We chat to our March featured artist Derek Ryan in an exclusive interview where he discusses the music industry, boybands, plans for his new album besides his musical inspirations.
What is it like being a solo artist compared to being in a boyband (D-Side)
It is very different. I am in full control musically and creatively. Our show is completely live music so it’s worlds apart really. To have the opportunity second time round and to be back in the charts here in Ireland and the UK is an honor. The fact that I’m getting to perform my original music every night is great. The best feeling.
Do you know Westlife or Boyzone?
I have met some of the guys down through the years but wouldn’t know them personally.
Would you ever do Eurovision for Ireland?
I would love to write a song for Eurovision and have someone else perform it. It’s not really my thing as an artist but yes to be involved in Eurovision from a writing point of view would be something I’d consider.
Do women really swoon over Daniel O’Donnell?
I’m sure they do. Daniel has had a long healthy career in the music industry and to be still top of his game is a credit. He is a fantastic entertainer. To sit and watch him work an audience is an education in itself.
Who would you most like to duet with?
There’s a lst of people I would love to duet with. From an Irish perspective, Johnny Mcevoy has always been a great influence on my singing/writing style so would love to work with him. It would be pretty cool to duet with Carrie Underwood for lots of reasons!!!
What would you like to have achieved in the next couple of years?
Just keep building and spreading my wings. Plans are now in place for an Australian tour etc so breaking new ground while continuing to grow as an artist/performer.
Who/What inspire you to do what you do?
I was first inspired at a Garth Brooks concert in Croke Park when I was younger. He made country music “cool” in my eyes, and I have always wanted to get into the country genre since then. I write all of my own music, and I get most of my inspiration for my songs while on the road. I’m on the road most of the time, doing 3-4 shows a week, so I meet a lot of new people and visit so many different, beautiful places. My original songs all have a story behind them, and if you listen to the words, you’ll hear the story.
How much of your life and background has influenced you to become a singer/songwriter?
I grew up around music. It’s always been in my genes for me to get involved in music, my dad is in music as is my brother. I’ve always loved music and performing, but I never thought that I would make a successful career out of it! I’ve been writing songs since I was about 13, and I’ve never stopped since. When I was a kid I took went to and took part in fleadh ceoils, Irish music, I even have to All-Ireland medals in bodhran and ceili drumming! My playing on the music scene started when I began playing regularly at socials with my brother Adrian as the Ryan Brothers.
Do you live by any motto?
I tend to not live in the past so ‘when one door closes, its shut’ sounds good to me.
If you could spend a day and night with anyone anywhere in the world who would it be? where? what would you do?
If Johnny Cash was still alive I think it would be pretty cool to sit with him, two guitars, and a camp fire and just listen to the stories he has to tell and the songs he has written. It would be one long, fascinating night I’d imagine.
What is next for you this year?
Well we have a concert/dance tour of Ireland and the UK as well as headlining many festivals over the summer which is really exciting. I will also be releasing a new studio album August so I’m now in the process of recording it. Then I will be going “down under”, to Australia in September! Busy few year ahead, but I am so excited with what’s around the corner.
Can we ever expect to see you on the big reunion? If no why?
No, I don’t think so. We were approached to do a few things over the past few years and it just never suited us all. I’m so busy with my own thing, I like to just focus my own career for now, it’s an exciting time for country music and don’t want to take my foot off the pedal! I’m loving it!
Do you have any hidden talents?
Not that I can think of! What you see is what you get with me.
Would you ever like to be in a boyband again?
I loved my time in a boy band, but I love the road that my career has taken now.
What advice would you give to people wanting to follow their dreams?
It’s never too late to do what you want. If you go down another road, don’t worry, it will lead to your dreams eventually, you just have to want it enough!
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
There have been so many. We’ve just announced our concert show in The Olympia Theatre Dublin, which I’m sure will be a highlight this July and have sold out many prestigious venues which is always nice. Entering the charts with Country Soul album was a highlight and a very proud moment for me and my family as they know how hard I’ve worked to get back up there after my boyband days.
If you could change anything what would it be and why?
I would change the fact that everyone is so accessible these days, sometimes I would love to switch my phone off for a month and just chill out and write songs. I might just do that some day!
Where can people contact you and see your music?
You can find me and my music on my website and social media:
Find out about our FEATURED ARTIST section http://markmeets.com/featured-artist/featured-artist/
Questions by Charley Jean. Interview by Entertainment Journalist, PR Professional & Social & Media Expert Mark Boardman. (Recently starred in the West end show SPAMALOT).