An Interview With The Utah-Based Rock/Pop Artist, RYAN SHUPE On His Newest Music, Biggest Inspirations and More!
Posted On 23 Mar 2017
Utah-based rock/pop artist, Ryan Shupe, announces the release of his eighth full-length album, We Rode On, out now on iTunes on other digital music sites. The 11-track album includes a revamped version of Shupe’s 2005 hit single, “Dream Big,” which hit #13 on the US Bubbling Chart and #27 on the US Country Singles chart. This new album marks the Shupe’s transition from straight country and bluegrass music to a more country rock/pop vibe. Shupe also showcases the artist’s versatility as producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.
A fifth-generation fiddler, Ryan Shupe first started playing the violin since age 5 and since then, has been singing, songwriting and playing the electric guitar, acoustic guitar and mandolin. Shupe is known for his role as leader, songwriter, lead vocalist in the bluegrass/jam group, Ryan Shupe & the Rubberband. The group has had a successful career spanning two decades and seven full-length albums, including Dream Big, which was released via Capitol Records, and was a Top 40 Hit on the U.S. Billboard Country Album Chart. The release of his upcoming album, and the evolutionary change in band name and focus, mark a shift in Shupe’s musical style to a more rock/pop sound. Having a highly focused vision for this album, Ryan wrote the songs, then produced and played almost all of the instruments himself. We Rode On taps into Shupe’s love for adult rock mixed with his love for acoustic instruments.
Ryan Shupe has received praise from countless outlets, such as MTV who says, “Ryan’s unique style, which blends influences including rock, country, folk, and jazz, provided for a texture that evoked images of Dave Matthews Band gone bluegrass.”
Learn more about Ryan in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What are some words you would use to describe 2016 for you and your music?
2016 was great! We were able to release our latest album “We Rode On” and tour to a bunch of places and venues where we love performing at.
What were some of the highlights?
Aside from performing, which is always fun, I really enjoyed making the new music videos we have. It’s fun to delve into a different creative side. The visual side of music has always interested me. Making music videos combines the visual with the music and it can be a powerful thing.
What are you most excited about for 2017?
We’ve got some great shows coming this year and I’ve got a great team and band. I love performing and thinking of new ways to be creative in that element. The band and I like to mix up the grooves and arrangements so we can reinvent the way we look at songs.
Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?
Yes, We need to get a new tour mobile… (Laughter) The last one just took a turn for the worse so now I’m looking for a new one. Aside from that, I would love to make a few more videos and start working on some new music. Creating is one of the best parts about being a musician.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician?
I didn’t. I have played music since I was 5 years old and in bands since I was 10. I always thought I would play for fun but didn’t think I would be a professional musician. Somewhere along the way, I felt that I should follow the path of being a musician and see where it took me… So here I am.
Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I remember when I was first starting to learn the violin I would play by ear and not read the music. My teacher started turning the music upside down to make me play it that way so I could learn to read the music. That was probably when I was 5 and first starting to play the violin.
Could you see yourself doing anything else today?
Oh man… good question. I have always tried to live my life with as few regrets as possible. I’m guessing that is one of the main reasons I am still playing music today.
You recently released your 8th studio album called “We Rode On.” Can you talk about how you approached this collection differently than the others?
Most of the other albums have been a little more collaborative with the band. On this album, I started recording and experimenting a bit more on my own at my personal studio. Initially I wanted to record some demos to take to the band, but as time went on, I kept recording, tweaking and experimenting and it led me to create most of the album on my own.
How do you think you have grown and changed as a musician over the years?
I have gotten better at knowing when not to play and how an arrangement can better serve the message of a song. I’ve also gotten better at learning to layer elements together so they blend to make a more cohesive sound.
What was the inspiration for the songs on “We Rode On”?
I find inspiration in daily things that I see and do. Some of these might be stories I read or people I notice along the way. “The Sun Will Shine Again” is a song I wrote for my children. I wanted to give them a mantra they could take with them through their life’s journey.
How long did it take to write these songs and put the album together?
Some songs had been rattling around in my head for years and some were new for the album. Overall, it took a few months to record everything.
You are known for your incessant touring over the past two decades. I’d love to know what you consider the ultimate show for you?
Sometimes a show is just magical and everything goes right. The crowd is responsive and all the jams and improvised sections work together seamlessly and you leave the stage thinking that you killed it. That’s a great feeling. I love an outdoor, night time, summer show where everyone is singing along and having fun.
What makes a show really incredible?
I think the best shows are the ones where you give something to the crowd and they give back to you. The shows where you really connect with the audience are the best ones.
Do you think that you are happiest when you are on stage performing in front of your fans?
Haha… well I can be happy doing a lot of things… hanging with my family, snowboarding, hiking, etc… But, definitely performing on stage for the fans is one of the most fun things I do.
What is the best and most challenging part about being on the road for long stretches of time?
We try to make it home as much as we can. I think having that connection to home is really important and keeps you grounded and remembering where you came from and who you really are. Another thing is making sure you are traveling with bandmates that are a good hang. That can make or break being on the road.
I understand that you play a handful of instruments but do you have one that you tend to enjoy playing the most?
They are all a bit different so I like playing them all for different reasons. The fiddle is so expressive and I love the versatility that it offers. The mandolin is so rhythmic and has that chordal element while the guitar is got some open tones and chordal overtones that are really great. The banjo is so pattern based and has a cool drone string. So it is fun to mix and match the layers and different randomized notes that you get.
How did you first get into playing the fiddle?
I am a 5th generation fiddler in my family so it runs deep with me. When I was 5 my parents started me on the fiddle/violin. I didn’t know anything different. All my cousins played so that’s just what we did. I’m grateful that I got started so early.
I tend to love musicians who write songs and I am constantly discovering new artists. There are mainstream classics like Bruce Springsteen and Sting, but there are always newer artists cropping up like Ed Sheeran, Rachel Platten, Zac Brown, etc…
What musicians would you love to work with in the future?
Well… I think that of course, if given the chance, it would be amazing to sit down with some of the legends like Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Paul Simon and pick their brain. Also, being a “picker” myself, I think it would be great to work with another artist who can really play like John Mayer, Brad Paisley, Chris Thile to name a few.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music?
Overall, I try to promote positivity. We have songs that are thoughtful and lyrical, but at the end of the show most people remember the positive and fun time that they had.
What do you hope people take away from your songs?
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I would encourage people to go to our website www.ryanshupe.com. The new album “We Rode On” is featured and there are songs and videos available to check out. There is also a bunch of other music you can listen to and discover some of the bands history in the music.