Charlotte and Atlanta Shows This Week

I hate this.

The oath I make as a music man is to be there for the people who love me most. To inspire and be the soundtrack for your days and dreams.  It hurts to tell you that I have to miss the best opportunity to connect with you in person tomorrow and Tuesday. 

I realize some of you travel far and some of you make serious plans to be there for me and I can't be there for you this time.  Sometimes life throws avalanches down the mountain and my greatest inspiration in life needs me right now.  Health is everything so I must make sure she is okay before I come out and play. 

Please understand this is hard for me in every way and even harder knowing I am letting some of you down. You have my word I will make it up to you. For those who purchased VIP Experiences for Charlotte and Atlanta, we will be contacting you via email with options.

I hope this finds you and yours in happiness and health. It's all that matters.

Much love,
Ryan 

VIP EXPERIENCES

Why do I leave my favorite city in the world? Because of you and the light you bring me when I see you on the road.

Really happy to be going out with my boys American Authors next month. Until now, I have only had VIP Experiences in NYC- we are now taking the show on the road. Come join me for an intimate hang and performance. Some call it a picnic, but I call it you and me in the wild. Let's dance under the pale moon sky or frolic naked under the sun. All will be unique experiences with me and the music, but mostly because of the passion I know you will bring as well.

The cities available are: Charlotte, Atlanta, Baltimore, Allston (Boston), DC, Albany, Philadelphia, Columbus, and Chicago. Details are on rstar.net- check them out here.

If you haven't gotten tickets yet for the upcoming tour, do so because some of the venues have already sold out. Ticket info can be found here.

NYC, I haven't forgotten about you. The intimate after-hours set at Rockwood next month sold out, but we saved a few spots for a special VIP pre-show private hang. Drinks before the set and sit in on soundcheck. Details here.

I am so psyched to see you.


Much love
-r
 

2016 Tour with American Authors

April 18 - Visulite Theatre - Charlotte, NC
April 19 - Vinyl - Atlanta, GA
April 21 - Ottobar - Baltimore, MD
April 25 - Brighton Music Hall - Allston, MA
April 26 - Rock & Roll Hotel - Washington, DC
April 27 - The Hollow - Albany, NY
May 9 - The Heath @ The MCKITTRICK HOTEL - New York, NY
May 12 - The Barbary - Philadelphia, PA
May 13 - The A&R Music Bar - Columbus, OH
May 14 - Subterranean - Chicago, IL

Tickets available here.

TOUR DATES

While I'm working on new music, I am psyched to announce that I will be joining my friends American Authors out on the road next month. Check out the dates below.

Many of you know that I have such an amazing time with the intimate VIP experiences. Until now, I have only done them in NYC. As much as I am humbled and love when you travel to me, we are literally taking the show on the road. Keep an eye out for these magical moments I treasure to happen in each of the cities listed below. Spots will be available on rstar.net as soon as we work out the details. I just wanted to let you know here first.

STAY TUNED.

I am so excited to see you.
 

2016 Tour with American Authors

April 18 - Visulite Theatre - Charlotte, NC
April 19 - Vinyl - Atlanta, GA
April 21 - Ottobar - Baltimore, MD
April 25 - Brighton Music Hall - Allston, MA
April 26 - Rock & Roll Hotel - Washington, DC
April 27 - The Hollow - Albany, NY
May 9 - The Heath @ The MCKITTRICK HOTEL - New York, NY
May 12 - The Barbary - Philadelphia, PA
May 13 - The A&R Music Bar - Columbus, OH
May 14 - Subterranean - Chicago, IL

Tickets available here.


Love you all,
r

p.s.  I released tickets last night to a special late night performance in New York.  They went pretty quick (thanks) but as I am typing this, I am releasing a few more tickets here.  Hope to see you there.

2016

I wish you happy holidays and a peaceful new year. See you in 2016. -R

SOLD OUT SHOWS

This past week I announced two special shows at the famous Rockwood Music Hall. Both sold out immediately so when Rockwood had a cancellation, they asked me to consider filling it. I know that many of you missed out on tickets to the February dates, so I decided to go ahead and add one last show for the month. If you missed out on tix for the last two-- jump on this one fast and we'll have some fun. 

Friday, February 20th
10pm
Rockwood Music Hall
Stage 3

TICKETS HERE

NEW SHOWS

image.jpeg

I am announcing some intimate solo shows on Thanksgiving weekend.  Like the last round of Rockwood Shows in NYC, these will probably move fast so get your tix now!

