Thank you for chatting with us! When did you first get into music?
When I was a little kid, just a wee lad, my grandparents were involved in church choir and a couple of acapella groups, so I took lessons very early on. When I first started to appreciate music and learn and become more interested on my own was probably in late middle school or early high school. I was in choir at the time and I learned how to play guitar. After I got a pretty good grasp of the instrument, I started writing songs, moved on to college, did open mic nights and acoustic shows. A couple years after that, I put a record out and here I am.
Tell me about your current single, “The Rewrite” feat. Brad Paisley. It hit #5 on the Texas Regional Radio Charts! How does that feel?
It feels really good! Having Brad on this song is really something special. We pitched him the song hoping he might record it on his record. He thought about it for a while and ended up sending back that version with him laying down that killer guitar part. It was really neat to have Brad on that tune.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you feel to have someone of his stature playing guitar for this song?
My first thought was, “how am I going to duplicate this live?!” Just knowing that one of the guitar players that I looked up to when I first started playing was interested and willing to play something for me is really cool.
I’d love to know your thoughts about Paisley releasing a song that you guys co-wrote together – “Last Time for Everything.” How did that come about?
I started the song with Chris Dubois, Brent Anderson and Smith Ahnquist. I was in town one week writing and we got on the subject, we wrote it for a while and then I had to take off for some shows. The very next day Brent and Chris had a session with Brad and they played him what we had started working on and he loved it. They ended up finishing it that night and Brad recorded it the next morning for his record. It all happened when I wasn’t even there! Chris called me and was like, “Hey Mike, I just wanted to let you know that you got your first cut!” It was a great feeling.
You have a new single coming out soon off of your album, “Blink You’ll Miss It,” and it’s called, “Damn Good Goodbye.” It’s an appropriate song for the graduation season that we are currently in. Does this song come from a personal memory that you had when you were graduating high school?
I wrote this song with my core group of buddies. As we go through life, everyone has tons of friends that they hang out with at various stages of their life, but for the most part, people have a group of friends they can count on one hand that they don’t have to talk to every week or every day to stay on the same page, but when you see them, you pick up right where you left off. That was the focus of the emotion in this song. It’s about those friends and those last couple days before we moved off after high school to pursue other things. Some of us it was work, some of us it was college, but we all got pulled off in different directions.
Is there any advice that you would want to give new graduates who are heading into the workforce? What about advice to those who are heading out to make their dreams come true of becoming an artist?
My advice might not be the best because I went to one of the best music schools in the country and didn’t study music. I was a criminal justice major when I first got there and I was a business major, then I switched to kinesiology. I switched to criminal justice right around the time that I realized music was what I wanted to do, and as for the college part, I had been in it too long to give up, so I just thought while I was there I’d might as well go ahead and finish it. As a plan B, I thought federal law enforcement was a good idea, you know, carrying a gun, wearing a suit, that kind of thing. But when it all came down to it, I realized music was what I wanted to do. I had a great college experience though and learned a lot about everything. Playing music and not having that stress of having to play music and learn it, like the theory and all that, for my living or my grades or well being, I feel like that would have been a lot more stressful. Learning all of that, though it might have helped now in my career, I just found out they were going to teach me a lot more than I wanted to learn. I took a few electives and it helped me with finding a band, but for a major, it wasn’t for me.
Ok, now for the food questions!
I see that you are from San Antonio, TX. What restaurant would you suggest to someone traveling through? When they are there, what meal do they have to get?
I feel like the only answer I can give you for San Antonio has to be Mexican food. I feel like that’s what we’re best at and I was actually just talking about it today. If I had to pick one, I’d have to say La Fogata. It’s sort of downtown-ish, not quite downtown, but they’ve got a really great patio, really good drinks and the Mexican food is just great. You don’t have to look very hard to find good Mexican in San Antonio
Is there a major difference in the food scene in Texas verses here in Nashville?
There’s definitely more Mexican food whereas here y’all have hot chicken and we don’t have that in San Antonio. We have fried chicken but it’s not the same. There are similar restaurants like Chuy’s. I typically don’t like chains as much, but they do really well there. If you make your own salsa and you make your own tortillas, you’re doing okay. I can’t get into it if they come out of a bag.
When you are on tour, what is one restaurant that you look forward to stopping at?
In Texas, I would say Whataburger is a favorite spot. Really just any place we have time to stop and sit down and enjoy a meal, I’d prefer that. In reality, we’re eating out of a bag a lot, so Taco Cabana is great. My favorite in Nashville? Virago is at the top of that list or Samurai Sushi. I’m a huge fan of Asian food. I also like Urban Grub or Hattie B’s if you can go at the right time and not wait in line. If I had to pick one though, Virago would be the one.
Finally, if you could have a drink and meal with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you have?
I’m a big Tom Hanks fan and that’s what’s coming to mind now. I had king crab and filet mignon on Mother’s Day, but I’m thinking that’d be great. Some kind of grass-fed beef or perhaps, wild game of some sort, maybe elk, and of course, the finest wine with Tom Hanks. I’d love it!
Get Mike Ryan’s latest album, “Blink You’ll Miss It,” featuring “The Rewrite (feat. Brad Paisley)” and “Damn Good Goodbye” HERE
Want to see Mike Ryan live? See if he is coming to a city near you!
Get tickets HERE