Ladies and gents, let us introduce you to Ryan Keen – we urge you to remember his name. He’s supported Plan B and Leona Lewis, duetted with Newton Faulkner and performed 260 gigs in the last 14 months. It’s safe to say that he’s certainly packed a lot into his first quarter century and he’s only just getting started. With his debut album, Room For Light, released on September 23rd, Ryan took the time to talk to us about what listeners can expect from the debut and what influences his music.
What was the inspiration behind Room For Light?
Ryan: Inspiration for the album has come from all aspects of life, it’s my observations, personal experiences and philosophy on love and loss.
Can you tell us a bit about what it was like recording the album?
Ryan: The majority of the album was recorded in a small shed in London. Patrick Wood (the producer) and myself prioritised performance over perfection throughout the whole recording process. The aim for each track was to record a performance that captured what each song was about, then build each track from there. In some of the recordings you can hear me sigh, or the sound of my fingers moving on the fretboard of the guitar but I like all that stuff, its all real.
What can listeners expect?
Ryan: The album is a mix of songs – some tracks from previous EPs that have either been fully re-recorded or reworked, and then a lot of new songs too. There’s a range of soundscape and emotion and I tried to pick a track order that reflects that but maintains consistency, it can be listened to as a body of work from start to finish.
Describe your music in one sentence.
Ryan: Singer/Songwriter with a distinct guitar style, who writes with his heart on his sleeve.
Who are your musical influences?
Ryan: I’ve had quite a variety of influences… I learnt flamenco as a kid so elements of that come through in my playing style, as well as folk influences such as Bert Jansh. The likes of John Martyn, Bon Iver, Chris Martin and John Mayer all inspire me as songwriters.
What do you think is the best album ever written?
Ryan: Thats a really tough one! The album I’ve listened to the most is probably Legend by Bob Marley
What’s been your best gig so far?
Ryan: I was lucky enough to play at the Royal Albert Hall this year, that was an incredible experience.
If you could duet with anyone, who would it be?
Ryan: I’d love to do a duet with Emeli Sande.
Where in the world do you most want to perform?
Ryan: I think either Madison Square Gardens or Sydney Opera House.
What’s your fondest musical memory?
Ryan: On my first headline tour seeing fans singing along to my songs. Seeing people I’d never met singing along to songs that I wrote in my bedroom was, and still is, a crazy and humbling feeling.
What are you listening to right now?
Ryan: Currently I’m listening to James Blake, Rudimentals and Sam Brookes.