[Photo by Alex Cobain]

Amber Ryann explores the time she was losing control of her life with debut LP Even When It Falls Apart

Welcome to AP&R, where we highlight rising artists who will soon become your new favorite.

Amber Ryann is as real as it gets when it comes to being an artist. The 28-year-old not only writes painfully raw songs about the trials and tribulations of her life but also is responsible for every sensory detail behind the greater artistic scope of her project. Ryann is a jack of all trades, a DIY professional if you will, who not only produces her own music but serves as the creative director behind her videos and merchandise. Through it all, Ryann has learned that she doesn’t need to depend on anyone but herself to make her dreams a reality, and as a result, her art is all the more authentic. 

Growing up with a hip-hop producer father, Ryann was exposed to music at an early age, and ever since, she’s been in pursuit of defining her sound. Ryann’s music incorporates everything from ‘90s R&B, dark electronics and trap to the visceral intensity of emo and hardcore. On lead single “Fall Apart,” Ryann dives deeper into her rock influences and incorporates organic sounds to soundtrack a painful and dark moment from her life this past year.

Read more: 11 alt icons of TV and film that shaped a generation of emos

Ryann shared her debut album, Even When It Falls Apart, this fall, a collection of deeply personal songs that will give listeners an inside look into her headspace through a story that’s unified by narrative-driven intros and outros. Ryann, who’s an outspoken champion for the LGBTQIA+ community, is already making an impact across her growing and dedicated fanbase, due in large part to her vulnerability and transparency — a clear sign that she will soon reach an even broader audience and continue to spread her mission in meaningful ways. 

Touching on your early roots, I understand that your father was a hip-hop producer. What was it like being surrounded by music at such a young age? 

I definitely learned the musical side from my dad. He was always on the grind up in the studio creating music 24/7. Bro was the type of guy that probably shouldn’t have even had kids. His version of babysitting us was being up in the studio just watching him work. Being around that, I gained a sense of work ethic and a love for creating music.

The emo and hardcore boom of the mid-2000s was a pivotal time for many artists who are now popping off, including you. What is it about this music scene specifically that inspired you so much? 

My biggest influence was definitely My Chemical Romance. They completely shifted my life entirely. Growing up, I was a lonely kid with not a lot of friends and was bullied in school. I had a hard time making sense of my world and my life, and I remember seeing them on MTV and hearing their first album, and feeling like I had a purpose and a place to belong. That sort of feeling within this scene has always been there and has always been for the people who feel like outcasts, which gave me a sense of belonging.

What was the inspiration behind your single “Fall Apart”? 

Going into writing it, I wanted to talk about something that had gone on in my personal life as of last year. My mom almost passed away. She got diagnosed with cancer, and we almost lost her due to complications of surgery. Going into this album, I wanted to create a story that conveyed what I had gone through from the top of the year to the end of the year. “Fall Apart” was based around those moments of feeling like I was losing control of everything around me, but then at the same time, I’m successfully pivoting through my career. It was a really conflicting period for me as an artist. For the first time, I felt disconnected from my art that was relevant at the time, and it was a lot of weight to carry. 

You’ve had your hands in every creative pot by producing your music, directing your videos and creating your own merchandise. Why is it important to be so involved in all aspects of your art, and how did you learn these different skills? 

I really learned how to be multifaceted purely out of necessity. It was a matter of, “I know no one is going to do this for me, and I know no one believes in this vision the way that I do, at least not right now, so I have to learn how to do this.” It then became a passion, and I can really control this narrative as an artist. I think it’s really empowering when it’s coming directly from the artist.

With all of these creative projects, what does a typical day look like for you? 

Complete chaos. [Laughs.] I usually wake up, edit content right away and respond to messages and a lot of engagement throughout the day. Usually, I get creative at night with music projects and collaborations. 

You’re such an outspoken champion for the LGBTQIA+ and POC communities. Have you begun to feel like your mission is starting to pay off? 

Definitely. I’ve had that moment where a fan has told me that my music saved their life, and that still doesn’t feel real. That’s how I felt about the bands I looked up to growing up, so those moments are surreal. It makes me emotional because it’s hard to believe that people are actually listening to my music, and it’s impacting them in a really real way.  

Obviously, everything is leading up to your debut album. What can we expect from this project? 

It’s definitely going to be a very genre-fluid album. It’s very raw and vulnerable. I didn’t hold back in any of the stories or lyricism. It’s also very cohesive, and what’s so interesting about releasing all of these singles right now is the fact that there are these outros and intros that might not be able to be comprehended right away by a first listener, but once you hear the album, it tells a really great story. I’m really excited to have people listen to it from top to bottom.