Ryan Star Talks Bon Jovi Tour, Filmmaking, "Start A Fire" and More
Mon, 14 Mar 2011 08:28:47
Ryan Star, whose album 11:59 is out now, is a consummate multi-tasker. The singer, who is about to kick off a new spate of tour dates with Bon Jovi, chatted with ARTISTdirect.com News Editor Amy Sciarretto while riding his exercise bike. He didn't sound out of breath while chatting candidly and to tell you the truth, we hardly even noticed that he was working up a sweat. That's how engaging and conversational Star is. He admitted he was working out only right before we hung up! "The endorphins were flowing, so maybe that's while I was able to give honest answers," Star joked.
Star's new single, "Start a Fire," is currently torching the airwaves, while "Losing Your Memory" was featured on the CW's The Vampire Diaries. Star will also be a part of the VH1 Best Cruise Ever in April w/ The Script, Lifehouse, Train, Colbie Caillat and more. It's good to be the fit Ryan Star in 2011.
Star talked lazy man's filmmaking, his favorite NYC show memories and the misconceptions about Long Island during our lovely little chat.
You are about to head out on the road with Bon Jovi - what can we expect? Maybe a Jovi cover?
I wish I could. I don't think the headliner would appreciate us covering their song. I am so grateful that the band is giving an up and comer a chance. Jon Bon Jovi -- he's winning. He is the real Charlie Sheen. As a young artist aspiring to have a following like he does, like him or not, whether you are a hater or lover, at one point, you have to be happy Bon Jovi exists. To be out there, watching those guys, I am excited to be learning and rip up the stage.
You tell stories in your songs. What do you think is the most important aspect of lyrical storytelling? A cohesive narrative? Sympathetic characters?
I think it's relating to the listener. You have to sing about something so personal, create characters and draw from real life and knowing other people may connect with what you are saying. When I was young and learning the craft, I concentrated on what I thought it was supposed to be. I thought about making it sound cool or be about a fantasy or political things. But the second I got more honest, I felt that connected with people more than when I was trying to connect with people. The more I tour and meet people in the audience, the more they become a part of me and I understand them more.
Being a Long Island native, you spent your formative years performing in Manhattan. What are your favorite Manhattan club show memories?
Now, the graffiti art and street art is popular, but when I was a kid, we would go in at night, bring wallpaper paste, post our posters and we got caught by an undercover cop. It was scary and I was like, 'I am just a Long Island boy, my parents are going to fucking kill me.' We got caught red-handed, with paint brushes and we were graffiti'ing the city with posters. The other great memory was once, I showed up at a gig, when I was hustling and bringing industry people out. I built it up to be a big night and I wanted to get signed and thought it was going to be fucking awesome, but the gate was shut. The venue screwed us over and the promoter didn't show up to open doors. I was scrambling, people were leaving. I also remember the first time my parents drove us to play at world famous CBGBs. I was not keeping up with my athletic brother. I don't remember the SATs or prom. But I remember these gigs and practicing and now I get to open for Bon Jovi.
You also write lyrics while watching movies. How and why do movies inspire you?
I am envious because I don't know how to make them. I know so much about music and that process. Even a genre like classical music, which is more foreign to me, I at least get the process or the players or the people. It's nice to get into a place where you don't know the secrets and mysteries. You buy into movie magic. For the most part, I do in three minutes what filmmakers do in three hours. I guess I am the lazy man's filmmaker. But I like to be visual and take a notepad while I am watching. I am not doing lyrics, but paying attention to the emotions, while watching.
What are the biggest misconceptions about your native Strong Island?
I love to defend its stereotypes, even if it is whack. For the most part, to be honest, it gets the Amy Fisher reputation. People remember all that. But for me, Long Island has the nicest beaches in the world on the South Shore. It can be a beach town place or a suburbia shopping mall. For me, growing up, it was a place where as a suburban kid, I had to be bored enough to get creative. Now I live in NYC and there was always the dream of the Long Island kid growing up and hoping to get to the city. If I had been from the city, I would have been over stimulated. At home, in Long Island, while my friends were getting good at Zelda and Nintendo games, I was recording in my basement.
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