Posted On 07 Jun 2018
Get to know the R&B pop artist Ryan Whitman. Check out his empowering debut track “If You Really Want To” HERE. The song encourages people to embrace their truth and live a life that brings them joy, reassuring those yearning to embrace “other lifestyles” that the power lies within them to find themselves. “If You Really Want To” is the first single off his debut EP, Body Heat, set to drop on June 22nd.
Manhattan-based R&B pop artist Ryan Whitman has been passionate about music his whole life. After beginning the piano at 5 years old, he quickly developed an early love for jazz music, with this love soon growing to encompass R&B and soul. While others were discovering their love for AC/DC, Ryan was discovering the works of Erykah Badu and Sade. Ryan’s Body Heat EP is a combination of songs that explore the complexities of relationships, self-assurance and self acceptance. His out of the box personal style and rejection of current trends and stereotypes is a reflection of who he is as an artist and the message of his music: empowerment, individuality and hope.
Learn more about Ryan Whitman in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So where does this interview find you? What’s on tap for the rest of your day?
A: Thank you for having me! This interview finds me at a wonderful point with the release of my EP Body Heat set for June 22nd. We just confirmed the release show at Rockwood Stage 2 on Monday June 25th at 8pm, so I’m very excited to play at Rockwood to celebrate! This interview also finds me with my music video for my single “If You Really Want To” recently out. Life is good!
Overall, how do you think 2017 was for you and your career? What are you most excited about for this year? What is one big goal you have for 2018?
A: For me, 2017 would best described as anticipation as I spent a lot of time in the recording studio working on putting my EP together. This year I’m most excited to finally be releasing my EP on June 22nd. One of my biggest goals now is to be able to share my music with the release of Body Heat.
Growing up, did you ever think that this would be the kind of life that you would have? Has music always been a big part of your life? Can you recall your first ever musical experience?
A: Music has always been my world. I love to sing, and have been told that I sang before I talked. I started asking for a piano when I was 5, and was fortunate to take piano lessons with one of my favorite people in the universe, Risa Rosenthal. She was an amazing mentor and encouraged me to explore my own musical “voice” as I started writing and performing my own music.
How do you think you and your music has been influenced by your hometown and living in Manhattan now?
A: I think the influence of Doylestown PA and Manhattan have merged beautifully. Doylestown was a great place to grow up because there are so many artistic avenues. My school had a great music program, and I was part of several community theater groups, so I had a lot of performance opportunities. Living in Manhattan and working in the music industry has introduced me to so many wonderful people and experiences that really come through on this EP. You can’t help but be inspired when living in NYC!
A: I wrote “If You Really Want To” halfway through the recording process in response to an article I read about a mother who refused to let her son get a butterfly painted on his face at a fair because “he was a boy and butterflies were for girls”. I started thinking of all the times I’ve heard people say “I wish I could be ok with…” or “I wish I was comfortable enough with myself to…” and I just went to the piano and started writing. It’s a plea that if we want a brighter future we have to let people be true to themselves and come together as a worldwide community in the spirit of love and acceptance.
How do you think it introduces listeners to you and the kind of music to expect from you? How does it prepare people for your upcoming EP, “Body Heat”?
A: “If You Really Want To” introduces people to my fun side with a lot of 90’s/80’s R&B pop vibes. I feel it’s actually the most different out of the songs on the EP, but I really wanted “If You Really Want To” to come out first largely due to its message. Overall the Body Heat EP is fun and has some nice pop elements, but the other songs have more of a sexy confident vibe and lean a bit more R&B.
What was it like putting together “Body Heat”? Did anything surprise you about the overall process? Can you remember what it was like hearing the entire collection for the first time?
A: Putting together the EP was very difficult. I write prolifically, so there was a large number of songs to choose from (follow up EP?). My producer, Nate Martinez, was great with helping me to narrow in on the pieces that really worked together as a collection. Fun fact, “Body Heat” wasn’t even on my mind for this EP, it wasn’t until hearing the other songs together that I said “wait, I have this song that might just be right for this”. Hearing the collection together for the first time felt so magical, I think the EP really tells a nice cohesive story.
While it’s difficult, can you pick out a couple of your favorite songs off your EP and talk about how they were written and how they got on this collection?
A: I really love “Same Songs” and “Raspberry Kisses”. Both of these songs were written late at night, one writing session of me at the keys, and then they were done. “Raspberry Kisses” was actually the song that inspired this project, and inspired my mastering guru, Rich Morales, to connect me with Nate Martinez on the production side. I love that track because it always gets me grooving. “Same Songs” is what I consider the smooth ballad of the EP, and I just love it. The concept is about when you grow feelings for someone and you sit at home at night playing the same love songs over and over wondering if they feel same. “Same Songs” was just an easy off the bat “yes” from Nate and myself, and was written right before we started working on the EP.
What do you think makes for an ideal show for you? What has been a favorite performance of yours so far? Do you have any upcoming shows you would like to tell our readers about?
A: What I love about live performance is feeling that connection with the audience. An ideal show for me is just that, feeling an energy and connection with the audience for the music. I don’t know that I can pick a favorite performance, and I feel my best is still to come! As for upcoming shows, I’d love to see you at my EP release show at Rockwood Stage 2 on Monday June 25th at 8pm, and we’ll be updating my website at TheRyanWhitman.com as new shows are booked!
We are living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious how you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you think that music is going to reflect these challenging times?
A: I think that music is already reflecting these challenging times and will continue to be very powerful with strong opinions, narratives, and calls to action especially with artists like Solange and Childish Gambino. For me, music has always been my safe haven that’s brought me joy and has helped me to get through hard times and struggles. I hope my music can do the same for someone else.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
A: There are so many artists I would love to work with, some of my all time favorites who inspired me: Sade, Janet Jackson, Gloria Estefan, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Prince, Erykah Badu, Brandy, George Michael, and the Manhattan Transfer. I would love to work with any of those artists any day of the week. Also shout out to Paula Abdul, her music videos and choreography work have inspired me so much.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? What would you say is the overall message of your songs?
A: I want to bring joy and understanding to as many people as possible through my music. The overall message and take away really is to be confident and bold, live your life, and take chances.
Would you like to share anything else about yourself or your music with our readers?
A: I would love to share everything with your readers! For now I’ll let you all know I have some music videos coming up, more shows to come, I love fashion that breaks boundaries, any vegan baked goods, and wish I could spend every day on the beach. If you’d like more info on any of these topics follow me @TheRyanWhitman on all social platforms.