Friday, November 28th
10:30pm
Rockwood Stage 3
TICKETS HERE

Saturday, November 29th
10:30pm
Rockwood Stage 3
TICKETS HERE

If you are fully digested and want to be a part of my favorite nights in New York... come hang, drink, listen, sing along and potentially have the time of your life with me (if you dare).  I am really looking forward to these-  they will be my only nights out while I am recording the new music.   See you there.  -r

ALMOST FAMOUS INTERVIEW - WITH CARRIE MEDDERS

I had the great pleasure of talking to Ryan Star this morning and after we chatted about our mutual friend and fellow musician Todd Carey, as well as our shared love of Billy Joel, we dove into a fantastic conversation about music, technology, his amazing record A N G E L S + A N I M A L S, and this amazing life that we lead. He said he was expecting good questions from me so you know, no pressure! 

When I joined Ryan’s PledgeMusic campaign and decided to go for this perk, the “Almost Famous Interview”, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect and spent a lot of time thinking about what to ask, how to ask it and wondering if I should actually watch the movie, Almost Famous, before talking to him. Yes, I know…as a music fan it’s a movie I should have already seen but you’ll get over the fact that I still have not. In the end I just started thinking about what I’d like to know about one of my favorite artists and decided I didn’t want to just ask about the album because he’d done a lot of interviews about it already. I think you’ll enjoy what Ryan had to say and hopefully you’ll learn just a little bit more about this amazing, amazing human. 

I have always appreciated how Ryan connects with his fans and how much he genuinely cares. He was so thankful that I was a part of his campaign, and I know he’s thankful for everyone that participated. I find it so exciting and special to be involved with music at this level. He mentioned that technology makes this whole thing very interesting because these are things, referring back to Billy Joel, “…there was nothing like this for him. This is another level. This is like a real back and forth conversation like we’ve never seen, so I’m embracing the awesomeness of technology, of where we’re at with music.” 

We talked about how different things are now with social media and how that’s such a big part of things, especially for independent artists, artists like Ryan trying to promote in such a different way. I find it to be a very cool thing. He said he loves it but also needs time to be an artist as well, and I think the bottom line is, there has to be a balance and that looks different for everyone. Ryan agreed. “I always joke that if this was back in the day, Jim Morrison would have possibly not written The End; he would have been too busy tweeting, ‘I’m on drugs!’…everyone has to find the balance.”

Before we got into my original scripted questions I asked Ryan about playing the Off The Record festival next March – something that was just announced a few weeks ago - and told him how excited I was that he was going to be a part of it. When he asked what it was like I told him about my experience at this year’s festival, and how amazing it was. Artists played casual sets and cover sets and everyone just jammed together throughout the weekend. He’s definitely psyched to be a part of it. “I like those kind of events. It’s fun for me to do that; especially when there are other like-minded artists and we can all kind of break that wall down together.” I hope you all got your tickets because you’re not going to want to miss it.

I got to see Ryan play in a couple of intimate shows last August (2013) when he was starting to play the songs from the new record and he mentioned that the show he did at Rockwood that week was his favorite. I was lucky enough to be there and it was pretty incredible. He’s been doing more of these intimate sorts of shows in NYC lately and I wondered about his plans for taking the tour across the country.

CM: So, are you going to do a tour across the country in that kind of way? Are you going to make it more intimate or what are you planning with this album?

RS: “Right now…it was a time in my life where I wanted to definitely get this music out and see where it took me, but instead of just spinning my wheels and doing a typical ‘Now it’s time to tour’, I just wanted to get a handle on all of the creative things in my life and keep making stuff. I kind of call 2014 the year of creation. So I wasn’t in a rush…as much as I love touring and connecting, as you know, I just didn’t want to commit to anything. I wanted to stay around, and I was starting to score a movie and then there was another project and there’s just a lot of stuff in the pipeline creatively because for so long I was touring 11:59 [his last album] and making a name for myself and all of that but I needed to stay home for a second. And then the New York shows have turned into a little bit of the beginning of me saying okay, I wanna have some fun, I wanna do some shows and get this record out; so we’ll see where it goes after August. It excites me to do that. I feel like I do need to tour this album. I also feel like I need to make another album, so we’ll see.” 

CM: I always love new music but I love to see you too.

RS: “Well thank you. I’m thinking about that every time I put a New York show up…man, I really should get out there.”

CM: Meanwhile, I look at my calendar every time and think, “Can I fly out there?” I know you love Rockwood and you’ve talked a lot about how critical it was in you getting your music out there all those years ago. So what is it about that venue that makes it so special?

