I have been speaking with Ryan Gibeau...
about his single, Flying Away, and his new album, Quiet Fall. He discusses the inspirations behind this single and album and reveals what comes next; where he will be touring and whether he will come to the U.K. and play – the American songwriter selects some rising artists to check out.
I ask Gibeau if he has any advice for emerging musicians and which albums are most important to him; what the scene is like in Brooklyn right now and whether there is more music coming later this year – he ends the interview by selecting a pretty good track.
Hi, Ryan. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi. My week has been eventful, thank you! My pre-sale for Quiet Fall was a great success and now I am shipping out hundreds of packages to some awesome early listeners!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Hi. My name is Ryan Gibeau (G-Bo) and I am a Brooklyn based singer/songwriter. I love everything under the entertainment umbrella and do my best to contribute!
Flying Away is your new single. Is there a story behind it?
There is a story behind Flying Away - and it was a very surprising one in two ways...
As a songwriter, lyrics and story are hard for me to get right and call done. Also, I usually record my sessions to remember progress. In this instance, I was leaving the East Coast to try out L.A. - which meant leaving an on-again-off-again relationship for good. It was emotionally very difficult and, on that flight, I had the urge to write about it. In moments the story was written out and, as I was writing it, I was imagining a melody but had no way to record it and no instrument to help me figure out the chord progression...so I just guessed the chords and continued humming the melody to make sure it wasn't lost.
As soon as I landed, I got to my friends home and borrowed his guitar. To my absolute shock, the song was whole. The chords worked, the melody was as I imagined and the story was told. Flying Away was birthed on a flight to L.A. and still gives me goosebumps as I remember the process and shock to see it all work.
Your album, Quiet Fall, was released at the end of last year. What sort of things inspired the songs? Is it quite a personal album?
Quiet Fall is a very personal album. It chronicles the breakdown of a relationship and how I fell and got back up. I have love and respect for her but we didn't work and it was hurting us both. I wanted to delve into that for a very specific purpose - I want people to see who I am and what I went through. I write about what hurts me and why and how I play a role in that.
I'm not the type that tries to portray a perfect life - the catharsis of making music actually helps me learn and grow. As a result of my honest approach, a lot of people have shared stories about how my music has helped them or emotionally affected them and it creates real dialogue - because there is no shame and there are no barriers. Vulnerable is the hardest thing to be and because I explore this space. I believe other people feel ok to do it too.
Might we see more music coming later in the year?
My goal is to create more! I am working on new music and also working with other artists - so there will be some knowns and unknowns ahead as I explore post-debut album. Following my social channels is a great way to see progress as I always share the work we make!
When you were growing up, which artists guided and compelled you to get into the business?
I'm glad you asked because I've never shared this before, but I think it’s really important - 'get into the business' is not a term I connect with, truth be told. I am a career filmmaker and music has been a hobby that may, ideally, one day take over. Getting into the business would be amazing but one thing I learned through filmmaking is that the art takes a very big hit when the business angle becomes important.
I make music for entertainment sake and I share - that's my objective. If there's a demand, if it becomes profitable and I can make a living entertaining, that's when I'll accept help getting into the business but, for now, and forever, I'm ideally making my art authentically and organically for art's sake.
You reside in Brooklyn. Are you inspired by the people and music around you?
Always. When asked who my heroes are, the answer is: the people around me doing it. Making, playing and sharing - it’s all very hard. In the city, there are a lot of people here talking about trying to make it but, when you see people actually making it as they try to make it, you can't help but feel driven in their company. These small venues are full of people taking risks and that is where real passion and creativity comes from. I'll see a show and love the energy of the track.
I'll ask myself why I loved it and figure out how to work those important elements into my show. That research helps me grow and helps my friends and fans enjoy new experiences each time. Big shout and thank you to all N.Y.C. artists!
