MEB Editor Maria Gironas got a chance to send some questions to singer-songwriter Ryan Corn about his recent label signing and music endeavors.
Tell me about what went into writing “Wonderful Things?”
The song came one day when I decided to take an honest look at myself. Growing up, people would sometimes call my family the Cleaver family. My parents were very good at being polite and sweet and so I learned how to do the same. And for the longest time I thought that because other people saw me this way, that that’s who I really was. “Wonderful Things” is just me being honest about who I really am. When it comes down to it, I’ve done terrible things in my life. But in spite of all those things, there are wonderful things that have been done for me. And so the song is really a tribute to that
Could you describe the story of each track in the EP?
“Another Try” is about the fragile concept of marriage in our day and age. I had recently learned of a dear friend going through a divorce. I was just entering into marriage and had a lot of questions about our society’s definition of love and commitment.
“The Only Good” is about remembering back to a time when life was simple. Things get complicated and messy as we grow in age. It’s important to remember what innocence and goodness looks like.
“Burst” is somewhat of a prayer for my life. When I’m at the end of my life, I don’t want to look back to see that I’ve spent my days fulfilling selfish desires. I want to be about something bigger than my own comfort and materialism.
“It’ll Be Alright” is a song about having each other’s back. It’s about friendship. We all need people to walk with us through the heartaches of life. And just as well, we need to help comfort and bear the burdens of those we love.
How was it like growing up in the MO music scene? Do you get any inspiration from there for your music today?
There isn’t a booming music scene in Southeast MO and so most of my musical inspiration came on Sunday mornings. I stood next to my grandma and learned how to sing harmony in a church pew. Outside of that, I just listened to the radio. I remember waiting for my favorite songs to come on the air so I could record them to a cassette tape. I think that’s where I learned to appreciate a great song
Within high school, you kind of dropped a lot of the average activities for the modern high school student for music, is it something you look back on and regret at all?
I think I like the idea of being able to say that I went to my prom or played basketball throughout high school. But when I really think about it, I’d rather just stay at home and play guitar in my room. It’s what I love and fortunately I’m now able to do what I love for a living. So I think the sacrifice was worth it
Based on your experience in the industry, what advice would you offer a new singer songwriter wanting to get signed by a label?
For an artist that wants to be signed to a label, I would say that it’s important to maintain balance. Balance between art and industry. For artists, it’s sometimes easy to get lost in your own work and to completely disregard the recipients of that art. Industry is great at thinking about those recipients; sometimes too great. When creating art, it’s important to be mindful of both what inspires you and what will resonate with listeners.
If you could form your own tour, locations and all, who would you tour with and what is the number one venue you’d have to play?
I would absolutely love to tour with John Mayer and James Taylor…two of my all time favorite singer/songwriters. I think Red Rocks would be an amazing place to play
What are somethings from your up coming album that we can expect?
I think listeners can expect to hear an album about hope and love. It’s a feel good album but not in a light-hearted way. There’s some depth to it. It’s been a lot of work and I’m so proud of these songs. I can’t wait for others to hear them
When you aren’t playing music, what do you do?
Music seems to be a pretty demanding profession but when I have the time I like to do other artistic projects that don’t revolve around music. I recently started doing a bit of wood working. I also do a bit of cycling. Other than that, I just enjoy living life with my sweet wife and two cats.
Last question! When has been your favorite moment in music so far? Within your own career.
It was that moment I received a phone call notifying me that I had won a battle of the bands concert for my song, “Wonderful Things.” This was strange because I hadn’t entered any contests. Apparently, a great friend of mine had submitted the song and forgot to tell me. The prize was to be the opening act in an arena of about 20,000 people. I remember jumping up and down, shouting like a wild man in my kitchen when I heard the news. That’s when I started to think that maybe I had a real shot at being a signed artist.