RS: “I think there’s an evolution of a confident person. You’re not born being confident. So when I grew up, in junior high and high school, the dream for me was I gotta go play…I wanna be just like the people that inspired me…like when I pretended to be Trent Reznor in front of the mirror as a kid and you wanted to do everything they did so a lot of the bands I grew up loving in New York were all playing at CBGBs. That was the place and then, I was 15 years old, a vicious, driven kid, and my band Stage and I, we got our gig at CBGBs and we promoted and we went and I was like, this is what I’m supposed to do; this is what a musician does; and when I played it I realized it didn’t feel like it was as great as everyone talked about. It had its time in the 70s and 80s and it was like, they treated us like shit, you were lucky to play there…it was never that moment; it was never like, wow, I’m a part of this. Then, I found this place, and no one knew about it. This guy Ken Rockwood was sweeping the floors of this newly opened venue that was beautiful and had a piano in it and I just walked in was a like, ‘Hey, can I play a few shows here?’ I was starting to branch out solo, starting to explore the piano thing, and he had no one really playing there and was like, ‘Sure, no problem.’ And I started playing there, built a residency, so I felt like a very much a part of this evolution, this growth. And then I went to LA for a few years, made some records, did some music stuff, and came back and realized this venue has turned into a really big deal in New York and I felt very much a part of its genesis and the beginning of the next generation’s home of music in New York, circa this time, instead of trying to be a part of someone else’s time. That’s why Rockwood is really important to me. I feel like years to come hopefully there are kids that wanna start there. It feels like a musical community, that we all know each other. I’ll be hanging out and other musicians walk in and that wasn’t happening for me at CBGBs. It was like a shell of what it once was. It was like an amusement park. This is ours and I can go and hang with my band; I know everybody. It’s a really cool place. From the musician side, it’s like Cheers for musicians. On the venue side, some of the most magical moments of my life have been there. Win win. Room One is amazing. Room Two is…there’s some magic there.”

CM: Is there any venue that you’d love to play that you haven’t had the chance yet? Either in New York or anywhere else?

RS: “As a New Yorker, there’s only one, The Garden. I think New York is the world’s city and The Garden is world’s venue.” 

CM: When I was hanging out with [our mutual friend] Todd we were talking about Red Rocks. Have you ever been there?

RS: “I’ve never been there. I own many live albums from there but have never been.”

CM: If you were going to go to any show there, who would be your ideal band to see at Red Rocks?

RS: “Dave Matthews. He has a live record from there and I’ve seen him live and he’s just…not many people know this about me, and how I feel about Dave Matthews and the band…I blew my friend’s mind the other day because a lot of people…they get thrown off because it’s not like my music sounds like his. I often describe, and this may sound silly, but the idea of a miracle for me lives in that band. The idea that they found each other, the way they made it, how they do it, and when you hear each instrument broken down…I believe in miracles, literally because of that. Because everything just had to work and it’s quite incredible and that’s the inspiration there. He has a way when you see him live, he has a way to do what I strive to do which is connect to literally the last row. If you’re in the room, you’re there.” 

CM: I know you’ve done tons of these interviews already and lots of other interviews about the album…

RS: “Not too much but again, I’ve never talked about the miracle of Dave Matthews with anybody.”

I think it probably goes without saying that I felt very touched that Ryan shared his love of Dave Matthews with me. Since I’ve never seen Dave live and Ryan has never been to Red Rocks we agreed that one of these days we’ll meet there when Dave and his band are performing. So Dave, if you’re out there reading this, hook us up, okay?

CM: So I don’t wanna ask you tons of questions about the album, because I feel like you’ve answered so many in prior interviews, but I feel I should ask you a couple. What five words would you use to describe the record?

RS: “I want to use a word that’s like evolution or growing up. I love that movie Garden State. I felt like A N G E L S + A N I M A L S was my Garden State. So, however you would describe that movie is how I would describe A N G E L S + A N I M A L S. I would say it’s a journey. I would say it’s honesty, like real honesty. I would say it’s evolution. I would say it’s a struggle. I would say it’s a victory and I would say it’s romance. I think that’s six.”

Yes, it was six, but it’s not like I was going to cut one of them out. They’re all good and I think they perfectly describe the album. 

CM: So would you say you’re more like the angel Gabriel or the angel Michael? Gabriel was like the trumpeter, the one that sounds the glory and Michael’s like the fighter angel.

RS: “It’s the fighter…no doubt. I’m realizing my role in all of this outside of the actual album is very survival…there’s a ‘don’t give up’ mentality. I feel like I’m hopefully an inspiration in that way to people.” 

CM: And what sort of animal do you think is in there?

RS: “I had an interesting conversation with a psychoanalyst the other day and he was reminding me that animals are very evolved and kind. It’s the savages that a lot of people consider animals and that being said, it’s funny because people see the lions on the cover and they’re like, ‘Oh, these animals are killing each other.’ And I don’t see it that way. I beg to differ that one of them is an angel and one of them is an animal. There are two sides to everybody. I think the animal is the part of the record…is the one that’s not struggling…the regalness.  Like the lions…you have one that’s regal and all-knowing. It’s that thing. I think the struggle [is] that we have this purpose and this thing we have we’re supposed to follow and then the human side that comes in, which kind of throws us off, you know, it gets in our brain…the haves and have nots. That’s the overall idea of the record…struggling with what you think you need and your natural pulse, and that to me is animal too. Animals…I don’t believe they struggle the way we struggle. They don’t kill out of hate; they kill out of necessity and no one’s getting beat up for no reason. They’re very worldly…wind-blowing…all of that. But the idea was that we’re all a little of both.”

