Today, we sit down with Ryan David Orr to talk about his inspiration to write music, advice for musicians and much more! Be sure to check out Ryan David Orr music below on Spotify after the interview!
What is your inspiration to write your music? Is it your
I am most often inspired by humans and their creations. I get inspiration from cities and buildings and social interactions. Sometimes art installations or museums. What really inspires me to write lyrics is usually parts of the dark side of humanity, like our trauma, our turmoil, the things we keep locked away inside ourselves. I live in a rural area and people often ask me if I get inspiration from nature, but the truth is that I don’t get writing inspiration from the natural world. I love the natural world, and I spend a lot of time in it, but it’s the things that feel like they need to change and evolve, or the human devices that are in a state of collapse, that inspire me to create art. Nature is just whee I spend a lot of time unplugging from all the other stuff.
What type of music did you listen to growing up?
Growing up, I listened to a lot of varied styles of music. My mother was a folk singer who listened to classic American rock, Motown, and 70s/80s pop. My dad was a photographer and painter who listened to a lot of jazz, alt-rock, hip-hop, industrial, and Tom Waits (who is pretty much his own genre). I started playing violin at age 7, so I was around a lot of classical music. Then I got into the grunge rock scene and alt-country scene as a teenager. My dad used to make me mixed tapes of things he found at the record store, so I ended up with a lot of bootleg copies of hip-hop records and obscure rock records. When I was 13, my family moved near Nashville, Tennessee because my mom wanted to be closer to the country scene, so then it was a lot of folk, blues, jam band, and southern rock. On my own, I tended to gravitate toward anything with good organic instruments and snarky, socially conscious lyrics, plus lots of ambient and electronica. In high school, I was in some musicals, though I can’t claim to be a fan of show-tunes out of context. So yeah, I listened to all kinds of music growing up:)
Is there someone you looked up as a hero?
I guess when I was about 14 years old I looked up to Eddie Vedder. He had the right mix of energetic rock, provocative lyrics, and cooler-than-thou stage presence. You could probably throw in all the grunge rock frontmen of the early 90s as well (Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, Layne Staley). That group of singer/songwriters were collectively what I tended to model my sound after until I was in my late twenties.
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing today?
Probably something in the film/video realm. I studied film as an undergrad, so I like to make music videos for my songs and things like that. I could see myself working more heavily in that world if I weren’t making music. Although, I tend to be interested in a lot of things, so even though I am a musician, I still busy myself with other occupations.
What advice do you have for our fans out there that want to create
My advice is to stay objective with your craft and be honest with yourself. It can take time and effort to get really good at music, and every other person in the world seems to be trying to be a rock star, so stick with it and don’t lose that passion to create something new. Success in music is creating something you truly love and are proud of, and if fame and fortune happen too, then cool. But don’t let the latter blind you to the former.