Ryan Kelly is a Canadian singer-songwriter armed with talent, ambition and big dreams. He is on a mission to succeed and won’t be satisfied until he does. Allow me to introduce you:
Ryan Kelly knows who he is — musically.
He’s a rocker, a country singer, a punk, a rapper and a balladeer … all rolled into one.
“I write a lot of songs. The thing is, I’m not an artist that specializes in one type of music — from rock to rhythm and blues to country, I’ve dabbled in a little of it all,” Kelly explained.
A musician who calls London, Ontario, home, Kelly, 23, has been writing songs for a while and estimates he has written hundreds, and about “16 to 20 to have actually made it to a stage performance.”
He is a perfectionist, taking his time to live and breathe a song before it comes to life. Every song gives new insight into his personality, which is sometimes serious, occasionally playful, but always entertaining and inviting.
Kelly finds his writing inspiration in “the highlights of life,” with topics ranging from romantic interests, fitting in, nights out having fun, family, friends and travel.
He comes from a large family — three younger brothers and two younger sisters and two sets of parents — that help push him and encourages him to reach for a career in music.
“When I’m writing, I try to find inspiration from my own life. Experiences I am going through, or have been through, and how they made me feel,” he explained.
“The writing stage is an amazing one to partake in. It’s a lot of work and fun, and I am very happy to put my blood, soul and energy into this passion.”
Kelly has been singing since he was a teenager, earlier with a high school band, Picture Us Naked, and now on his own.
“I have sung in many competitions and battles of the bands, choir and individual singing competitions — the whole works. I like competing.
“It keeps me on my toes and gives me the drive to continuously try to improve my techniques,” he explained.
Kelly has been playing guitar for around six years and is trying his hand at other instruments too.
“I have played bass, drums and am currently learning a little piano. Piano is an instrument I’ve dreamed about playing for a long time and I feel blessed to finally have the opportunity at the right time for me,” he said.
Kelly finds inspiration in music by Ed Sheeran, Teddy Geiger, John Mayer, Finger Eleven, A Day to Remember and All Time Low.
“I find songs I can relate to … about a time, a place, a girl, a moment,” he explained.
“I like the mellow acoustic and rhythmic acoustic styles because they are unedited — real, natural, less processed.
“Acoustic music is more of a natural talent and those three artists (Sheeran, Geiger and Mayer) are people I find outstanding at what they do.”
Kelly’s song “Cinderella” is evidence of the influence of musicians like Sheeran and Mayer.
The almost country-tinged ballad of a one-night crush is sweet and tender, leaving the listener pulling for him to get the girl in the end. Alas, it isn’t meant to be, but the story makes for a good song.
“Cinderella” is the first song to be previewed from the album he is currently pouring himself into.
“Most musicians will tell you during the writing and recording process, it’s imperative to solely take your focus and passion and grind it into your material,” he said. “I am planning on finishing my album this year and then taking back to the stage to unleash my new material throughout southern Ontario and the rest of the world soon.”
Kelly is also working to make his solo act a full-blown band.
“I’m in the midst of starting my own band,” he explained. “Since I already have six originals ready to release on my EP, I’m now starting a punk/rock band with my best friends. We have all grown up in the same town together and have similar musical influences.
“It’s going to be an exciting new project to get started on and is bringing back amazing memories, experiences and lessons from the old band.
“When it comes to harder rock, or punk or pop, you have to find a way to deliver a driving beat. With our new core group, we are working with everything and it just keeps pouring out naturally.”
Kelly hopes to see the second half of 2015 as productive and exciting as the first half has been.
“For 2015, I want to finish my personal EP and continue working on the band and finish writing that EP as well,” he explained.
Today marks the debut of his video for the song “Or No.” He describes it as “Ed Sheeran meets Dashboard Confessional.” Have a look and a listen, then follow him on Twitter @RY4NKELLY for more music, photos and conversation.