CM: Of all the lyrics you’ve ever written, what would you say is your favorite?

RS: “I think each chapter has a different moment. I could never write the way I wrote as a 15 year old. It’s an interesting process. It’s like a photo book, the way you look as you grow up. You know, you have photo books from when you were a kid and there are all these different moments you know…that hairstyle was awesome! You’re not playing the same game every day. In that regard, I’d break it down a little bit and I’d go back to my intro to music and my band Stage had a song called The Scientist’s Canvas and I thought that might be my best song ever. It’s a really cool one that I wrote in real time. It’s a ten-minute song and I wrote it in ten minutes and I connected. That was the birth of my artist self. I was doing it before then and I was learning and copying and I think that song was like, whoa, here I am. Now start exploring from there and it takes me all the way to the new record where Bullet is a really powerful song. I feel that same feeling with Bullet. I feel that same feeling in Sailing On. A lot of the new album captures that thing I had when I first was awakened to music. So that’s attracts me to keep going because I feel like I’ve tapped into part of my truth. It’s been really exciting for me to sit down and keep going.”

CM: So you talked about Dave Matthews before and some other artists…is there any lyric that somebody else wrote that you wish you had written?

RS: “God Only Knows. That’s it. God Only Knows is the greatest song ever created. I mean there’s a bunch of them. I think often what keeps me humble and thinking I’m terrible half the time is when I hear some song and it’s just so good. It’s just perfect. And there are a lot of songs in my day-to-day life. I’ll even hear a pop song on the radio and say, ‘That’s just so great.’”

I asked Ryan what he was most afraid of and almost rendered him speechless. He turned the question back on me and asked what I was most afraid of and I realized that it really was sort of a loaded and heavy question. Still, he did answer…

RS: “I can’t imagine that…I guess not fulfilling the dream, not reaching the potential, not being heard, not making positive change. You know, my mom brought me up to leave this world a better place than we found it, so lately you’ll notice my signoffs when I write I say I’m a plus in a plus minus world. So that’s, I think, a big one right there. I know it’s bigger than maybe you thought of…like roller coasters…but I try not to have fear so it doesn’t - the hot word these days is - it doesn’t serve you. So I think that’s the thing on a bigger level you just wanna do what you’re put here for, make it better, inspire people.”

CM: What would you say was your best day to this point?

RS: “These are very structured questions…very timely…in recent days I was in an island off of Puerto Rico and I was lying on a kayak looking at the sun and the eclipse and I thought, ‘This ain’t going to leave me, this is where I’d stay…this feeling.’ That was pretty wonderful. I think it would be so fun if Apple created an app that gauged things like, ‘That was your biggest smile you’ve ever smiled in your whole life.’ Like you could see your greatest hits reel. ‘That was the funniest joke you ever heard or that was the smelliest fart you ever smelled.’” 

He laughed at himself. Such a boy! But I laughed too and now I kind of want that app, so can someone go ahead and create it?

“On a musical note, like really connecting and finding the stories in A N G E L S + A N I M A L S is one of my best moments. Playing…like when I did the Jay Leno Tonight Show, that was a big moment because you realize your grandparents understand that, it makes them proud in a way that they wouldn’t understand just like touring around wearing ripped jeans. You know, I wear ripped jeans and I live in Brooklyn, they thought I was homeless. So that was one of the best moments.”

CM: What would surprise people the most to learn about you?

RS: “I don’t know. To be honest I have a difficult time sensing peoples’ perception of me in many ways. I feel like I’ve been marketed and perceived completely wrong. I think if I’ve done anything to a failure level it’s been the way I’ve gotten my music out. I think songs that have gone to radio have never represented the depth of what I do and it’s always very interesting between people that get me and people that have heard of me. They’re opposites and that’s not my job. I don’t understand it but I think that people know me. If they listen to my albums, they really know me. There’s no doubt and then they come see me play and they understand the lightness of the day too. They really know me. 

“When I’m talking to those people, people like you, I would say…I think people know my obsession with pizza. I think people know that I’m a kind of a germophobe but you know what? People don’t understand that I’m not really a germophobe, I’m just mindful about washing my hands and not touching my nose or mouth when they’re dirty. So I’m not really a germophobe, but people think that’s germophobic, but no, that’s just clean. 

“I also think that the band and I…we go hard. We rock star it up on the road. We leave a trail of dust behind us, a trail of positivity and a trail of chaos at the same time. I find that most bands that many think are the real rock and roll bands…we destroy them. We run circles around them. We go hard. I don’t think people realize that about us. And we have a Dallin, that’s the thing. No one has a Dallin.”

