Mike Ryan. Mike Ryan. Mike Ryan. That is the name I keep hearing and seeing over and over again. So I needed to find out why!
My search as to who this guy is led me to find out a few cool things including: He’s from a musical family including his grandfather who led the Texas National Guard for over 20 years and he has two uncles who are band directors and his dad has the music in him too! And his songwriting has been top notch for a few years now. so much so, he already has a publishing deal with Sea Gayle Music, one of the top independent publishing companies in country music, out of Nashville!
The dude is on fire and the main reason he is my spotlight artist!
Katie: Tell us about growing up in a family of entertainers. Do you think that drove you to be an entertainer?
Mike: Growing up I never thought too much about playing music for a living, I was very much into sports. Soccer, basketball and baseball had my attention early on and then football came around and it was all over. I was going to be a professional athlete and that was all there was to it. Reality set in around my senior year of high school and I realized that pro football wasn’t really in the cards for me given my size and overall skill set, so I started playing guitar. The more I played, the more I liked it, so I started playing all the time and writing with friends. That’s when the family background started to kick in…Gramps was definitely a showman and my dad was too and I was lucky enough to see both of them in action a lot throughout my childhood so it didn’t take me long to feel right at home under the lights.
Katie: Was there a moment when you said to yourself, “I want to be a singer for a living?” If so, when did it occur?
Mike: I don’t remember an exact moment, but It was somewhere around 2007 when I was “studying” at the University of North Texas. I had been playing acoustic shows for a few years until I was able to put a band together. We booked our first show ever at Rbar in Denton and then spent the next few weeks rehearsing and telling all of our friends about the show and when the day finally came, we played (probably very badly) to a packed house of very excited friends and family. I had never been more nervous in my life but we played great and everyone loved it. It took me several days to come down off of that one…you could say I was hooked after that.
Katie: Your first album was released only 3 years ago, and it seems that you’ve blown up in popularity in a short amount of time. Does it feel like a short amount of time to you?
Mike: I’m pretty excited about the pace of everything right now… It definitely wasn’t an “overnight” type of thing getting to this point, but I hope that I’m nowhere near my peak. If it all goes down the way I’m hoping, I will peak sometime in the next 10 or 15 years and then ride my own coattails for another 25 or so.
Katie: Lol! Great answer! So how do you define success?
Mike: Longevity. Keeping peoples attention and continuing to gain new fans over the length of your career is what I would call successful. As an example, we recently played a show with a country act that had massive success back in the 90s. He wrote a bunch of hit songs and won a few Grammy’s and continues to play about 80 dates a year in front of thousands of fans each night that are anywhere from 10 to probably 70 years old. He continues to make new fans along with keeping the attention of his current ones. Having that sort of longevity is how I would define success. That, and Grammy’s.
Katie: Pick three songwriters you want to sit down with to write a hit. Who are they? And why did you pick those 3?
Mike: It’s hard to pick just three, but I will give it a shot.
1. Don Henley – For a ton of reasons. First of all, he wrote a bunch of the songs that were hits with The Eagles which is probably my favorite band ever. He has arguably the coolest voice of all time AND we attended the same college.
2. Bernie Taupin – He provided the lyrical genius for most of Elton Johns’ hit songs. It would be pretty awesome if Elton could sit in too and lend us a melody.
3. John Mayer – The guy doesn’t really need an introduction, but I have been a huge fan of his for a long time. He is a very interesting songwriter and I really like his melodies. He could also teach me about one billion things on the guitar.
Awesome! Thank you Mike!
If you want to find out more about Mike and where you can see him play, go to www.mikeryan.com.