• Izak Hannard

INTERVIEW: Ryan Kinder brings the southern comfort we need on his UK tour

Supporting Drake White at Manchester Academy, American country artist Ryan Kinder and his guitar gave us all the southern comfort we needed. It was no surprise to find out that it was a sold-out show. The stage glowing in a warm hue, the entrancing energy of country music captured us in the moments sang on stage.

Ryan Kinder is a thirty-year-old country musician from Tennessee who was raised in Alabama. Ryan Kinder sat down with VIVA and discussed how a tornado in Alabama inspired him to leave and chase his country dream. He discussed who inspires his songs and what it has been like on the road since signing with label Bigger Picture Group. Ryan told us that he’s a perfectionist when it comes to album titles and his next may just be dropping in 2019.

“I’m currently in the process of creating a new album. There’s no date yet, but we can hope to see it sometime next year. People don’t put much weight on album titles anymore, but I do. A guy I write with always laughs at me because I take album titles so seriously. I love encompassing an entire body of work with a statement that might be ridiculous or a cool phrase or even has some underlying theme with every song.”

Ryan explained that his childhood played a big part in how he writes music today. He told us about the time he first aspired to be an artist. A road trip in a van to California unlocked a new route with a requited passion for country.

“My mom was always playing records when I was growing up. I have this vivid memory of being in the back of a van on vacation to California. ‘Shut My Stupid Mouth’ by John Mayer came on. The whole tonality of his album ‘Room For Squares’ was a huge influence for me.”

A dramatic change in the wind drove Ryan in a new direction, which sent him on a new journey. Ryan described an epiphany he had after a natural disaster hit his town.

“Playing the south-east circuit in the U.S. really started it for me. I also studied for a while at the University of Alabama. Then, a tornado hit and there was this realisation moment that life’s too short. I’m going to chase this dream for real. I moved to Nashville right after that tornado and the rest is history.”

Ryan also told us how he feels about current music. He explained how music feels almost genreless in the current era and how sublime it is to watch it evolve.

“I feel like music is almost genre-less at this point. It’s so easily accessible that you don’t have to pigeonhole into a certain place. It’s a beautiful thing and a terrible thing in the same sense. Sometimes you get washed away when it’s genre-less if it’s not a complete clear-cut style.

Music is a broad and encompassing thing and it should be, which is the good thing about it.”

Ryan described that one of the most important aspects of being artists is to always be yourself to stay true to what you believe in. That the connection between the artist and the audience is important and should be honest.

“I believe that everybody needs to step back and check themselves from time to time. You’ve got to be yourself at all costs. Once you sell out and truly don’t believe what you’re doing, that’s the moment everybody listening to your music realises you’re just trying to play them to win. I hate that. You can see that on stage when a singer doesn’t believe what they’re singing because they don’t enrapture an audience. There’s a disconnect between the audience and the singer, so it erases ‘oneness’.”

On his incredible UK tour with Drake White performing at venues all over the country, Ryan said that it’s his ‘first time in Manchester’ and says that ‘it’s a very interesting and exciting city’. He told us what his favourite and most memorable moment has been on the whole tour so far.

“When John Fogerty gave me a hug on his last night of touring, that was amazing. I was like ‘I’ve looked up to you my whole life and now you’re giving me a hug’. That for me has been one of the most memorable moments on tour so far. People here in the UK are so supportive. After the shows, people are always coming up to me and wanting to talk. I love that.”

When he’s not writing music, Ryan explained that he’s passionate about keeping active and how he pays tribute to a friend who passed away.

“I’ve recently been doing a lot of triathlon stuff. A buddy of mine passed away a couple of years ago. He was in the army. He used to do cycling competitions and we always talked about it. After he passed away I did as many as I could in his honour. His wife does it with me and my wife is starting to as well. Apart from that, I don’t play much sport, but I do love baseball and find it funny that the UK plays cricket instead.”

“Everyday people inspire me to write songs. It could be talking to someone on a plane. I was walking down the streets here in Manchester and there was a homeless man and I saw a guy connecting with him. We need more of that guy in the world. He was trying to understand why he became homeless. It’s things like that I see, which really inspire me and continues to drive me to write songs.”

Ryan’s most recent album “The Road” is available to purchase and download worldwide on digital platforms. We’re really looking forward to seeing what’s next for Ryan Kinder!