CM: What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

RS: “Watching home shows – Love It or List It. That, and coming-of-age teen comedies. They inspire more lyrics than you would imagine about me. That’s another thing people don’t know about me, my obsession with teen movies. I just saw one the other day, an incredible one called Premature. It’s like Groundhog Day but every time this young boy ejaculates the day starts over. Incredible. It’s such a great movie. So yeah, the movies that get no reviews? I like them.”

CM: What would you say is your favorite childhood memory, childhood being anything before the age of 18?

RS: “Probably opening for Bon Jovi at Jones Beach, a big amphitheater in New York, being on the radio at 16, getting a sneak peak of the dream. That was a big childhood experience for me.”

CM: If you could go back and relive one moment in your life, good or bad, what would that be and would you change the outcome?

RS: “These are like Back to the Future movies now. These are heavy. Maybe I’m reacting too heavy to them, I don’t know. The answer’s no. I think we’ve watched enough of those movies to know you can’t change it because everything might be different. I had a doorman in New York, he was an incredible Jamaican spirit and he would say, ‘Every day above ground a good day, mon.’ And I think when you think about that you don’t really go back and change anything.“

And then he turned the interview around… ”What about you? These are all great questions…I wanna ask you the same ones.”

CM: That’s a whole different interview but I’m kinda with you. I think everything we do shapes us and if you change it we’d be totally different people and maybe not the right people.

RS: “You’re right. There’s probably something we’re learning along the way. There’s a great book I read called Many Lives, Many Masters and I recommend that. It’s a life-changing book. I recommend it more than anything. I think these things that you wanna go back and change you probably needed to learn.”

CM: I think that’s exactly it. I think the whole journey is about the learning. 

RS: “Like don’t take the fun away. I always think there’s something special about the struggle in people. There’s an experience. I know a very wealthy guy and he told me the other day that he wants to give the kids…he doesn’t want to deprive them of the luxury of being poor. I thought that was really powerful.” 

CM: I think that’s it. Because if you don’t learn it, when something hits you, how are you gonna handle it? Yeah, there’s stuff I wish I would have done different but I know in the end, it probably wouldn’t have made that much of a difference if I did. When you look back at things you think, yeah, that was stupid, but I was 18 so whatever.

I have a few silly friends that ask silly questions so I threw a few in to wrap things up.

CM: If you had to join a traditional boy band, which one would it be? Either past or present boy bands.

RS: “Only because I know a lot about these guys…the Backstreet Boys. It would have to be them. What nobody knows, you wanna talk about who lived the rock star life? Those guys…the things I heard…oh my god. No one realized they were going harder than Motley Crue in 84. Pretty wild times those guys had. That being said, I can’t do vocal runs so I’d be terrible at that. I mean if we’re going to go in the truest sense? The Beatles are a boy band. I’ll take them.”

CM: Let’s say The Voice used all six of the original judges and you got a six-chair turn, who do you choose as your coach and why?

RS: “Blake [Shelton]. He seems the most real and honest and he would just get me and say, ‘Cool, you’re already good. Let’s go have a drink.’ It’s about real.”

CM: I can totally see it and yes, it is all about that. I mean when you really break it down, that’s really what is so interesting. Like who is really real out there?

RS: “Yep. Oh, I’ve seen a lot…I mean that’s part of my mission here, to bring that back.”

CM: No one would ever accuse you of not being real, that’s for sure.

RS: “Yeah, I get accused of being on the other side too much. But I don’t know. I’ve been in that situation, the ‘Dance, monkey. Dance!’ situation and it’s just not for me. I prefer to make records like I just made.”

CM: From my friend Layne, who you’ll meet at Off The Record: If you had a hot tub filled with cheese, aka a fonduzi, what kind of cheese would it be?

RS: “The healthy side of me says Swiss because I know the white cheeses are healthier. So I’ll go with Swiss if I’m being good and if I’m being bad I’d just pull off a bunch of pizza cheese and put that in there.”

CM: And finally, my last question, if you had a theme song that played every time you walked into a room, what would it be?

RS: “First thing that popped inside my mind just now is Getting Stronger…what’s that one? The Rocky one? Whatever that is.” 

CM: “Gonna Fly Now?”

RS: “Yeah, that’s it. [Gonna Fly Now is the theme from the original Rocky movie…composed by Bill Conti]. That and, It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp [Three 6 Mafia].”

I really can’t thank Ryan enough for taking the time to chat and let me - and therefore everyone reading this - in just a little bit deeper. I learned some things, laughed a lot, and now have an even greater appreciation for this man and his art. He’s definitely one of the good ones. Also, he takes amazing selfies. See you in March, sir, if not before.

