Presents
Offical Website
MySpace and Facebook
Purchase "Waiting for Paris" Ep on iTunes

Interviewed by Michael J

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