Ryan Nealon is a singer and songwriter all the way from San Diego, California, who’s currently based in Los Angeles. What’s a standout characteristic of Ryan is his deeply rooted background in music, and how it goes much further than just self-taught artistry. Nealon has received a Bachelor of Arts Degree (BA) from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) for Ethnomusicology - Jazz Studies with an emphasis in Jazz Voice. This has caused Ryan Nealon to absolutely kill it when it comes to creating success for himself as an independent artist. As an unsigned artist, Nealon has over 200,000 streams and over 10,000 followers on social media. Along with media content, Nealon has booked countless successful shows at renowned venues all across the United States such as Rockwood Music Hall in New York City and The Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles.
This has caused Ryan Nealon to become familiar with crowds and slowly but surely crafted him into a seasoned performer. Not only has Ryan Nealon executed stellar live shows, but he also acquired many collaborations under his belt. Nealon has also collaborated with several artists of notoriety such as Alisan Porter, Brooke Simpson, and India Carney from NBC's "The Voice," Noah Barlass and Matt Bloyd from "The Four," and has sung background vocals for artists such as Matoma.
The success Ryan Nealon has developed for himself landed him multiple features on different blogs including The Drunken Coconut, Unclear Magazine, and Digital Tour Bus, and has been featured in the San Diego Union-Tribune, The Daily Bruin, and The Los Angeles Times. Nealon's most recent credits are singing Background Vocals on the Matoma tracks "Sunday Morning (feat. Josie Dunne)," which was released on November 9th, 2018 under Parlophone Records--a subsidiary of Warner Music. Ryan Nealon is undeniably a huge rising success whose creating nothing but major buzz for himself. His independent release “City”, passed over 80,000 streams and gained a mass amount of positive critical reception and press including a feature on Apple Music’s “Breaking Pop” playlist. Nealon's next single "Sleepwalking," which features fellow Los Angeles Singer/Songwriter Kylie Rothfield, is out now on all platforms. Ryan Nealon is the next breakout star, and 2020 is destined to be a major year for him.
Listen to Ryan Nealon here.
Welcome to BuzzMusic Ryan Nealon! In what ways has your background in music education influenced your personal artistry? Well about 7 years ago, I made the move from San Diego to Los Angeles to go to UCLA, and I can’t even imagine where I would be now if I had never gone. Being at UCLA helped me learn a lot of really valuable things like how to lead a band, how to write charts, and how to really read and understand the music I was writing, but it also taught me a lot about myself. Before I got to UCLA I was very shy and didn’t know how to really believe in myself or my talent, but the whole experience really helped me become a fully realized artist. It humbled the heck out of me and made me realize that music is not a competition which is what a lot of young artists have a hard time understanding.
How would you detail the approach you took to your release of “Closer”?
For Closer, I wrote this track in 2016 with my friend Bret, and it’s the only song I play still from the “Baby Ryan” era (lol). We wanted to do something completely different compared to what we had been doing with the song for years and with the help from our friends Peter Kastner and Sam Murphy we were able to have a completely realized vision. We basically took a piano ballad and turned it into a Weeknd-Esque R&B/Pop ballad, which to me was super exciting since I had never put out anything that was electronically produced.
What was the most challenging aspect of creating the song “City”?
For City, in particular, it was the first song where I had multiple co-writers involved which in this situation means a lot of cooks were in the kitchen. There were a lot of contrasting ideas being presented and on one hand, we had the original idea for an 80s pop-inspired track along with a completely modern approach, but somehow we were able to combine those ideas and jeez I’m glad we did.
How was it collaborating with Kylie Rothfield on your single “Sleepwalking”?
About 2 years ago, I saw Kylie playing at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood completely acoustic and was just in awe of not only her voice but her writing. Funny story, Kylie wasn’t even the one I was going to see at that show—it was her sociopathic ex who I was there to see, and can’t tell if you gathered that info correctly, but I’m definitely not friends with him anymore haha. Thankfully though, I was able to gain a friend in Kylie who I now consider to be my closest friend in LA. I wrote Sleepwalking about a year later and always had Kylie in mind, then a year after Kylie and I were able to record it and she even co-produced it with our pal Zack Djurich. Working with her was a dream come true for me.
What’s the major theme behind the song “Till The World Ends”? Heartbreak, plain and simple. I wrote Till The World Ends based off of how I always feel when it comes to relationships or whenever I pursue someone. I, unfortunately, embody the “nice guys finish last” saying in relationships and no matter how much someone hurts or has hurt me I’ll still wait for them or forgive them. So basically the song is a haunting ballad about waiting on someone who you know will never wait for you.
What’s next for you Ryan Nealon? What are you looking forward to in 2020?
I’m so unbelievably excited for next year. I don’t want to speak anything into the world since nothing is solidified yet, but next year is going to be amazing with a bunch of new music, new visuals, and a new era from me.