There’s an art to writing songs, complete melodic frames of thoughtful expressions. While many people do it, only very few do it well. And still, that is not enough. It takes more than talent. Of all things one can be in this world, a good person should be first and foremost. Dru Ryan is an incredible talented performer and songwriter, but more importantly, a great human being who makes the people around him even better. For that, he deserves our support.
When did you first start your career in music?
Thank you for allowing me space on your platform. I first started writing songs back in 2004/2005. It started with poetry that I wrote and started to put into song format. Two of the songs from my EP are from that point in time. Singing started with the Gospel group Big Moe and All United, back around 2010/2011. After singing with the group for a few years, I began to work with Ricky Style, for artist development. We worked together for about five years. I gained insight into the business side of music, aside from just creating and performing. This chapter of my career is that of the independent artist. I’ve met a lot of incredibly talented, driven, and humble people on this journey.
Music has changed so much over the years, how did you feel about the notion that R&B has made a comeback? Do you feel like it ever left?
I honestly don’t feel like R&B has ever left. Major names like Luke James, Tyrese, and Tank (to name a few) have been releasing music and not getting the mainstream push that Pop and Trap music have. The industry is always going to change the type of music that has focus and is receiving mainstream attention. R&B is coming back around full circle with a 90s sound that’s nostalgic to a lot of people, but it never really went anywhere. I’m glad the 90s sound is starting to get more of push again.
You write beautiful music on love, relationships, and social issues. Do you find that missing as far as mainstream music?
Thank you. Music is an incredibly powerful tool that can be used to get someone hyped for this or that, relax you and clear your mind after a long day, to set a mood for lovers, transition or emphasize movie scenes, add emphasis to a message, take you on a journey without lyrics and vocals, and shape the minds of a generation. Music is powerful, and right now, I’ve noticed a trend away from love and relationship music, to that of a hook up culture. We still do have love songs, but Ariana just released “Break up with your girlfriend”. In 2009, Plies dropped “Boyfriend #2”. Chris Brown has a song called “Loyal”, literally calling the women dancing to it, hoes with no loyalty, and the song was a smash. Songs about being a loyal and faithful man might be out there, but I don’t remember music about loyalty being a common theme in mainstream music.
Songs about social issues are necessary, relevant, and need just as much of a push as party songs get. My song, “Change”, talks about people coming together to push for change in the midst of unjustified state violence against minorities that occurs. My mind is still blown by the way some see that as a controversial topic. Philando Castile wasn’t the last one die unjustly. Willie McCoy was killed on February 9th, 2019 out in California. This is still an issue that affects us, despite it not being talked about that much. Social issues need to continue to be talked about until they’re addressed and as artists, we have a responsibility to talk about these things, even if the topics may not be popular to those in positions of authority within the industry.
What are your thoughts on the misogyny in black entertainment?
Women deserve respect! Let me start there. Women are more than the physical that they bring to the table. Black women in Entertainment shouldn’t be limited to only being the video model, the ratchet child’s mother, the disrespectful side chick, the single mom of children who have multiple fathers, or the bitter single woman. Are those roles realistic? Of course. Are they only roles Black women should get? Of course not. Black women are one of our culture’s greatest resources, yet so underutilized.
Has your music career benefited from streaming as oppose to physical copies?
Digital distribution definitely has made sharing music so much easier instead of having to sign a deal for x amount of copies to be pressed up and sold before I see any of the profits. Streaming services make it so convenient for the potential, or current, fans to check out my music. Listeners don’t have to remember to drive to the local music store and buy my single, or EP. They can go to their streaming app while I’m on stage, being watched on social media, or even doing an interview. The convenience factor is mind blowing and really has no limits.
Share with us your songwriting and recording process.
I have two different processes for song writing that I typically use. If I don’t already have a concept in mind that I want to express, I’ll find an instrumental that speaks to me, I’ll visualize the journey the music is taking me on, and break the situation down from my perspective. I don’t necessarily try to build the hook first and then the verses, because sometimes the verses lead perfectly into the hook. Other times, the pre-hook is the first thing and then the verses tell me what the hook should be. If I have the concept first, I’ll search for an instrumental that fits the mood I’m going to convey. I’ll bookmark a hot instrumental to come back to it later, but if it doesn’t fit the concept I’m focused on writing about in that moment, I’ll worry about it later.
I’ll record an original song over multiple sessions. Shout out to my engineer, Rob Federici. I lay base vocals first, then take it back home and figure out additional harmonies, ad-libs, as well as lyrical or tonal pitch changes I need to make. We’ll collaborate on different effects and sounds as we build the finished product. Be on the lookout in April for my EP, “I Need You to Fight”.
What has been the biggest moment in your career so far?
The biggest moment in career so far was performing at the Clef Club over in Philly! A friend of mine in the entertainment business, Comedian I.M.D., was taping his comedy special, “Poetry Meets Comedy”, and while I wasn’t part of the recording, I had the incredible opportunity to perform my first independent single, “2 Step Love”(steaming on Spotify, Tidal, Apple, Google, and Amazon), for the first time publicly. The song received a lot of love, and I’ve been building this project using the reception my song received in that moment.
Is there any advice that you would offer aspiring artists?
Thank you again for the opportunity to be a part of your platform! For pieces of advice for anyone who truly is about the life of an artist: 1) Make sure you own the rights to whatever it is you create. There is nothing worse than a creative genius who doesn’t get paid or credited for the work they do. 2) Even if you have a team that represents you and networks for you, there’s no substitution for the real thing. You still have to get up, go out, and network. 3) Open Mic nights and Showcases are huge opportunities to grow your fan base and connect with people who will buy tickets to your shows. Don’t neglect them rushing to be famous. 4) Success in this business is usually a process. This life may not be for you if you’re impatient.