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Ryan Hagan | Interview and “Don’t Let Me Stop” Single Release

Ryan Hagan | Interview and “Don’t Let Me Stop” Single Release

Ryan got his start singing in churches from an early age and is a self-taught pianist. He credits his spiritual upbringing and gospel influences to much of the soulful sounds ingrained in his voice. He enjoyed success as a nationally-acclaimed athlete before a career-ending series of injuries catapulted him into songwriting and performing Pop music. 

We have previously featured Ryan and reviewed his last single, “You Deserve Better,” which is currently sitting at over 318,000 streams on Spotify alone, which is impressive. Ryan was recently awarded for the Top Artist of 2020 in our Reader’s Choice Awards.

Ryan Hagan has a new highly anticipated single, “Don’t Let Me Stop,” that just released today. In honor of this release, we have decided to do an interview and feature Ryan as our Featured Artist.

Jerrett at Nashville Music Reviews – Thanks for doing this interview with me today. Congrats on being our featured artist for the month of April. How did you get started with music?

Ryan Hagan – I got started in music growing up in church in Birmingham, AL. I just kept doing it all through out my teenage years and eventually taught myself to play piano when I was 15 since we didn’t have money for lessons. Once I got into college, I began exploring writing music and would later find myself releasing my own music to the world in 2018.

What is the first song that you ever performed in front of people?

Ha! Believe it or not, the first song I ever performed was when I was 7 in elementary school. It was for a musical or something that school makes all the kids do and the parents have to come watch. Although the nerves were just as real at age 7, I began singing in choir and doing solos at church when I got into middle school and high school. I then started doing live music on instagram and that was, believe it or not, my first time ever really performing pop music for an audience.

What is your favorite part of singing/songwriting?

I think singing and songwriting are unique in and of themselves, so my favorite things about them are also different. I would have to say my favorite part of singing is feeling the energy in the room build and watching the audience connect with me. There’s nothing in the world like it. My favorite part of songwriting is when you find the hook and melody. There is just something about that part of the creation sequence that is an adrenaline rush, and it’s at that point you just breathed life into the song. It’s literally like giving the song a heartbeat.

Who are your musical inspirations?

I have so many inspirations that I am going to probably kick myself for leaving some out, but I’ll say that the ones that come to mind in this moment are John Legend, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, John Mayer, Adele, Elton John, Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Marc Broussard, Yebba and Kirk Franklin. I knew absolutely for certain that music was my destiny when I was driving one night back to my dorm during college, and “Ordinary People” by John Legend came on the radio. I literally had to pull over because I was so overcome with emotion and hooked on the melody, lyrics, piano accompaniment, soul and energy in that song. It changed my life and haven’t looked back since.

Quarantine has had different effects on everyone. How has COVID and quarantine impacted you, as an artist?

It has really encouraged me to focus on my personal growth and looking inward, which has translated into more authentic music from me. My newest release, “Don’t Let Me Stop,” is a direct reflection of that. We all keep so “busy,” and “busy” is often times a way to avoid or numb the things in our lives we need to face and release. I know it has been a time of loss and mourning for so many, but in my own personal life, I have become a better man.

When everything gets back to some sort of normal, what is the one thing you are looking forward to most?

I think the one thing I’m looking forward to the most is connecting with people more often in person. I think it’s cool to FaceTime, Zoom, etc. But there is no substitute for hanging with your friends in person! Also, dancing. Definitely dancing. 🙂

You have a new song that just came out today. Congrats on that by the way. Can you tell me the inspiration and message behind the song?

Thank you! Grateful for your support and the way everyone has rallied around me on this record. This one is my most authentic song yet. The writing is vulnerable, and the vocal really pushed me, which I love. The inspiration came from a lot of the personal growth I’ve been experiencing. Mental health is so important, especially in the music community because creatives feel things so deeply. I noticed in my personal relationships some patterns, and it’s a two-way street. It’s easy to focus on the wrong others do to me, but what about me? So the song encompasses this massive release I experienced when I started to notice that many of my responses were based in fear. Fear of abandonment, rejection, shame and so on. And the chorus is me asking for help – something we do not do well today. We like our independence, and we love to be seen as strong. Asking for help is strong; pretending everything is ok when it’s not is weakness. So for me, I would rather ask for someone to help me find my way out of the unhealthy patterns versus me bailing and withdrawing anytime something gets challenging. Ultimately, not every love song winds up with the forever happy ending. But nothing will turn into forever if we turn away from love every time it pushes us. If we could choose to be honest about how we’re feeling, there is so much connection that can be built around that. So my wish for everyone that hears the song is that they will be encouraged to embrace vulnerability, communicate it and ask for what they need in love.

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You’ve had a lot of success in different countries with your previous releases. What does that mean to you?

Yes! I have been so fortunate to build an artist-producer relationship with Bryan Todd. He is doing so many amazing things, and he has earned a lot of respect in the international music community. That being said, he took a risk on me, and I’m proud to say it’s started to pay off. The attention our collaborations have gotten in the U.K. and abroad is astounding to me. I am so humbled and grateful. It was so surreal seeing my name on the “Music Week” radio charts along side tons of A-list superstars like Beyonce, Drake, Sam Smith, Ariana, etc. (“Music Week” is very much so the Billboard of the U.K.). My last two projects got lots of support out there and went up as high as #7, so we are excited to see the reactions this month to “Don’t Let Me Stop.”

What can we expect from you in the future with your music? Any shows or concerts in the works?

Not unlike other artists, live music options are really pretty limited. So plans for travel to the U.K. and here domestically have all pretty much been on an indefinite pause. Once travel resumes, and it’s safe to do so, my team and I will begin looking at the calendar and opportunities at that time. That being said, I have continued writing and building momentum, and I’m excited to say I’ve got some pretty cool things brewing. But I’m going to stay present and in the moment by enjoying this release for “Don’t Let Me Stop.”

You have a massive fan base and a huge online presence. What would you like to tell your fans and everyone else who has been there for you?

Thank you for the opportunity to speak directly to my fam (my affectionate terminology for my “fans” because they’re not fans to me, they’re family). Y’all are the best in the world. I know you don’t know the inner-workings of how complex the music industry is, but the reality is, I cannot do anything without your support. Streaming, saving, following, sharing, etc. all go SUCH a long way in helping any artist build their act and get a shot at things like playlists, radio spots, interviews and media attention, as well as financial backing. So simple things that y’all do for me actually create ripple effects in ways that you could never imagine. I love y’all, and I can’t wait to see you in person soon!

A huge shoutout to Ryan Hagan for doing this interview with me today. I really appreciate it. Make sure to head on over to your favorite streaming platform and stream, “Don’t Let Me Stop.”

Follow Ryan on | Instagram | Official Website

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