Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Just Want to Talk”?
I absolutely can. In my opinion, the tune is a semi-rocker with a seasoning of pop. I came up with the hook while sitting at a row machine in the crew gym during my contract onboard a ship last summer… I sing on cruise ships for a living, by the way. After coming up with the hook, the “just want to talk” melody, I quickly raced to my cabin to hum it into my voice memos app on my phone, and finished writing the melody and chord progression shortly after. The lyrics came within the next couple of weeks.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Yes, as a matter of fact. The night before, I had been talking to a random girl at the bar, and even though we were just talking about some regular shit, she was looking at me like she thought I was just trying to get some – I mean, who’s not? – A day later in a deep state of gym-imagination, I thought this would be a cool premise for a song. Like “hey how are ya? I’m not looking to lure you back to my room with a turn of phrase, rather, I want to know more about yourself as a person.”
Any plans to release a video for the track?
Yes! The music video comes out on YouTube and Facebook on January 31st, and it is really good. The videographer was a pro, and created a mood for the video that matches the song really well.
The single comes off your new album Tunes Up – what’s the story behind the title?
I thought it would be mildly funny to name the album Tunes Up after my social media handle, which has been @jackryantunes for years. Also, “tunes up” is musician-speak for the act of tuning your instrument, so there is a kind of double meaning there. Cool huh? Don’t get too excited, now.
How was the recording and writing process?
I wrote the songs on the ships that I worked onboard throughout 2019. I find it pretty easy to write in a crew cabin because of the lack of distraction – no internet, a weak TV signal at best, white walls, etc. I recorded them at my DAW at home and had them mixed and mastered by a couple of audio engineers based in NYC.
What role does Nashville play in your music?
To state plainly, Nashville plays absolutely no role in the way that I write music. In fact, part of the reason that I left Nashville was because I found the Nashville songwriting method to be too confining and have too many rules. When I create something, I like to have the absolute freedom to do what I want to do without having to fit a certain mold.
What aspect of love and other stigmas did you get to explore on this record?
On this album, there are a few songs that revolve around themes of romance and love… but from unconventional perspectives. In these particular songs, you may not hear the words love or kiss or whatnot, but you may feel love through the musical undertones or careful deciphering of the lyrics.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
When I was in Nashville, I heard that a songwriter should “write what they know”, and while I think this may be a good jumping off point, I also find it fun to write what I imagine other people know. For example, I have no experience fathering a daughter, but wrote one particular song on the album because I imagined the emotional experience that a father with a daughter may have.
I’ll also add that the verses of “Just Want to Talk” basically sit on an E major chord until the chorus; a trick that Paul McCartney talks about implementing on a few later Beatles songs. I always try to sneak some Beatles influence into a song if it sounds right. For example, Hofner bass runs, multiple part harmonies, or Ringo-style drumming.
Any plans to hit the road?
Yes! I am planning on booking some shows in cities where I know that I have fans from the cruise gigs that I have played. Once I get these dates in the books, I will be sure to make them known!
What else is happening next in Jack Ryan’s world?
First off, I should say that I have a ton planned for these next few months in particular, so stay tuned into my social media. Secondly, I have been approached by a couple of cruise agencies that have given me the opportunity to sail on new ships and reach new destinations this year, which is super exciting.