Though Ally Ryan dropped her debut single “Wasted” earlier this spring, the lively young singer is far from new to the music scene. Years of vocal lessons and writing experience paid off in 2016, when Ryan joined forces with Clinton Sparks in 2016 to pen “Waves”, Kat Deluna’s hit single. Ryan now turns her focus to solo work. Met with acclaim from Billboard Magazine, “Wasted” is living up to Ryan’s previous success.
“Wasted” took hold on musical.ly, a site dedicated to user-generated videos of fans lip-syncing their favorite songs. This past July, “Wasted” became one of the site’s most popular song choices, accumulating thousands of videos. One listen to the the bright, infectious single and it’s clear why.
The bubbly track builds from a dreamy, chilled out intro into a delightfully catchy chorus, showcasing Ryan’s versatile and powerful vocals. Ryan demonstrates adept pop songwriting skills, through both the song’s irresistible hooks and the unexpectedly darker tone of the lyrics.
Check out Ally Ryan’s debut single “Wasted” here:
Ahead of the release of her debut EP out in 2018, Ally Ryan caught up with Music Existence to talk “Wasted”, songwriting, and what’s next.
Music Existence: Tell me a little bit about your debut single “Wasted”. How do you describe the overall sound and what do you like most about it?
Ally Ryan: The sound is super fun, super pop/dance-y vibes. I think what I like most about it is that it’s kinda got a darker message behind it than most people notice. I think it goes deeper than most people think about, but it’s also so fun that it distracts you from the deep connotations. So for me, in a sense, it’s kinda dealing with a hard situation but putting it into a positive, fun song.
ME: Many members on musical.ly connected with “Wasted”, making it one of the most performed songs this past month. Did you ever expect that kind of response?
AR: No! It blew my mind! But it was so much fun, I stalked fans for hours just watching all their videos. I was so excited.
ME: Do you remember any specific performances that stood out?
AR: I think what excited me the most were the dancing ones. I mean, obviously it’s really cool to see people lip sync to your song-best feeling ever-but I loved the dancing videos. Watching the choreography happen was really cool.
ME: How has it felt to watch people, almost in real time, interact with your song?
AR: Oh my gosh, it’s unreal. I’ve done music for a long time and this is the first time that I’ve actually released something that I’m singing on. I’ve had songs that I’ve written on, but to see something that is so personal to me, and people liking it and relating to it and singing the lyrics, oh my gosh, there’s no better feeling. It sounds so corny but it’s the coolest feeling.
ME: So you mentioned you’ve been in music for a while, how did that start?
AR: I got my first microphone at three and started putting on shows immediately. But it wasn’t until I started vocal lessons around seven and eight-I kinda told my mom ‘I wanna get involved in music, I think I wanna be a singer,’ and she laughed at me but she was 100% behind me. I started vocal lessons, I started performing for crowds at the age of eight and I had my first writing session when I was twelve, in the studio. I think from then on I just fell in love with it and thought ‘oh my gosh, this is what I need to do.’
ME: Before “Wasted”, you wrote Kat Deluna’s hit “Waves”. How did you get into songwriting and what prompted the shift to singing?
AR: Originally I started writing my own stuff, and it was all meant to be for me. But I started writing so much and getting in the room with people and learning how to write for other people and digging into their brand and seeing what fit them, that’s when I kind of got into it. But actually, “Waves” was supposed to be my single. But once Clinton Sparks got involved, it got in the hands of Kat and I wanted to enter the industry as a writer and be respected in that manner, so I felt like it was a great business move to give the song to her and go back to the writing board.
ME: What is the biggest difference between writing for another artist and writing for yourself?
AR: I think lately I’ve learned I don’t get as vulnerable if I’m writing for another artist. I learned a hard lesson that I’ve started to get super vulnerable with my lyrics and the thought of giving those songs away has become really, really hard for me. I think when I’m writing for another artist…I don’t usually get to sit in a room with them and pick their brain, so I don’t really know what they’re going through personally. So I try to tap into something that’s super universal that I know, if I’m writing for a girl, most girls go through that I’m sure their fanbase is gonna want to hear. And I also listen to their music and figure out what they’re doing and try to match their brand.
ME: Many of the fans who used your song in musical.ly are young women. What do you hope they specifically take away from your music?
AR: I hope they relate to it in their own way. Like I said before, the main thing I love about the record is that it’s so fun, it distracts you from the hard message behind it. And I feel like that’s my main message, try to make light of the dark times. Especially for young girls, I’m sure you can relate, when you go through something hard you feel like it’s the end of world and everyone tries to tell you it gets better and you think ‘no it doesn’t!’ And I think that’s what I want to get across too; it gets better, it’s not the end of the world, there’s always something else.
ME: What would you say is the main message you want listeners to take away from your EP as a whole?
AR: My whole EP has kinda grown with me, in a sense. The songs are all things I’ve gone through in the past two and half, three years. I look at it as my learning lesson. I’ve learned so much and tried to put that into the songs. So I just hope people listen to it and they can relate. And even if they haven’t gone through what I’ve gone through, you can listen and find your own way to relate…I just hope it relates to people and that they can find their own stories within the lyrics, and maybe I can help someone in a way.
ME: What can listeners expect from your debut EP? What excites you most about sharing it?
AR: I think because of “Wasted” that kind of set the tone that I’m doing straight pop, which I am, in a sense. But I think they expect a certain type of music to come out of me, so I’m excited for people to hear the EP because I definitely slow it down a bit, I get a bit more personal, a bit more vulnerable and I’m excited for the reactions.
ME: Who do you cite as your biggest musical inspirations?
AR: Oh gosh, the hardest question to ever exist! I’m glad you asked. I grew up listening to The Jackson 5, Frankie Valli, all the greats, Fleetwood Mac. Someone I really do look up to and I listen to all the time-which is kinda random and I don’t really know how it ties into my music, but for some reason it inspires me all the time-is Chris Martin from Coldplay and Bon Iver. Oh! And Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac, I know her albums front to back. For some reason that sparked something in me, I can’t really put my finger on it; the way they write and the stories they tell and how vulnerable they are. They’re able to tell a story without actually telling it, if that makes sense. And I love it, it kills me.
ME: If you were to collaborate with any artist now, who would you most want to work with?
AR: Chris Martin for sure (if he reads this, hit me up!). I’m also really into Bebe Rexha right now, I love that we’re in the same genre, she’s doing pop, she writes all of her own stuff, she’s super cool, so I’d love to vibe with her. Pharrell, obviously. Honestly, the list could go on. People ask me all the time, am I down to work outside of pop in different genres. And I’m like yeah, I think that’s the coolest part of creating music is getting a different vibe together and creating one piece of art. I’m down for pretty much anything.
ME: In addition to your EP in 2018, what’s next for you?
AR: We do have some shows coming up, nothing super confirmed as of yet. I know I’m gonna be in New York and then the UK for a bit. Following along with my social media is the best way to keep up with shows and whatnot. But definitely gonna happen.
ME: If you were to randomly hear “Wasted” out in your everyday life, where would you most want to hear it?
AR: I think just in the car on the radio is the best. I feel like I’m the only one who hasn’t [heard it] at this point. Within my friends and family everyone’s heard it on the radio besides me. I always miss it, I’m never really in my car. But yeah, I think hearing it on the radio. Growing up, as a kid, and being so into music and hearing artists that I look up to on the radio, it’s just a dream. That’s a huge milestone for me.
Connect with Ally Ryan: