Behind the songs – Track 2 – Half Notion

Half Notion was written back in 2014/2015 not long after I had left university.

The lyrics were amongst the easiest for me to write and were inspired by a quote that just had so much relatable truth in it, it stopped me in my tracks.

I always
say, when you’re young and
unsuccessful, you don’t have the money,

and if you’re not careful, when you’re
old and successful, you don’t have the
passion. To be put in either of those two
positions is a tragedy. I think one of the
toughest times in any man’s life is his
twenties, because in your twenties
you’re fiercely screaming who you are,
but you have only half a notion of who
you are. Then as you grow older, you
whisper who you are, but people are
closer to you, and they listen. By that
time, you have half a notion, a quarter of
a notion, of who you are. I think the
tragedy is when you finally have all the
people that you need surrounding you,
and you have nothing left to say.”

This quote is from acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro from the beautiful coffee table book ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ and this is just one example of the wisdom this gentleman shares in his work. Watch a live interview of him talk about one of his latest masterpieces, ‘The Shape of Water’ and he will put a smile on your face!

Admittedly, I was in a position when I left university and finished education with flying colours yet for the first time in my life, I had no clear sense of direction of how to go about doing things. Not to say I did not have a vision, I am extraordinary lucky to have found something that I have been passionate about since the age of 8 but my ambitions lacked the resources and I felt pretty lost. I know for a fact that plenty of people end up in that boat, probably much more so than those that find their feet straight away.

As I had done during school and university, I wanted to prove myself in the real world as a person and musician, with no real idea as to how to that exactly and subsequently, my perception of the way things were going were that it was all painfully slow and extremely frustrating, so much to the point it was anxiety inducing.

The record that I had in production during this time was Eden Shadow ‘Melodies for Maladies’ but there were so many hurdles involved in making this stupidly ambitious record, it came to a point where I thought I was never going to be able to release another album ever again.

I wrote Half Notion to express that frustration, but at the same time I was looking for the wisdom amidst it all and in retrospect, it was simpler than my emotions at the time made it out to be.

I was in my early twenties and you know absolutely sod all in your early twenties!

I was caught up in half notions.

‘Half Notion’ is about accepting the fact that it is okay to only have a fraction of a notion about who you are, and learning to temper that alongside your ambitions, passion and desire for success.

It’s easier said than done, especially in a world where the media obsessed with age, people lie about being younger and youth talent in the industry is propelled at such a speed that they end falling as fast as they rise (with sometimes devastating consequences). As Del Toro says, success has it’s own downfalls as well and learning to love the journey is key, and making music as a solo artist and with Kinky Wizzards has never been more positive. I look forward to a time when we can take it all live again.

I still only have a half notion.

To finish, here is another quote from Del Toro about the same topic:

“The most desperate time is when you’re in your 20s,” said del Toro. “You feel like you’re too late, that you’ve wasted your life. Then when you’re 30 you realize, ‘No, I was just obscenely young, and it was the best time ever: anything was possible!

Behind the songs – Track 1 – Dreams to Ashes

In the coming weeks, I will be sharing the stories behind the songs from my debut album.

In the video below, I discuss the opening song ‘Dreams to Ashes’ sharing my thoughts on what inspired the music and the lyrics.

Listen to the song on Spotify

Dreams to Ashes Artwork and alternates by Darlee Urbiztondo

‘Between a Disillusion and Resolution’


My debut solo album ‘Between a Disillusion and Resolution’ is out now!

After spending the last three years writing, recording and painstakingly agonising over the post-production of this record, I am really pleased to be now be able to share it with you.

Here are links to the album:

Spotify Music link
https://open.spotify.com/album/2qB0C1v9vqey8CqMNY3iP2…

Apple Music link: http://itunes.apple.com/album/id/1501313612

The album is also available on many other streaming platforms.

A huge thanks to the following talented people involved with making this record.

Andrew Bishop – Co producer, recording and mixing engineer

Ben Elliott – Bass Guitar

Aled Lloyd – Drums

Jiffy Griffiths – Percussion

Emma Davidson  – Vocals

Darlee Urbiztondo – Artwork

Bethan Miller – Photography

Steve Kitch- Mastering Engineer

Additionally I would like to thank:

Will and Jane Mackie and Rob Reed – For the mentoring and moral support!
George Soriano – For his generosity with additional gear.
My family for their moral support and the help with transport!

