In a world where pop acts seem to come and go, being well-rounded can take one very far. Sure, a voice mixed with being pretty (or handsome) can probably get you heard by the people you want to hear you – but that only goes so far in a time where music is probably the most plentiful resource on the planet. Phoebe Ryan is a pop sensation in the making – grabbing the attention from fans across the globe, even catching the eyes and ears of one Taylor Swift (unfortunately or fortunately – I’m not sure – for us the T. Swift cosign came after this had already been put in motion). Thanks to Phoebe, and her exceptionally awesome publicist, we were able to ask her a few questions about what college was like, eating Skittles in place of meals, and whether or not she’s going to vote for Kanye West:
1833: In your interview with Z100 back in June you had mentioned that when getting ready for college you had found a program to go and study audio engineering. How do you think learning the little tweaks and niches that go on behind the scenes of vocal recording has helped you in creating the sounds that you’re currently creating?
Phoebe Ryan: Studying all different elements of recording not only gave me confidence in my work – it gave me the ability to speak a certain kind of language that you need while you’re working in the studio. I’m by no means fluent, but at least I can explain the things I hear in my head, and that’s been the most important thing I think.
1833: Your (incredible) EP Mine dropped back in early June, and seems to have been doing nothing but well – reaching stream counts in the 7 digits. Is it surreal for you to see that your music has been heard by this many people or is this something you were confident was going to happen all along?
PR: Thank you so much!! It’s definitely a little bit of both. It’s totally surreal, and I think it always will be – but at the same time, I’ve been preparing for this forever and I really, really believe in myself.
1833: Aside from your music, everything seems to match up. The hair (which is amazing by the way), your image, your aesthetics, etc. How important do you think having the full package benefits you rather than just bringing your voice to the table?
PR: Aesthetic and image and all that is incredibly important, but my voice has to be the heart of it all. I honestly try not to think about image too much, because it kind of stresses me out. I don’t want to obsess over my image, I want to obsess over my work.
1833: Behind the scenes songwriting is something not a lot of people know about, but I feel more light should be shined upon the subject. Songwriters, to me, are just as important as the people actually performing these compositions. How long have you been writing for yourself and other artists, and what do you enjoy most about songwriting?
PR: I started writing my own music in high school, but began making a career out of it – writing for other artists – while I was a junior in college. The greatest things about songwriting are the satisfaction of writing a really amazing song and the collaborative nature of it all. I get to sit in a studio all day with my friends and be weird and creative. It’s the best thing ever. Even on days when I write something super mediocre, I feel okay with the frustration. I let it motivate me to write a better song next time.
1833: You’ve begun a pretty gruesome touring schedule. To a lot of people, going on the road and waking up in a new city every day sounds glamorous, but I could imagine that it’s also extremely hard. What are some of your favorite things about touring and what are the hardest parts for you?
PR: My favorite things are – getting the chance to perform every night, meeting new fans, reconnecting with friends all over the country, and exploring and hanging out with my band.
My not-so-favorite things are – not getting enough sleep, not getting enough exercise, and having to settle for Skittles as a meal.
1833: Okay, so someone just delivered a time machine to your front door that would allow you to go back in time and work with anyone that you could possibly imagine. Where would you go, who would you work with, and why?
PR: I would go to Detroit in the 1960’s and write songs with Holland-Dozier-and-Holland. They wrote some of the most iconic songs for the most iconic performers in Motown’s – and America’s – history… the Supremes, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations… “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “Baby I Need Your Loving,” “How Sweet It Is”… the list goes on and on. I wish I could be a part of something remarkably classic.
1833: Going off the wall here for a second, but are you going to vote for Kanye West in 2020?
PR: Haha, probably not. Maybe. No.
1833: So the question I bet everyone is dying to know (at least I am because I haven’t stopped listening to your music for five straight days)…. what can we expect from Phoebe Ryan in 2016?
PR: A full length record, a lot of tour dates, a lot of fun.
1833: And finally – tell us something we don’t know about Phoebe Ryan
PR: I used to sing / scream in a hardcore punk band.
A big thank you to Ms. Ryan & Fancy PR for taking a break from their rigorous touring schedule and answering some questions for us. As noted above – she is on a nationwide tour so if she’s anywhere near you, I would highly recommend catching one of her shows (she’ll be in Chicago October 24th).
10/16: Trocadero Theatre @ Philadelphia, PA
10/18: 9:30 Club @ Washington, DC
10/21: The Intersection @ Grand Rapids, MI
10/23: St. Andrews Hall @ Detroit, MI
10/24: House Of Blues @ Chicago, IL
10/25: Wooly’s @ Des Moines, IA
10/27: The Madrid Theater @ Kansas City, MO
10/29: Gothic Theater @ Englewood, CO
10/31: The Black Sheep @ Colorado Springs, CO
11/4: The Observatory @ Santa Ana, CA
Photograph courtesy of Jeaneen Lund