Interview with Phoebe Ryan
Getting to know the singer as she talks about her new music, her hometown, being on tour and people expecting her to look like a 'popstar'
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Phoebe Ryan, here's everything you should know about her. You’ve probably heard her hit collab single “All We Know” with The Chainsmokers on the radio, or heard one of the many songs she’s written for other artists, such as Britney Spears (“Man On The Moon”) and Bea Miller (“Young Blood”). The 26 year old, electropop singer-songwriter is now rising with music of her own.
In 2015, she got signed by Columbia Records and released her first EP, titled Mine, which was praised by many. What makes Phoebe stand out is not just the fact that she writes her own music, but her gratifying silvery vocals and unique style, She isn’t trying to be anyone else except herself and that shows in not just the way she presents herself but in all of her catchy songs as well. Despite only releasing one EP, she has continued to release singles throughout 2016 and 2017 while actively working on completing her album and touring as well. Earlier this month, she came out with a new single, “Dark Side,” which has already had over a million streams on Spotify.
Despite her busy schedule, she took some time to chat with us.
Teal Magazine: When did you know you wanted to start working in music?
Phoebe Ryan: I always knew I wanted to go into entertainment and performance...something along the lines of that. I did acting for a very long time, but when I was deciding what college I wanted to go to, I decided to go for music. So that’s when I started to take it seriously, like a career path.
TM: Right, you went to NYU and studied engineering, production, and business.
TM: What was that experience like and how did it work out for you?
PR: It was a great experience. All of the Professors there were super awesome. It was just overall a really great experience. I can’t imagine having gone anywhere else.
TM: NYU is a really great school. Congrats on graduating. Did you grow up in the east coast?
PR: Yeah, I grew up on the Jersey Shore, actually. Near the Red Bank area.
TM: That sounds like a lot of fun! So, you write your own songs...what is your writing process like? Do you draw from personal experiences or do you get an idea and just run with it?
PR: I mean, honestly, every time I start a new song it’s completely different. It’s however I feel that day. Sometimes I start with a word that I have in mind, sometimes I have a melody idea that I’ve been playing around with. I feel like it’s different every day. I like to keep it interesting.
TM: And what was it like to have acts like Britney Spears and Oh Honey sing songs that you wrote?
PR: It’s awesome! It’s always to cool to know that something you’ve created is being sung by other people, too, like it means something to them as well. It’s just a very surreal experience. Feels good.
TM: Another song you wrote was “Young Blood,” which Bea Miller took over. I was really surprised to learn you wrote the song because it was the one song by her that really struck out to me because of the lyrics.
PR: Oh, thank you!
TM: Can you give us a little background for that song?
PR: It was actually written during one of my first writing trips out in LA, I was working with my friends Matt Parad and Mike Del Rio. We just happened to have started writing that one and it felt really good. It took us a few months to finish it up, but we always felt like it was really special.
TM: You also just recently had a huge hit with The Chainsmokers. How did that come about?
PR: It was cool. They had sent me the song and I really loved it from the moment I heard it. It was really fun to have worked with those guys because I’ve known them for a few years from meeting them back in New York City. It was a really cool experience to finally being able to work with them.
TM: After releasing your Mine EP, which I love, you’ve been compared to Ellie Goulding, Tove Lo, and Lights. Is that the direction and sound you want to go in as a musician?
PR: All those ladies you mentioned are, like, amazing and they’re people I really look up to. But I don’t know if I really want people to sort of lump me into that category. I mean, I’m not mad, it’s pretty cool. But, you know it’s hard for me to just, like, fully be like, yeah I wanna be exactly like them. I just wanna be my damn self, you know?
TM: Totally! You recently released a new single called “Dark Side.” What has the reception been like from your fans?
PR: So far, so good. I think people seem to really like it and I’m excited. I feel like I have really supportive fans.
TM: I’m hearing it’s a single from an upcoming album. When can fans expect an album from you?
PR: Oh, well. I wish I had a better answer for that, but I honestly have no idea. I’m still working on it and I want it to be perfect, so I hope everyone will be patient.
TM: I’m sure they will. Obviously, you’ve been working in music or a while. Do you think as you’re going forward, you’re still developing your sound?
PR: I think I’m always kind of developing. If you’re just always trying to go for the same thing, I can’t imagine that’s very fun. I think it’s more fun to constantly be inspired by something new, and usually that’s evolving over time.
TM: Definitely! You’ve got a really nice, outspoken image. You’re not afraid to tell people how you feel, especially on Twitter. Recently you were talking about how you dress on stage and how people expect you to look like a popstar, and working in this industry, obviously people have those kind of expectations from you. How do you feel about that?
PR: Basically, I think everyone can kiss my butt. I think that you have to have a certain amount of confidence in yourself. It would be great to look like Selena Gomez, but I just don’t. And you know, what? That’s okay. I want to be stoked about who I am and I’m finally feeling very comfortable with that. It feels really great to just not care what other people think.
TM: I think that’s a really great way to look at it, and I dig your style and your green hair. I think it’s so cool. I don’t know how you have green hair and it’s not damaged at all. What is your secret?
PR: I don’t like to go crazy with the bleach, to be honest. I have a really amazing hair stylist. When I first went to her, she was like, oh my gosh, I need to save your hair. So, I was like, okay. Do whatever it takes. And she’s just like this magician...she’s kept my hair super healthy. It’s really very low maintenance. It’s super easy for me.
TM: I’m super jealous. I have black hair and I tried to go green. But eventually it was super damaged and I had to just cut it off. But kudos to you cause you’re rocking it.
PR: Thank you! Yeah, going black to any color is very dangerous.
TM: Back to music. Currently, you’ve been on tour with Tove Lo, who has expressed how much she loves your music, how is that going?
PR: Oh my gosh, it’s going so well. I’m having the best time ever. We’re only three shows in and I’m already like, this is the best tour of all time. It’s so fun.
TM: That’s sick. Good luck on the rest of the tour and thank you for chatting with us.
PR: Thank you so much!