photo by Natalie Pinchak

The Musician Spotlight Series shines a light on up-and-coming bands and solo acts creating heartfelt and original work across genres, giving them an opportunity to talk about their music, their collaborators, and why they do what they do.

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Tanya Ryan

“In a world that is hungry for authenticity, Alberta’s Tanya Ryan speaks to the inner romantic in each of us while using her adept songwriting and music to deliver a strong message of empowerment. With a style that blends roots and pop elements against a modern country backdrop, Tanya’s music serves as a life canvas that uses meaningful lyrics and captivating melodies to show a more complete understanding of the human connection. Her lively stage presence – that effortlessly mixes music with an amusing narrative – only adds to her appeal and has made her a favourite at the Calgary Stampede and the Big Valley Jamboree – among others. A Top 3 Finalist in 2017’s Project WILD Artist Development Project, Tanya’s newest project is also her most personal – the love-driven album, “Open”. The musical result of her own exploration of the many facets of love, “Open”, offers an inspiring start to a new decade for her. Check out the video for the album’s lead single, “My Heart Song”, here“.

When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
I’ve been singing and playing some type of instrument since I was quite young, but I was a bit late to the party as far as making it a career goal. I spent a long time feeling that it was an irresponsible and unrealistic career choice. Ultimately my dad was the one that made me feel like I should go for it.

Are you trained? How did you develop your skills?
Informally yes. I always admire the people that have degrees in music or are classically trained. I have rather humble roots – took piano for a handful of years, played a euphonium in band, was in choir, took guitar and bass lessons… I have a lot of mixed experiences that have added up to the musical skillsets I have now. The crossover of musical theory has really helped my mind and approach to writing and creating music – and vice versa I imagine. I think that my skills have developed by practice, time and using them over and over again. Repetition is a brilliant teacher!

Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
I love David Ramirez. So, so much. A friend of mine introduced me to his music a few years ago, and I could not be more thankful. His writing, and his vocal delivery have so much conviction. It made me want to create music that was more meaningful and felt that impactful.

I have really eclectic tastes, so I also pull a lot from various pop artists Taylor Swift, Meghan Trainor… I also love The Eagles, Ray Charles, and Zac Brown Band.

How would you describe your sound?
The description I’ve been using lately is that my music would be the result of a math equation that included Norah Jones, Colbie Caillat, and Sheryl Crow. I think that gives a pretty decent idea of what to expect!

What’s your favourite tune in your repertoire and why?
Oh, this is tough. I would be torn between “My Heart Song” and “Almost Famous”. They’re just so incredibly meaningful to me – and even more so at this particular moment in my life. I am going through some huge personal life shifts – and those songs mean more to me now than ever. They also make me remember why I play music, why I write, and why I create. Because for me, it’s about creating something meaningful and real.

What can audiences expect from one of your live shows?
It’s sort of like a 90 minute story with music woven into it. I have a really strong narrative for my show that pulls my listeners through what was happening in my life, my head, and my heart when I was writing the music I perform. My philosophy with my show is if I didn’t make you laugh AND cry at some point during the show – then I didn’t do my job.

Where can we find your music? is the home base for anything you would need to find! I’m also on Apple MusicSpotifyAmazonGoogle Play … all your major streaming services. And if you’re keen on the socials – you can find me at @tanyaryanxo on TwitterInstagramFacebook – and Tanya Ryan Music on Youtube!