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10 Questions with Ryan Laird

5 January 2009 9 Comments

 Ryan Laird

Many new artists are “thinking outside the box” to get noticed, but none have seemed to gain as much attention as Canada’s own Ryan Laird who spent his life savings on a billboard on music row in Nashville asking none other than Taylor Swift to produce his album. Ryan sat down with Nashville4U to take on our 10 questions and talk about everything he has going on.

1. Since you are brand new to the scene tell us who exactly is Ryan Laird?

I was raised in a musical family on a 100 acre beef farm in rural Ontario, Canada. I had a family band with my 2 siblings growing up. A couple of years ago, after high school, I moved to Nashville to pursue my dreams of being a songwriter and recording artist. The first week I arrived in Nashville I stayed in a hotel, but I quickly made some friends around town who were very generous and let me live with them for the first 18 months. As a new kid in town with a few dimes in my pocket, that made life a lot easier and I’m very thankful for that. I finally scored a publishing deal on music row about six months ago and around the same time met and eventually started working with my manager, Brandon Riester. Things have been pushing forward ever since!

2. Many people who live in Nashville or follow Taylor Swift know about you through the billboard you put up in Nashville, can you explain how this came about and what it took to get that billboard up?

I think that Taylor Swift is very talented and I totally support her music. I saw a video on-line of her working “behind the scenes” in the studio on her record and it got me thinking that she could make a great producer. She is an extremely busy person though so I knew I would need a unique way to reach out to her. So as crazy as it sounds, I was just waking up one morning and suddenly I found the idea… why not do something Nashville has never seen before… like put up a huge billboard on music row…

So I convinced myself that the billboard was the way to go. I told my manager about it and he helped me find a great graphic artist, Ben De Rienzo, who took the photo and helped put the billboard together.  It’s a picture of me holding a note saying, “Hey Taylor, I LOVE your music. Will you produce my album? ~Ryan.”  We then got in touch with the billboard company, who was really supportive of the idea. Oh and I should mention that “Intern” Adam from Nashville’s “The River” radio station is the dude shooting the spitball at me on the billboard. He is a good friend and loved the idea too!

3. I saw where Taylor Swift responded to your billboard in an interview, have you heard from Taylor or her people personally and has anything come about from it yet?

Taylor was asked about me and the billboard during an E! News TV interview. I was overwhelmed with her response and really happy to hear she had seen my billboard. She said she had listened to one of my songs on myspace and “absolutely fell in love with it”. She said “it would be really cool to maybe work with him.” Her label also contacted my publisher requesting a CD of some of my music, so we have just dropped that off to them as well. I’m hoping to be able to meet Taylor sometime in the new year and hopefully I get a chance to work with her!

4. I saw on your MySpace where you mentioned you had been writing songs in Nashville with Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys, can you give us some more information on how this developed and what projects you’re working on?

I have written well over 200 songs since coming to Nashville. It’s been an amazing experience co-writing with so many great writers. One of my good friends and co-writers, Andrew Fromm, introduced me to Nick a while back. They are both really talented guys and we became friends and have been writing together ever since.

5. Other than Taylor Swift of course who would you want to produce your album if you could choose anyone?

Since I’m a guitar player, I’ve always been a huge Dann Huff fan. He’s become a very high-profile producer in Nashville as of late, but I’ve always loved what he does. My manager and I actually met with him before I had my “Taylor vision” haha… he’s a super cool guy and it would be great to maybe get a chance to work with him in the future too… I’d also like to see if Steve Jordan (the drummer, multi-instrumentalist and producer) could produce a country/pop album… that could be really cool too!

I have done some recording with a really talented multi-instrumentalist and producer in town named Eric Silver more recently. He actually produced most of the songs that are  on my Myspace page right now.

6. What are your thoughts on the music industry today?

I think instead of complaining about changes, we all need to learn to embrace change. We live in a digital world now so as an artist, I’ve been trying my best to take full advantage of the internet. It’s been a great thing for building my fan base. I guess I’m considered a new artist in town, but I already have nearly 20,000 “Taylor Swift fans” that have become “Ryan Laird fans” through Myspace. Some of them have started telling their friends and creating “Street Team” fan sites for me too… so for me it’s been a good thing. I went to Grand Rapids, Michigan recently for a radio interview and there were a couple different groups of fans waiting at the station. So they came in and watched the whole interview. I love getting to meet fans and hang out with them. This wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t discovered my music on Myspace though.

7. Who are some your influences past and present?

My influences are really varied… I grew up listening to country, folk and pop music around the house. I was also in a choral boys choir for a few years as a kid. We traveled through England and Wales singing in many cathedrals. In my early teens I got into Jazz and Blues a bit… but one thing Nashville has taught me about is great songs. Instead of just listening to really cool pop beats or something like that… I love hearing a song that moves me… like it could be the most simple thing in the world… but if a song can touch a person emotionally someway then I think that is a great thing. I would say my biggest influence to date would have to be the great writers I’ve gotten to work with in Nashville.

8. What songs on your IPod are getting played the most as of late?

Well I’m obviously loving Taylor’s new record “Fearless”, and I really like the new Keith Urban song “Sweet Thing”… and I was just listening to that first “Maroon 5″ record… they have some cool stuff too.

9. When you are not doing music what types of things keep you busy or what are your hobbies outside of music?

Music is my life! haha… but when I manage to escape from it for a bit, I like to both watch and play basketball and tennis…. and most recently I’ve been crowned the “king of ping pong” around our house haha.

10. What can we expect from you in the near future?

Well I hope you will see my album come out with a “Taylor Swift” producer credit on the back of it!

To find more information on Ryan Laird and to hear his music check him out on MySpace by clicking here.


  • TRAILERCrash said:

    Seen this guy on country weekly talking about some of the stuff. Cool idea with the billboard but who knows where it will go from here somtimes people get known for stuff like that and cant get past it. His music aint half bad.

  • LoveLoveLove said:

    Ryan is awesome and a lot of us Taylor fans have known about him for awhile now. Great interview with him I think he will go far and hope him and Taylor get a chance to work on music.

  • Angie said:

    I must say, I’ve been hearing about Ryan Laird a lot lately and I think his billboard to Taylor Swift is simply genius! It’s like never been done before! The cool thing about it all is that his music is actually really good. He is a legit artist in my mind and I think Taylor would work really well with him! Good luck to you Ryan. I will buy your record!

  • Editor (author) said:

    That is why we wanted to interview him because when I first came across his story I thought it was just another person with a gimmick trying to get noticed but his music was surprisingly good. I think he has some potential if things go his way and he is a good writer which in today’s music industry can go a long way in getting a deal.

  • Tracey said:

    I like his music but it sounds much like taylors music but at least his voice is more country

  • Char said:

    I became a fan of Ryan’s through being a huge Taylor fan. It takes a lot of guts to do something like that - good for you Ryan. The most amazing thing is, that he has great songs and sounds like a really good performer. It is hard to get noticed in the music industry — even if you are really talented, and this guy is! Judging by your interview…. he sounds like a great guy and deserving of success.

  • Kate said:

    I agree … keep it up Ryan … I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of a great musical career for you!

  • tiffany j. said:

    well, I like Ryan!!! He’s a great guy! We used to write on my space a lot but he’s gotten busy since…. Oh well!!! I think that the billboard was a simply marvelous idea & I’m hoping that it will take him far!!!
    I wish him all the luck & success in his life & hope that he can go far!!!! :) :)

  • Amanda said:

    Enjoyed learning more about you through the questions Ryan… nice to read other interviews besides what is on myspace and the rest of the internet… you are my favorite singer

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