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
In New York, every show is a hustle to play and get fans out to - and once your show is over the crowd almost completely rotates out for the new band. Seldom does a crowd stay in one place for a night of music here - except my favorite night of music ever. Webster Hall Studio a couple years ago. I had a great crowd of about seventy-five people join me as I opened the night for two other awesome acts. Mid-show, their fans all started pouring in and, rather than talk over the music, they listened. More and more showed.
By the time my show was over, we had about one-hundred-and-seventy-five in the room and they were super-fun! When my show was over, my fans and I stayed for the next act and the room was incredibly electric. The night was all about appreciating the music and supporting the artists and it’s a feeling I hope to experience again and again as I continue to play.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Queen - Greatest Hits (1981)
This is the first album I obsessed over and listened to as a kid until I knew all track titles, order; lyrics, melodies and harmonies. Yes, I could also blast all guitar solos with my sweet vocal guitar sound fx. Freddie Mercury, as a performer, only became more relevant when I was older and started performing - only then did I realize his genius beyond the old C.D. I used to play on repeat
Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope (2006)
My introduction to Spektor was actually through Us from Soviet Kitsch in 2005 but shortly after when Begin to Hope came out I realized how into this artist I was. Her voice was such a unique and diverse instrument I wanted to study her and understand how she was able to be so creative, yet also so accessible. Paired with her genius visual style and music video work - I knew this was a special moment in my musical journey.
Bon Iver - 22, A Million (2016)
If you have a heart and a soul you have been crushed by Justin's journey and exploration into music in this album. I was also very lucky to be living here in N.Y.C. as Bon Iver played eight straight shows. Some small at Pioneer Works and then some huge at Kings Theatre. It made the album release so much more special. To not only listen to the music but to watch it live and breathe and change at the same time, I was becoming familiar with the record.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Easy. Sigur Rós. After listing my favorite albums I left out one of my favorite artists, so I'm glad I have a chance to bring it full circle to people who use their voices as a unique instrument and story-tell with melody so beautifully. It would be my mission to learn in real-time how to utilize some of the musical stylings of Sigur Rós to create more huge soundscapes and blend it organically with my sound. Second tour I'd support Muse. Similar reasoning, different genre.
Regarding a rider, I'm not too fussy presently. Just get me on a stage with awesome and reliable sound. I'll hit you back with more particulars after I've been touring and learning why riders exist!
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Do it for love of the game first. Make music because you love making music. Remember that feeling of excitement, power and confidence you get from sharing your gift and never stray too far from it. You will make right and wrong moves in the process of making music – but, if you make decisions with your heart and your gut, you'll likely not regret a mistake.
Coming from experience, I didn't believe in one of my marketing ideas and, in the end, it cost me money and I failed in an effort to strengthen myself as a musician and a brand. Also, when you do make a mistake, understand what the mistake was and why/how you made it and don't repeat. Learn and grow always - and never stray too far from the love of why you started in the first place.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
I'm organizing a New England tour which is, unfortunately, far from an England tour. You can catch me in Boston, N.Y.C.; New Hampshire, Connecticut and Vermont and, while out for music work on the West Coast, I'll make an appearance in Los Angeles too!
Might you come to the U.K. and play at some point?
I would love to come out and play for you all! We have had several European requests...so I do believe we will be looking at some dates in the near-future, though; sorry to say nothing is in the books right now!
IN THIS PHOTO: Coyle Girelli
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I like this question. Check out a favorite (and U.K.-born artist) Coyle Girelli. He just released his debut solo album, Love Kills, and he and I are playing shows together in N.Y.C. this winter. Also, look into Chris Garneau who has contributed wonderful art over the years including his recent album release, Yours.
IN THIS PHOTO: Chris Garneau
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Music is what I do in my chill time! In N.Y.C., I run a creative production company called ROCK*iT FiLMS and we spend a lot of time coming up with meaningful content for established and emerging brands as well as working with local musicians to help them with killer content. Apart from all that, I play intramural sports and dive into occasional video games and movies. I'm human like the rest of y'all (smiles).
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Baby's Romance by Chris Garneau. This is a wonderfully powerful song from Garneau's debut album, Music for Tourists. Amazing
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