The album was written over the course of what was a very interesting period of time for me. As a result, a lot of the album was written in Dubai and subsequently recorded in Wales.

I will be sharing the stories that inspired each of the songs over the coming days.

For those of who do enjoy this record, please feel free to share it with someone else you think will also enjoy it. It would be greatly appreciated.

Stay safe during this strange and unprecedented time,

Ryan

My top podcasts – A remedy for self isolation.

Self isolation is becoming a situation that more and more people find themselves committing to. With that, there is the challenge of overcoming the pitfalls involved in this process, namely trying to resist climbing up the walls!

One of the best things I do on a now routine basis to pass the time when I am on my own is listen to podcasts.

Podcasts are becoming an increasingly popular media platform and I’m glad that this is so: because podcasts offer lots of opportunities for many beneficial experiences, namely:

1.) An opportunity to learn something new

2.) An opportunity to find out more about interesting people with interesting stories.

3.) It makes you a better listener. It increases your engagement in discussions.

4.) They encourage you to try something new and explore your own ideas.

5.) Keep up to date with current affairs and developments.

At a time when self isolation is becoming a reality, I thought I’d share some of my favourite podcasts. I hope it gives you an opportunity to find something that interests you and you can engage with over the coming weeks.

Happy listening!

Akimbo – Seth Godin

Link – https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/akimbo-a-podcast-from-seth-godin/id1345042626

Topics – Culture, Business and Marketing

I’ve been following Seth Godin since my university days. He is an extraordinary writer with a fascinating philosophy of business and marketing.

It’s a heartwarming, empathetic and optimistic podcast to listen to and it’s an easily digestible average run time of 25 minutes.

If you are interesting in doing better work and levelling up, this podcast is for you.

The Bob Lefsetz Podcast

Topics – The music industry, Culture

Link – https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-bob-lefsetz-podcast/id1316200737

If you are in the Music Industry, you really should know who Bob is. His weekly letter is read by tens of thousands, many of which are some of the most well known people in the business.

He’s opinionated, fiercely honest and that is a breath of fresh air in an industry that seemingly has plenty of nonsense.

On his podcast, Bob interviews a wide range of musicians, managers, engineers, CEOs and beyond. Some of the stories are incredibly funny and remarkable.

As a starting point, his conversations with Canadian manager Jake Gold (The tragically hip) are incredibly useful for anonymous artists such as myself.

Kermode on Film

Topics – Film and Cinema

Link – https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/kermode-on-film/id1436700945

Mark Kermode is one of my go to people for reviews and discussions about film and cinema and as a result I have discovered a lot of films I adore.

His regular conversations with Film reviewer Jack Howard offer a funny almost father and son dynamic and there are some great episodes where they share their opinions, debate and amusingly throw digs at one another.

There are also some live shows with great interviews with actors/actresses and directors as well.

Song Exploder

Topic – Songwriting and production

Link – https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/song-exploder/id788236947

This gem of a podcast is wonderfully insightful and you get a glimpse into the minds of many brilliant music artists.

The premise is simple. An artist unpacks the songwriting approach and explains the demo process as well as demonstrating different parts of their songs including sounds deep in the mix that you wouldn’t always expect.

Other noteworthy podcasts I listen to –

James O’Brien – Full Disclosure

Tifo Football podcast

The Intelligence by The Economist

If there are any podcasts you highly recommend, feel free to suggest them in the comment section below.

Kaleidoscope

My third single is called ‘Kaleidoscope’ and is now available to listen to on all streaming services.

The song was inspired by my travels abroad and the opportunities I have had to meet people from all around the globe as well as some of the different beautiful locations I have seen. In a world where there is apparently so much divide, I thought it would be worth writing a song that celebrates things about us that are different and yet still similar. 


Credits: 
RME – Vocals, Guitars, Keys
Ben Elliott – Bass Guitar 
@aled_drums – Drums 
@andrew_bish – Co Producer, Recording and Mixing Engineer 
@stevekitchmastering – Mastering Engineer 
@myhappylee_darleeorurbz – Artwork

Anything is Possible debut single 7th June 2019

The first single from my debut solo record is called ‘Anything is Possible’

It will be released on the 7th June 2019.

Below is a snippet of the artwork done by the incredibly talented Darlee Urbiztondo.

You can find her work at https://instagram.com/myhappylee_darleeorurbz?igshid=py69iuoz1paq