Calgary-based singer-songwriter Tanya Ryan recently dropped the lead single “My Heart Song” off her new album called Open, which arrived on February 20th. For the album, Tanya has adopted a “country crossover” style that touches on roots and pop elements to go along with her country foundation. The album is an exploration of the different facets, nuances, and expressions of love – love observed by a romantic partner, sexual love, mother’s love, self-love, and a love of one’s ambitious pursuits.
We had the opportunity to chat with Tanya and talk about her new single, songwriting and career highlights.
Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your latest single “My Heart Song”?
Tanya: Of course. “My Heart Song” was written during a period of depression. I’ve visited various states of depression in the past, but for some reason, this particular period of time was quite challenging. I couldn’t seem to get my head above water no matter how much I tried to.
I wasn’t spending a great deal of time creating – but one day this line came into my head “my heart knows things that I don’t” … and I thought, hm, there’s something to that. I picked up a journal and a pen for the first time in weeks and the song just fell together. When I finally read and sang it back to myself, I realized how incredibly important it was for me to hear – and it ended up being the first step out of that dark hole that I was having such difficultly finding my way out of.
Kat: Can you talk about your songwriting process, does it differ from song to song?
Tanya: Yes. Quite wildly, actually. Commonly, I write a song based entirely on a feeling (hurt, happy, fun) – and I write the song from top to bottom. First line to last line. It’s kind of unconventional. And other times, I think I want the song to have a certain vibe or sound – so I start with a melody or guitar line and go from there. Other times I’m collaborating – and it’s really common to start with a chorus and get the sort of meatier parts of the song established. I like to play around with how I write – there’s no routine for me!
Kat: You finished in the top 3 of the 2017 Project WILD Country Artist Development Project. Can you share how that impacted your career, and what you’ve learned?
Tanya: I did! It was pretty cool. That program was so incredibly helpful in creating a foundation for me to create a business plan and to be accountable for having foresight and thoughtfulness in approaching my music and career. Not to mention, the support that I still receive to this day from the organization; it created lasting relationships, friendships, and infinite resources. I’m so grateful to that program and for that experience. Wouldn’t trade it for the world!
Kat: Is there an artist you’d like to perform with, that you haven’t had the chance to yet? Or a song you would love to do a cover of?
Tanya: I love Blake Reid, and I have been trying to write us a duet for years. I have one song… but I’m scared to ask him if he’d be interested. Ha! I’ll get my courage up one of these days. As for covers… I like to play around with anything that I can make a bit unconventional… I like old tunes like ‘La Vie En Rose’… and ‘Crazy’ by Patsy Cline. I don’t have a new cover on my radar at the moment, but I’ll have to think on something I could play with!
Kat: What’s next?
Tanya: I just finished wrapping up a bunch of album premiere performances in February to support the release of my new album, Open. I’ve got a handful more in March as well – and after that, I need to just do a bit of re-calibrating. I would really love to release another single – and I’ve been talking to my manager about potentially doing a radio tour in the fall… it’s all a little up in the air right now because I’ve been so focused on this release! I follow my fire… that’s how I know when I’m doing the right thing. Whatever lights me up, is exactly where I’m supposed to go… so I guess I’ll just keep doing that and see where it leads me!
For more on Tanya, please visit: http://www.tanyaryan.ca