 


Carrie Medders (@cmedders) lives in the Bay Area and works full-time in Human Resources to support her music and sports addictions. Many nights she’s standing by a stage, taking photographs and singing along; others she’s sitting in a stadium or an arena cheering on her favorite team. In between all that she’s tweeting, blogging, hanging out with friends and planning her next adventure.

#RSTARBROOKLYN

Follow my instagram @EyeofRstar for a tour of #RstarBrooklyn and some my favorite spots.

#50SHADESofRSTAR

WATCH THIS and share BEFORE IT IS TAKEN DOWN!

When I recorded Impossible I had the vision of it being the song for Fifty Shades of Grey.  Here it is world.
RSTAR MOVIE TRAILER GRAFFITI!!!!!!!!!!!
#50SHADESofRSTAR

ALMOST FAMOUS - FAN INTERVIEW

Another installment in the 'Almost Famous' Interviews... these were super fun to do. The passion and attention to detail have made these interviews better than ever before. Much love to the future writers of America and thanks to Alla M. for this interview. -r


Transient

The first time I saw Ryan Star in concert was when he opened for David Cook in Valparaiso, Indiana back in 2009.  I have followed his career and have enjoyed his music ever since. His current record is Angels + Animals which he self-released through a PledgeMusic fundraiser.  One of the perks of supporting the project was to conduct an interview with Ryan and then write it up as an article. I was fortunate to be able to interview Ryan on April 28, 2014. It was a pleasure to speak with Ryan. He was genuine, open, sincere.  No question was off limits. The songs on his new album are raw, personal and honest. I strongly recommend checking it out and listening to the album all the way through. 

 

AM: Your new album is wonderful and I really enjoyed it. What are the current plans for it?

RS: The current album, as you know, is a story. I think the current plan is to figure out how to get people to hear it, starting with you, and you writing this… I don’t know….I don’t know. No Idea…I just know I love it and I want the world to hear it. So I’m just going out and playing radio stations and I’m trying to get it out. I’m open to suggestions.

 

AM: So you’re currently visiting radio stations. Is it hard to do without a label behind you?

RS: Oh, yeah. It’s like climbing up a mountain and having people kick you in the head.

 

AM: But, you seem to be more successful than some others in getting your music some airplay.

RS: I’ve been very lucky with success there, but the mainstream world, there’s definitely a club that you need a lot of funding for to get in… it’s the opposite of viral world. I go in and hope it works. I just try to do my thing. I play honest music and put on honest shows.

 

AM: Are you planning to tour to support the album?

RS: Yeah, I think the album has to support the tour, really. I have to figure that out, but I would like to play more for sure.

 

AM: Is it something that you’re planning for the summer?

RS: Figuring it all out right now. It’s not that I’m not telling you. It’s that I don’t know yet.  I just finished scoring a movie that I’m excited about. Just sitting down and writing new songs and doing that. I don’t want to go out to just spin my wheels. I want it to be right.

 

AM: Can you say what movie you just finished scoring?

RS: It’s a movie called “Hard Sell” an indie film I’m really excited about….a teenage coming of age movie.

 

AM: What does it take to score a movie?

RS: Shit if I know (laughs). I don’t know. I just jumped in. I tried it. I just created emotion. I took cues from the actors and the writing and then created more emotion around that, which is fun for me, using a different part of my brain which I like.

 

AM: Since you have released your albums both independently and through record labels, what do you take away from both experiences?

RS: Record label is - from the time you’re a kid, you think that you make it if you have a record deal, that’s how you grew up thinking. Now it’s different. Now I think when you make it is because you have fans. So, I think the difference is on my own, the idea of success is having incredible fans and support and people that want to hear your music and love what you do. And on a label, you…, it’s kind of more political support and there are more filters between the art and the fans. So the kind of musician I am, being that I don’t wake up thinking how I’m going to land a new Starburst campaign or Pepsi Cola, I wake up thinking about how I can connect more with my music and with my listeners. That’s why the indie thing works better for my sanity as an artist and now I have to figure out better how to connect those dots so it does get out into the world where we live in now which is very homogenized and corporate and heightened. As open as it all is, you’d be surprised how tight they keep it, you know, as to who gets into the mainstream door these days.

 

AM: Back to your album, “My Life With You” is a great song.  Could you tell me more about the song? What is the story behind it?

RS: That was probably the most…, easiest song I’ve ever written. So I think that the writing on that was the easiest I’ve ever done. It came very stream of consciousness and didn’t take long to write, and yet I think it’s the best song I’ve ever written because it has so much story and in a way I feel it’s my verse 2.0 of “We Might Fall”. So I was really excited and I’m very proud of that one so when I, one day pass to the next world, I’m happy I leave the world with this one.

 

AM: Question about the song “Impossible”: There are two different versions on the album. Why did you decide that and do you prefer one version over the other?

