by: Nicole Juliette Hetlyn
Last week, alt-rocker, Ryan Star gave an incredible performance at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC. We caught up before the show to talk about his musical adventures across the world, and his brand new app STATIONHEAD. It is always a pleasure talking with Ryan, he has always been part of my both my music and my life. He also puts on an incredible concert, which you can read about below!
You have been traveling all over the world. What has been some your favorite place to play or to visit? Any special memories that stand out?
I had an incredible opportunity to play with my band on the castle at Disney World. I didn’t know then that it was one of the most important shows that I would ever play, until I had a kid. Now when he watches movies and he sees the castle, he goes “daddy played there!” I feel so incredible. I’ve done big things and I have done small things, but this is a magic that keeps giving. Now whatever kid vision he has of his dad, it’s larger than it was, so that will always be my favorite show I have ever played.
Speaking of which, how is the baby?!
He’s amazing, he really is. It’s a color I didn’t know existed. I imagined there were other colors in this world that I haven’t seen or experienced, and now I know what that color is.
We love your new single, "Don't Give Up." It’s about some of your time spent in Sweden. What's the backstory, and how did you find the inspiration to write this song and keep on going?
I had this song in a pile of songs for quite some time. I kept going at it and trying to find the meaning of the song. I kept trying to find what I was going to write the song about, since I already had the chorus. Years went by, and I would say “I’ll write it about this” or “this person is going through this,” and then finally I wrote it about something very personal that happened to me and my family. At a very low point, I went at it again and decided to write the song - instead of all of the people I was searching for - I decided to look within. It took years to find it and life to happen to write that song. From the pain that it was written in, I hope that it will connect with and inspire other people.
Your wife, Hallie, has sung on a few of your songs, including "Lullaby Suicide" and "Brand New Day.” Any plans for a duet/collaboration in the future?
“World I Used to Know” (do do do do..). She is on every record that I put out. Even with Stage, she’s on that record. I feel like “Lullaby Suicide” is a duet, and there is absolutely room for more.
You've toured and worked with lots of other incredible artists. If you could collaborate with any other artist, who would it be?
I like collaborating. I like Jon Bellion, he’s a Long Island guy.
You always put on the most incredible shows; energetic and fun. What do you find to be key to the perfect show?
There is no such thing as a perfect show. I don’t believe in perfection, so there’s definitely no way for me to have a perfect show. My favorite shows range from focused execution and owning your craft and confident and powerful to improvisation and debauchery and keeping it together by the thread of tequila. For me, it’s an expression of where I am in life
You recently helped to build a music app "Stationhead.” Can you explain how this came about and how it works?
My friend, who I’ve known since junior high, who was at my first show at CBGB’s, built a dream I had since I was a kid. Anyone can have their own pirate radio station. Stationhead is an incredible technology that allows anyone to have a station in their hand 24/7. I can engage and talk to my fans or other artists play music, and steal the other. Anyone can be a DJ now. It runs live. You turn your playlist on and you can talk on top of it, follow your friends, tell stories about the songs. When Chris Cornell died… I love him, he taught me how to sing.. Instead of posting it on Instagram next to pancakes I ate that day, I had a show with my fans and we were able to listen together and experience this as a group. We talked about it, and I called people that knew him on air. You can use the exclusive code RSTAR1159 to get onto Stationhead now.
What does the rest of 2017 have in store for you?
The artist in me is devoting 99% of my energy to creating Stationhead, I call it the greatest co-write of my life with my friend Jace [Kay]. My lead guitar player from my band [Dan Tirer] is also my lead developer, so in every way, it’s still about them. I believe that this something that can really inspire people beyond what I even imagine right now, so my focus is there. While all of that is happening, that extra percent is playing music. I am music, purely, and I want to. I released “Don’t Give Up” for that reason and nothing else - not to try and make a living or to prove myself. All those expectations of what you want to be are muted now by who I am, and that’s powerful for me as an artist. I’m writing very powerful things again. There are things in life that are fueling me, so my art is coming out. I’m not just being a musician to make a living; I’m playing music because that is who I am.
Download Stationhead for free in the appstore, and use our exclusive code RSTAR1159 to get in! We promise, you'll love it - and you'll feel like a badass having your own radio show!
SHOW RECAP: The concert at Rockwood Music Hall was absolutely incredible. Ryan played a mixture of songs from all of his albums (old and new), as well as songs from Stage, and a Halsey cover. I have been seeing Ryan in concert for 9 years now. Every show is a different experience; but in the best way. The setlist alters show to show, and Ryan switches from guitar to piano. Ryan is my favorite artist to watch perform. He is so passionate about music, and you could feel his genuine love for his art in every single song. It's one hell of a show every time, I highly reccomend seeing Ryan in concert.
During the encore, Ryan called two very special fans up on the stage, Xavier & Victor Romani. Victor explained how him and Xavier were in a long distance relationship (Victor lived in Brazil) and would send songs back and forth that made them think of each other. Victor sent Xavier “My Life With You,” and said Xavier said that was the moment he fell in love with him. That also became their wedding song. Ryan sang MLWY while Xavier and Victor stood on the stage, dedicating this song to them. This was such a beautiful moment, so much love was felt in the room. Congratulations to Xavier and Victor! And thank you, Ryan Star for being the incredible, loving artist that continues to inspire.