Phoebe Ryan On the Road: From Songwriters’ Table to the Stage

As songwriters often go unappreciated, this electropop songstress hopes her own project takes her to the next level.

For even a music-obsessed crowd, Phoebe Ryan isn’t a household name. But while the public didn’t hear the 24 year-old’s first song until this year, she’s been a songwriter in the music industry since 2013. Her lyrical pursuits, for clients such as folksy group Oh Honey and rising pop singer Bea Miller, got her the initial connections.

Early on—with just two songs to her name—those connections seem huge. Billboard is a fan, she drew a packed crowd to her recent debut show at Baby’s All Right in New York and when we talked with her, she had meetings in Berlin on her calendar for the weekend.

We spoke with the R&B-inspired singer on why she decided to debut her own project with “Ignition/Do You,” a R. Kelly and Miguel cover, the differences between songwriting for herself and what she has planned next.

Hometown: Sea Bright, New Jersey

Homebase: LA

You just performed your first live show in New York. How do you think it went?

For a first show, I was pretty happy. The crowd was absolutely incredible and it was just a dream to be performing again. It’s been awhile… There [were] people upfront singing the songs and that was mind-blowing to me. I was on cloud nine, you know?

Why did you decide to debut this project with an R. Kelly and Miguel mashup?

I thought it would be a natural progression to do it that way. When I first started working with my producer Kyle Sherer, we were trying to find a new sound… and the first thing we started playing around with was this cover.

Before this project, you were doing lots of songwriting for other people. What are some of the differences between songwriting for yourself and for others?

Usually when I’m writing for other people, I have their style in mind, their whole vibe in mind. I’m able to almost get in character and kind of understand what they’re trying to say. When I’m writing for myself, it’s not much different. I get into this mindset of what I am trying to convey here for myself. When I wake up in the morning, what are my thoughts? What am I trying to say to the world?

Definitely. How did your first single “Mine” come together?

I wrote that song with my producer Kyle and Nate Campany, another songwriter who’s absolutely incredible. We started with these really cool melodies… I had written down in my notebook ‘gold in the wreckage.’ We started playing off of that. There was a period in my life that I was drawing most of my inspiration from… where it was hard to handle my emotions. I was trying to be so positive about things and write a song about a period of sadness, I guess.

What else are you up to? 

I’ve been doing a lot of writing for other artists while also doing a lot for this project. I’ve been keeping myself as busy as possible because being a songwriter is pretty crazy. I’m trying to pay my rent by writing songs… I’m going to be maybe not sleeping ever again—but it’s going to be totally worth it and wonderful.

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