RS: I thought it was a big song. So I wanted to make sure there was an outlet for the message of the song. So I kind of re-approached it with the remix version, but truly, I like the main version, which is track 4, which was kind of designed as the end credits to a film, designed to keep you in your seats and stalk around you. That’s the song I had in mind you when I wrote it. I wanted to re-approach it to tie up loose ends.

 

AM: Now for more random questions, not necessarily about the album. You’ve noted quotes from Ayn Rand and mentioned that “The Fountainhead” is one of your favorite books. Who is your favorite character from “The Fountainhead” and why?

RS: Well, as an artist, I read that book with a certain view, you know. I connect…, the path I’ve chosen in life because I’ve been on both sides. I’ve been on Keating and the Roark side.  My sister, Kristen Farrell, she is a jewelry designer, maybe the world’s best in my opinion. She is an artist, she makes everything by hand. I call her Roark because she is just uncompromising and sticks to her vision, her truth and it’s beautiful. For me, in music, along the way, you think you’re doing that but you’d be surprised how outside forces can kind of get in your brain. So when I would use my brain, I related with the Keating character, but that didn’t last so long because I didn’t like the outcomes of that. So for me, as an artist, I relate absolutely with Roark because I just won’t play anymore, it won’t make me happy if I’m not doing exactly what I want to be doing because that’s the only way I’d like to make a difference. My DNA, my fingerprint is solely mine. So I don’t want anyone smudging it or blurring it because what I’ve learned is that people who like what I do. They want to know just that. They don’t want to think that someone else has got their hands in it. They want to know what I wanted to say to them and that’s my relationship with my fans like we’re talking now. So I don’t want any compromise. I don’t want to at all think I changed what I thought I heard in my head because nobody knows better than me about me. It took me a long time to learn that and it’s a really powerful place to be.

 

AM: What artists are you listening to right now?

RS: I do like to listen to new stuff. I listen to new stuff all the time. I’m also often a little bummed. Like, really, is this what people are celebrating? I’m only concerned about what people celebrate which is the definition of celebrity, right?. And it makes me worried that that’s what we’ll be known for, like our generation, and it concerns me sometimes because I know there’s some great stuff out there and that stuff is The National, James Blake. I do like Lorde, I think culture got her right. I think we got her right. I like even this new band out of Brooklyn. I’m friends with these guys called Animal Years. I like them a lot. I like realness. I think as I learn more about music I learn like how people chase things and how people make things. So anytime I hear about people chasing, I’m not down.

 

AM: What is your favorite 80’s movie?

RS: I really grew up in the 90s. The movies I would say are right on the cusp, like “Pump Up the Volume”. I’m going to go with “Heathers”, but I just have to blindly just say “Goonies”. I’ll never turn down a “Back to the Future” marathon.

 

AM: More about your songs: Losing My Memory is also one of my favorite songs - What is the inspiration for the song and what is it about?

RS: It’s fitting that you ask about films because one day I sat down, and sometimes art inspires art, inspires art, and the great story with “Losing My Memory” is I sat down, and I had a line. I had a chorus on loop for “you’re losing your memory now” and it just did that over and over again. I knew I wanted to write a song around that. I just wanted to build it. So every time I sat down in front of the piano and tried, nothing inspired me. And then I sat down and watched “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, one of my favorite films, and I pretty much wrote all the words by the time the movie was over. Then I thought to myself, that this is such a non personal song because I just wrote it about something that’s not at all my life. Turns out that when I looked at the lyrics when I was done, I said oh my god, this is so under my skin and personal that I would have never thought of this myself. However I processed the movie and then, through my hands wrote it. It became such a personal and subconscious thing.  So then I took that and made it this beautiful song. It’s one of my favorites. I’m glad you like it. Then years later it inspired more art because I was inspired by this art and then I inspired my friend Joshua Butler who was the director of the Vampire Diaries and he made this whole scene around that song. And then I see some other people watch that scene and they get inspired. And they either draw something or write something and they send it to me.  And it’s a beautiful circle like the rain falling from the sky and operating back up to the mountains and the stream and becoming dinosaur bones. It’s a beautiful artistic circle and I really like it.

 

AM: You’ve had great success getting your songs used on TV shows.  How does that happen? Is it something you pursue and submit, or do they come to you?

RS: I think it comes to me. I don’t know how to do that. I try. Sometimes I think a lot of songs on this new album are really fit for that and I’m still kind of waiting to see how it’ll be out there. It’s been another difficult hurdle. I know the business side of it. I know it well. But the truth is, I’ve learned that there is so much noise, there’s so much music out there that you just can’t compete. Your time is better off spent with your eyes closed talking to the universe at this point, I think. The hard work, you’re just a pile, you’re just a song and every kid with a laptop is making a song right now. The noise is very heavy. We’re losing art. It’s like photography. Everyone is a photographer now. So, how do you see the truly gifted artist? As beautiful as it is that we’re all making something, who’s enjoying what we’re making? Everyone is making, making, making and talking, talking, talking and who’s listening?

 

AM: What do you think of Spotify?

RS: I don’t think much of it, I just kinda go with it because I’m not in the camp of me trying to change music. I’m simply trying to get my music out there. Clearly Spotify is a way to do that. So I have no comment on the idea that Napster has officially won. If there was a battle, then Spotify is the legal  version of free music. I’m not here to fight that fight. I, like everybody else, am trying to get heard. But the truth is, Spotify is the end of purchasing music as we all knew it. Again, I’m not fighting the fight. So I have nothing to say beyond - be careful about free. You get what you pay for, I would say.  The other thing is there is pride. When I would save up my money and buy an album, there was a pride in investing in something that I believed in and really wanted to listen to and enjoy it. I remember when I was younger and I would hand out free demos. The odds of someone listening to that demo were really slim, but if I charged them a dollar they would absolutely listen to it. There is a psychology that when people pay for something they value it more. I’m really excited on one hand that music is everywhere and it’s accessible to everyone but I’m not excited that I feel like the value of music has gone down.

 

AM: You’ve toured with many artists. What’s most memorable?

RS: Touring with Bon Jovi. We played the MGM Grand Las Vegas pretty much every night. It was as good as it gets.

 

AM: I saw you open for Andy Grammer in Chicago.  I’ve noticed that he drew a very young crowd and there were many kids in the audience.  Did you feel that it worked for you or do you see your audience as a bit older?

RS:  The audience is really wise because I’m not singing flavor of the week music. It’s real stories and real emotion that I’m putting down. Andy and I really enjoyed playing to the little kids. I think the 13 year old kids reacted better to my music sometimes than people in their 20s or 30s. I think it was the first time they heard… the first time these bubblegum pop type kids first heard the real artist approach to music. That’s what Tori Amos and Radiohead were for me.

 

AM: You’ve have credit on a “Right Here With You” on David Cook’s “This Loud Morning” album. It’s also one of my favorite songs.  How did the writing process come about. How did you collaborate?

RS: It was the song that I was writing for the Twilight soundtrack when it first came out and it never made the cut. I really thought it was a great song, so I reworked it with David and it’s where it belongs now [Johnny Rzeznik, Gregg Wattenberg also have credits on the song]. He did a great job with it.

 

AM: People are saying that Rock is dead. Do you feel like it’s being replaced by EDM? I feel like the younger generation doesn’t really know Rock.

RS:  I believe it’s cyclical. When I hear Rock, to me, I think Lorde is Rock, I think Kesha is Rock in a way I think Kesha is Punk Rock. If they make music that your parents want you to turn off, that’s Rock. As far as the sonics of it all, the bands are out there. It’s just cyclical. Right now it’s beat centric and digital world because it’s easier to make that kind of music and it’s cheaper to make that kind of music. So, there are great bands out there. It’s not dead. It’s not being heard. People aren’t as into it. EDM is incredibly healthy right now in the business world. It’s Disco. It’s party. It’s drugs. It’s fun. There is a time and place for mindless machinery and there’s a time where you’re going to want to get into the heart and soul of it and that can’t give you that like a Bob Dylan song can. So, in fear of sounding aged, I just think that when the time is right people come back to thought and emotion and when they do at least I’m here waiting. 

 

AM: Where do you see yourself in 1 year, 2 years, 5 years.

RS: To think I would know is really like mystical of me I guess.  If it’s a sign of where I’ve been, then I would be making music, creating things, and hopefully be happy.

 

AM:  If you were to play the song "Fuck'n Up" in a children friendly crowd, what would you change the lyrics to?

RS: I haven’t had to do that yet because I have enough songs. So I usually don’t play it. I don’t know… I think I can’t do it… I think that the idea of that song and singing it so sweetly the way it is…. To change it would be doing that song a disservice and it wouldn’t make sense. For all the people who want to cover it out there, you can always say “Messn-Up”. Or Effin-Up. Can you say that in front of kids?

 

Thank you to Ryan Star and his team. Thank you to @imogenPH of @COOKistas, Anthony Ong, and Marie L. for helping me with putting together the interview questions.


Alla M. is a rehabilitation counselor and music enthusiast from the Chicago area. She first became a Ryan Star fan in 2009. She has been a fan ever since and was very excited to get a chance to interview Ryan. 

SUMMER IN THE CITY - TIX AVAILABLE NOW

I hope you can come to these shows.   
I love playing with my band more than anything-  they are a part of my spirit and we are on a musical journey together.  These solo shows bare the songs in a different way. It has been cool to strip down and get primal, like when I started in NYC. 


Like last time, these tix will go soon so get them now. Don't wait. Bring your friends and let's get naked this summer in the city. 

All love, r

AUG. 13th - 9:30pm: TIX HERE

AUG 20th - 9:30pm: TIX HERE