INTERVIEW: Canadian Singer/Songwriter Tanya Ryan

Pic by Natalie Pinchak

Hi Tanya, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thank you kindly! I’ve been well, thank you for asking. I’ve been taking a lot of naps.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “My Heart Song”?

I’d love to. “My Heart Song” is a lyrically raw, sonically vibey song I wrote during a depression that was really lengthy, dark, and uncomfortable for me… there were times I doubted my ability to overcome it. “My Heart Song” was the light at the end of the tunnel. The reminder that there’s always something there supporting you if you listen deeply.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

The lyric landed on the page: “My heart knows things that I don’t” … as if my pen had a mind of its own. It was the start of me seeing the light within the dark. I knew something was shifting. That song helped me more than anything else could at that time. I’m incredibly grateful for it.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

Despite the heavy and dramatic content, it was actually a really fun day! All the actors involved in this video are friends of mine and locals from my community; they did such an amazing job. I was really impressed by the performances! Not to mention, my videographer Fedele Arcuri. He makes everything super fun and approachable; and he’s so gifted with a camera!

The single comes off your new album “Open” – what’s the story behind the title?

I love this question. This entire album was created around my adopting a new strategy with my music, and my life. I had it – lovingly – brought to my attention that I had become incredibly good at presenting the stories and representations of myself that I thought people wanted to see and hear – instead of what was real and authentically me. I wanted to change that. So, everything I wrote from that point forward represented the most honest and sincere reflections of my mind and feelings. I wanted to be as real as possible, to be honest, forthcoming, and… ‘open’.

How was the recording and writing process?

The recording process was amazing because I have the best producer ever – Mark Troyer! He always finds a way to dig out the best performance from me vocally and pushes the song in the direction that best suits the intention behind the lyrics. His production is so deliberate, and I’m so thankful for that. The writing process was a little darker – ha! I was right in the middle of this depression – so I was struggling. It was written over a few small sessions. I had to surrender a lot to let this one come through, which made writing this song both intimidating, and rewarding.

What role does Okotoks play in your music?

Oh my gosh. Please come visit! The people here… The people here are the best people you’ll ever meet. This community is full of hard-working, kind, thoughtful, insightful, and compassionate people. I love being a part of this town. My music is drawn from my own experiences, as well as stories, feeling and thoughts experienced by those close to me. This town has connected me with so many people and their stories and emotions; it’s been very inspiring. Not to mention the endless support I receive from these wonderful humans.

How did you go on balancing all your different influences together, what you call “country crossover”?

It was sort of accidental, I suppose. When I went into the studio, I specifically said to my producer: “Let’s not worry about making this a country album. I just want the music to compliment each song in the best possible way. Whatever that looks like. Even if it’s a Frankenstein project.” And that’s what we did. Apparently calling it ‘country crossover’ is more appealing than ‘Frankenstein project’ … so I’m rolling with that.

What aspect of love did you get to explore on this record?

I started with the love of what you do – your career or ambitions, following your heart and passion. Then there’s the manifesting of love… kind of longing for it, I suppose. Like, that real kind of love. Then there was experiencing love in a way that made sense to me; that felt real and empowered. Then there’s the sexy-fun love. Self-love. And a song written from a mother to her son.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

With “Dimes”, which is the song I mentioned above that’s from a mother to her son, that was sort of an interesting circumstance. When my husband and I got engaged, we knew his mother wouldn’t be with us at our wedding. She had passed away from cancer a few years prior. I had already been contemplating some sort of love song to write for my husband on our wedding day … and the song that came out was not quite the love song I’d expected. It ended up being what I imagined she would say to him if she could be there. So it was a love song from her to him, on his wedding day.

Any plans to hit the road?

Well, here’s the thing. I sorta, kinda, on-purpose-but-a-little-quicker-than-planned got pregnant! We’re expecting our arrival in April. I admire the career-women of the world that run around with baby bumps taking over the world, as I myself, am finding the whole process a little overwhelming! I’m putting out this album – and then sort of playing it by ear for a bit. See what our life looks like with three, and who knows? Maybe the babe and hubs will be down for a bit of musical running around!

What else is happening next in Tanya Ryan’s world?

I’ve got my album release premiere shows coming up this month and I am really, really looking forward to them. I’m really proud of the show that I’ve planned, and I really can’t wait to share it. Baby bump and all. Follow my adventures on my website at tanyaryan.ca and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @tanyaryanxo

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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