The lo-fi crooner stopped by for a quick interview with Popdust.
Growing up outside Toronto, Alt-R&B crooner Eric Ryan admits that his soulful lo-fi swagger was molded in part by the sounds of Boyz II Men and D'Angelo, which his dad would regularly blast and belt along to, and in part by the musical video game Rock Band.
"I would also practice singing in my mom's walk-in closet so no one could hear me," he admits. While Ryan spent his childhood learning guitar via YouTube tutorials and recording covers, his low self-esteem prevented him from truly taking his craft seriously. "I took a little hiatus," the singer said. "I had some growing up to do." He went through multiple jobs, ended up in the military reserve for three years, and even started his own social media marketing business. "I ultimately realized that music was something I'd always loved; it never felt like work whenever I was doing it."
Eric Ryan's sultry new single is evidence of this natural ease. Over muddy synths and hazy lo-fi drums, "8PM (Cuffing Szn)" finds the singer's alluring voice as smooth and malleable as warm butter. With a guitar always strapped at his hip, Ryan's alluring sound begs the question as to why he tried to distance himself from what comes so naturally to him.
When did you finally decide to start taking music seriously after your hiatus?
In my early twenties after watching a few of my friends perform at this dive bar in downtown Toronto, something sparked in me to get started. I started experimenting with writing music, which was when I discovered a whole new wave of R&B. I fell in love with the singing and writing styles of Frank Ocean, Daniel Caesar, Rex Orange County, Dijon & Steve Lacy, all of whom have impacted me creatively, and here we are today.
How would you describe your sound now?
Mostly I just sing what feels comfortable to me. Everything I've written comes from personal experience, self-thought, and hardships in my own life. I feel like when the story is true, it makes the song that much more meaningful.
What can we expect from you these next few months?
I've got a single called "Stuck" releasing on January 8 which is going to be on my debut EP "Dream State" coming in February! Along with that, I'm working on a bunch of visuals/music videos to accompany the EP, as well as a lot more music cooking up in the vault!
Eric Ryan - 8PM (Cuffing Szn) feat. Julles (Official Lyrical Video) www.youtube.com
What can you tell us about your debut EP?
This project was put together off of the visions, ideas and experiences of the cycle of love. From feeling "stuck" on a past relationship to searching for and finding someone new that brightens up the day.
You have over a million collective streams. When did you start to realize people were actually vibing with your music?
It wasn't a specific moment but over time I started to receive a lot of DMs/comments from fans in other cities/countries across the world. It feels so crazy to be honest, cause it feels like almost yesterday I released my first song and was so hyped that like five people listened to it.
How have you spent quarantine? Is your family healthy?
I've been spending quarantine working on my craft! Practicing songwriting, getting better at the production side of things. Aside from music and content, I've been painting a lot of abstract pieces, going to therapy, and currently, I'm trying to get back into a healthier lifestyle/instill fitness in my life, I kinda fell off when covid initially hit. I haven't seen my family much since I moved out in August but I still FaceTime them to check-in and they're doing good. I do miss them a bunch though.