Ryan is here to bring back that old school, 90’s R&B we all know and love. Transitioning from rapping to singing, the Brooklyn native creates music off of vibes and feelings, staying true to himself and what he grew up on. In addition to his smooth, sultry vocals, the 21-year-old brings in elements of hip-hop such as meaningful lyrics and punchlines, and lays them over trapped out production. Read more…
With the release of his most recent single “Pull Up,” he gains not only fans, but also the attention of music execs all across the country. Now, after some time spent figuring out the business side of things, Ryan readies his self-titled debut, with no question of it being his best work yet.
For those who don’t know, who is Ryan?
Army kid from Brooklyn, New York. 90’s baby. Influences, maybe you could say R. Kelly, Bobby Brown — really stuck in the 90’s.
Where do you fit in the realm of R&B hip-hop?
On my own, by myself. I don’t feel like R&B is existing right now. Real R&B, I don’t feel like it exists right now.
You’re from Brooklyn, how does that play into your life and career?
It’s a certain kind of confidence. Being from Brooklyn, you deal with a lot of adversity. Anything life throws at you, you’re kind of used to it. Being from Brooklyn, you’ve seen the worst already.
A lot of people from that area say you can’t be fake out there, ‘cause they’ll call you on your shit.
They’ll call you out, really.
How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
Very important, I think it’s essential. The relationships you make out here, it’s a lot different than New York. In New York, you’ll meet somebody at an event. But in LA, you could meet somebody at their house and it’s a whole different type of relationship built. Producers. It’s better creativity. Overall, it’s just a better market for music right now.
Talk about getting a spot out here.
Initially, I came out here last year in September. When I came out here in September, I was staying at Diddy’s house. I was staying at Diddy’s house, just going back and forth from his house and my other friend. Just getting used to what LA was like.
How do you know Diddy?
His son Christian, we’re real close friends. That relationship is kind of what got me throughout the industry and meeting different people. They just saw that I had talent, so people fucked with me. I was staying at Diddy’s house, and now I just got my spot after I put out that record. “Pull up” got me a situation and a deal.
Just one record?
One joint. I just put the song out, and it kind of went international in the dance world. Then the labels didn’t know I could dance. so we shot a music video just to show the labels that I could dance. Once they saw that, they’re like “nah, you’re raw talent.” It created a bidding war.
Was dancing part of your upbringing too?
I like to do it, but I didn’t go to classes or take choreography lessons. I was just natural.
What was the inspiration behind keeping your name?
Can’t be nobody else. Ryan is just me. Anything else would just be fake. And it’s classic.
“Pull Up” is a vibe. Talk about bringing back that real soulful R&B from the 90’s.
I think that’s what’s missing from music overall. Any genre is a feeling. I feel like you don’t have that feeling of you wanting to text somebody, or you wanting to be in love, or you wanting to feel a way — music doesn’t have that. Not too many. Not to say no music has it, but it’s very important for R&B because R&B is rhythm and blues. It’s a rhythm, and it’s supposed to make you feel a way emotionally, which is the blues. The beat shouldn’t be the R&B, the artist should be the R&B, like vocals, etc.
Is the movie coming soon?
Yes, the movie is coming soon. It’s not the movie people are expecting, that’s what I would say. It’s actually something completely different than from what people think it is.
What are you currently working on? Any upcoming collabs?
Working on my project, self-titled Ryan. You should be getting that before the year is over. Probably dropping a single within the month.
You mention being in a bidding war earlier. Can you elaborate?
One thing I would say for artists on the come up, don’t let the process stress you. Because no one should tell you worth is, because there’s no price on creativity. Just focus on the music, focus on your brand, then the labels will come. The label situations will stress you out, because you feel like you may not be good enough or people are deciding how much your worth. Don’t ever let that distract you from the most important thing, which is music and fans.
Are you remaining independent then?
Definitely going with a label. We’re in the works with it right now. It’ll to be announced soon. It’s the home of R&B though.
I actually saw you post you were in the studio w/ Sneakk from SOBxRBE. Talk about working with him, who’s from the Bay.
It was cool. It was different, but the same. ‘Cause they kind of got the same upbringing. It’s the hood, just like where I’m from, but their lingo. It’s definitely a little more…
Yeah, it was cool to see their vibe. They approach records a lot different than everybody I know. It was authentic. They were like thorough. What you see is what you get with them. I fuck with them.
What is it you want fans to get from your story?
Not to be cliche, but anything’s possible. Being a kid from Brooklyn and making it happen, where for one, R&B usually isn’t it. Second, it’s a lot deeper than what I want people to know from my music. I want you to know that life is precious and really live your dream. I remember this quote, my creative was like, “You want to make the movie longer for the people that care about you.” Because the second you give up your dream is the second the movie become shorter. You want the people that care about you to watch a long movie. Because as soon as there’s a movie not to watch, your life becomes shorter.
What would you doing before the music?
Football. I was a high school football player. I played quarterback. I was like #3 in the city. I had college offers from Hampton, Wagner, Coastal Carolina, like D1 NCAA schools. I had a talk with my mom and she said leave school. That means a lot because my mom’s a teacher, and she told me to leave school to pursue my dream.
What are some goals for yourself at this point of your career?
To be #1. To be on track to be an arena act, and to make the best music. I just want to be best.
What did you do with your first advance?
To be honest, I took care of my little brother, my best friend and my manager Tariq, and my mom. That’s all I really did. I always had clothes and stuff, so it wasn’t really to buy clothes.
How important is social media for your career?
Very important. It gives people around the world access to your brand. I feel like if you’re not using social media, you’re a step behind today. Even something as good as a follow can change your whole brand. One quality follow can change your whole brand,,so that’s definitely important.
Have you had that moment?
Yeah, a couple of people. Diddy. When Diddy followed me, I was like “oh shit.” Like he respects my shit. But a lot of people, it wasn’t like I didn’t know them on social media first. A lot of people like OVO, like Preme. Preme followed me a little while ago. Eric Bellinger. It’s a lot of dope people on social media. There wasn’t no moment though, I don’t really get too hyped.
3 things you need in the studio?
That’s hard. Quietness. I need it to be empty. I need it to be by myself. At the end, I need girls. Just to feel a vibe with.
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
Wake up, gym or Runyon. From that, a smoothie spot called Open Source on Sunset. It’s fire. From that, then you figure out what’s the play for the day, whether it’s the studio or linking up with an artist or producer. But in the meantime to kill time, I like shopping (Supreme and shit like that). Then studio after that, then home. Then I play Xbox until I go to sleep.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
It’s 2 real special moments. One was low key through social media. Somebody that was following me for such a long time that they knew I rapped. ‘Cause nobody even knew I rapped. I started off doing freestyles. A fan hit me with a VoiceNote of my old music and was like, “Yo this is what really inspired me for me.” This was when I was rapping in high school. I was like “damn, there’s people that actually following your journey, early.” Real true fans.
That was special to me because somebody loved me before “clout” Instagram. That’s when I knew it was true. Another moment with a fan was in Japan. I was in a taxi at a red light. This kid saw me on a corner and ran in the street, and asked to take a video with me. I was like “damn, you want to get hit by a car?” That was crazy.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Besides me, Jagged Edge and…. this is hard. Can I put a genre? Jagged Edge and drill music, like Chief Keef, Lil Herb. It’s two sides. For me, it’s R&B and love songs or ratchet, just bop your heads.
Usher, he started it for me. My first concert ever was Usher. I was like 7 years old at an Usher concert.
Anything else you want to let us know?
Stay tuned for the music coming out. Stay tuned for me to change the world. Just stay tuned.