Tanya Ryan Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show
has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you for
the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play
to someone who has never seen or heard you?
system I’m using to describe myself lately is that I’m like a weird
math equation that involves Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones and Colbie Caillat.
I’m sort of the product of that equation! My new album Open in
particular plays with a variety of sounds and styles. I have really
enjoyed the flexibility of playing on the lines of various genres, I
really got to stretch my legs. And I’m really excited for future
projects because it feels like this was a good stepping stone into the
potential of what I can do.
How was the last year for you? What were your highlights?
past year has been really intense! I was able to finish all my songs,
wrap up the production of this album and start to get it ready for
release. In August I played at a festival called Big Valley Jamboree,
which has been on my bucket list for years – so that was really
wonderful. And as of the fall, my husband and I are expecting – so we’ll
be having a real shift come April this year!
How did you choose the title for the CD? Is there a story behind the name?
This album was created in a specific period of time that it became
incredibly important to me to represent myself as honestly and with as
much vulnerability as possible. Each song written for this project was
created with that intention behind it; they are as true to my own
feelings and experiences as I could make them. By the time it was
finished, the title seemed to come really naturally – everything sort of
spoke for itself, it was all out in the open; so it seemed fitting that
my album title became: “Open”.
Please tell us about the songs on your album (influences, etc).
theme with approaching every song on this album was that I felt truly
compelled to make sure that every single line of each song felt real,
authentic, honest, and entirely transparent. I wrote from exactly what I
was feeling, what I was going through – and what ultimately fell
together in each song that was chosen to be a part of this project, was
this underlying theme of love. Each song deals with some angle or aspect
of love – romantic love, the idea of love, pursuing the career and
passion you love, mother’s love, self love, and good ol’ fashioned
What kind of songs do you like to record the most?
like to record ones that force me into a place where I really need to
commit to emoting vocally. I really do my best to convey emotions
through my voice, through the textures, the notes, the tones… So when
there’s a song I can really dig in and create an emotional journey,
those are the ones that are the most fun. I get to test myself, I get to
try new things and explore more of my voice. I love it.
What can your fans expect to see when they see you in concert?
have been building my show quite intentionally over the last 2 years –
and it’s transformed from a simple setlist of songs into a complete
narrative that’s accompanied by music. I integrate a lot of stories, I
share the origin of the songs, as well as what was occurring in my life
while they were being created. My goal with this delivery is that my
audience members leave with an authentic experience; not simply that
they went out and watched some live music – but instead that they leave
feeling something real. My philosophy is that if I don’t get my people
laughing AND crying during the show… then I didn’t do my job.
What’s the best compliment a fan has ever given you?
best thing that anyone’s said to me is that it feels like I’ve put
something into words that they couldn’t. Meaning they can deeply relate
to my experience; and that also means that I was able to deliver that
intention in an effective way. That’s such a huge deal. It provides
evidence for my ongoing [informal] study that humans are all
interconnected, no matter how much external circumstances might present
otherwise, at the root of who we are, we all have common ground. And I
love that so much.
What has been your greatest challenge in music business?
think this business gives you so many opportunities for personal growth
and to overcome challenges. I feel my most prevalent challenge that I
continue to face is my own self doubt. It’s a blessing that many of us
artists are gifted, we get to channel our creative impulses into
tangible realities… but with that much of our soul exposed for everyone
to see – it becomes a dance between bravery and stupidity. It’s hard not
to want people to like the product that’s created from within you. It’s
hard to let go of the outcome and the result. I find that for me it’s
almost a daily practice; reminding myself that I’m not meant to be
involved in the impact that my creations make, but rather be completely
committed to the creations themselves.
If you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?
industry is such a brilliant, bold, and chaotic place. There’s so much
about it that I love. If I were to make changes, I would love to see
more women in various roles – more female record executives, more female
producers, more women in management and leading promotion companies. I
am really glad to see that country music is starting to make room for
the LGBTQ community, and I look forward to seeing that grow. I do think
that it’s incredibly difficult for artists and writers to make money
from their art, and as much as I love streaming and that its made music
so accessible – I really hope there’s some sort of re-evaluation in the
future that creates an opportunity for creators to be more fairly
compensated for their work.
What drives you?
few things. I think if human beings are honest we are driven by an
array of things ranging from healthy, to less healthy. The healthy thing
that drives me is my desire to create. That I simply can’t fathom my
life without channeling my feelings and experiences into my work. I live
for the studio experience and the chance to hear music come together in
real life from this abstract concept that it was initially while it was
in my head. The less-healthy aspect of my drive is my fear of failure.
This has gotten me into trouble a few times because I can push past the
natural cues of my body and my life, and continue to pursue avenues that
don’t really serve me – simply because I cannot fathom the idea of
failing. I do my very best every day to work from my healthy drive – and
less from the other; and if I’m honest, I know that my best work and
results always come back to my passion for creating. That’s where the
magic of the process is… in that pure form of raw creativity.
Photo Credit – Natalie Pinchak