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Ryan Woods

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      After one listen, it would be easy to assume Ryan Woods fell from the heavens and landed smack dab in the middle of modern pop music and culture. He defies genres and eras with an otherworldly je ne sais quoi unlike anything you’ve heard. Flaunting a sky-high range and head-turning fashion sense, he exudes a swaggering gusto befitting of your favorite seventies rock star (take your pick), yet he opens up with a level of candor decidedly intrinsic to Gen Z. He can belt like nobody’s business, but he empathizes with a distinct sensitivity at the same time. Musically, he laces D.I.Y. pop with psychedelic experimentation and existential ruminations that are both provocative and profoundly catchy.

      Amassing tens of millions of streams and earning critical acclaim, he formally introduces himself on his Fearless Records debut LP, Godboy.

      “I’m a lover and a fighter with an emphasis on ‘AND’,” he observes. “For much of my life, I was very passive, and I’d shutdown and run away from challenges and confrontations. I’ve learned if you don’t take control of your life and pursue what you’re passionate about, you’re always going to live in quiet regret. In 2024, I made it my mission to overcome that. I’m going to be bold enough to get what I want this year. So what do I want? I want to keep living life, learning, and creating art. I’m fighting for a better purpose from a place of love.”

      Ryan spent his first seven years in Orlando. Every Sunday, the family attended church where he fixated on the guitarist. At four-years-old, he took his first lessons from the same guitar player. Around the same time, he honed his voice in the children’s choir. Moving to Knoxville, he rekindled his passion for music at 12-years-old. Between playing in band at school, he sharpened his vocal abilities through marathon karaoke sessions with the family. “We’re Filipino, so there’s a lot of karaoke at family functions and parties,” he smiles. During high school, he hijacked his sister’s computer nightly and cooked up songs on Garage Band, striking a balance between his two biggest inspirations Bruno Mars and Tame Impala. Initially, he gained traction with covers on social media, even inciting a retweet from Shawn Mendes. Meanwhile, he cultivated his signature style by logging countless hours in both Nashville and Los Angeles sessions.

      2021 saw him break through with “Bad Texter.” Beyond reeling in over 25 million Spotify streams and counting, it paved the way for his King of the Basement EP. Of the latter, Thomas Bleach raved, “This EP highlights that growth and introspective manner that has made him an artist you need to keep an eye on,” while INTERSECT Magazine applauded, “In a world of social media and technology, Woods’s lyrics are poetic, witty, and most of all, authentic.”

      Signing to Fearless Records in 2023, he carefully pieced together what would become Godboy, working out of his room and de facto creative hive.

      “It usually starts in my room,” he states. “I had gone through a lot, and I think music alleviates suffering. You can find peace in sad songs. They offer a sign of hope.”

      The title Godboy embodied his multi-layered vision. Inspired by a passion for fantasy realms and video games, it opened up the gateway into his world. “Godboy is the perfect perception of myself in my head,” he reveals. “It’s the better version of me that I was always trying to be. When you mature, you realize you can’t be too hard on yourself. If you set unrealistic standards for yourself, you’ll never meet them, and you’re always going to be unhappy. Godboy is about letting go of that. The album explores the lessons I’ve learned and the mistakes I’ve made.”

      Fittingly, he introduces the record with the single “Garden.” A funkified beat sets a head-nodding tempo for the track as he flaunts his hypnotic high register through bells tight guitar. Keys flutter over a thick bass thump until a handclap-laden refrain takes hold, “You’re my garden, darling.”

      “I was in a pretty dark place, and I was wandering around with a lot of questions,” he admits. “As I came out of it, I began to learn who I was and who I wanted to be. I wrote the song as a palette cleanser. I was struggling with the concept of love. I had a crush, and ‘Garden’ gave me hope I could like someone again. I was done being sad and swallowed up by anxiety and fear. I wanted to be happy and write happy songs. It marks a transition to my next era of life and music.”

      Then, there’s the dreamy “Gun In The Glove Box.” An ethereal intro dissolves into a bouncy and bold straight topped off by a command on the chorus, “Baby put the glove back in the glove box you’re not supposed to see that side of me.”

      “It’s about when you meet someone new and there are a lot of things you don’t know,” he elaborates. “I was afraid to show a certain side of myself. Even though she had all of these flaws, she was never afraid to be anything but herself. It’s the beginning of the relationship where all of these things under the surface are the gun in the glove box.”

      In the end, Ryan Woods sounds so human it’s divine…

      “My goal was to make the most human album I could,” he leaves off. “I think the story of humanity is we all feel capable of perfection, but we can’t help but make mistakes out of either
      curiosity or our shortcomings. I’m just telling a story of being human.”

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