“My Heart Song” — Tanya Ryan’s inspirational self-love ballad (produced by Mark Troyer) is the lead single from her new album, Open, coming February 20th.
Originally from Saskatoon, the singer/songwriter has been writing and performing professionally since 2012; since then she’s played on numerous esteemed stages including the Nashville North Stage, and the Coca Cola Stage at the Calgary Stampede, as well as one of Canada’s largest festivals, Main Stage’s: Big Valley Jamboree. In 2017, she was a top 3 finalist in Alberta’s Project Wild taking home a $50,000 grand prize, and in 2014 she was chosen as one of six across Canada for the Canadian Country Music Association’s Project Discovery Program.
What music did your family listen to growing up in Canada?
Everyone was different! I seem to recall my mum loved Madonna, ABBA, Jann Arden; my dad always had a country music station on and enjoyed CCR, The Eagles, and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. There was a lot of variety in my environment, musically-speaking. My mum used to go to the library and take out CDs for me… she’d bring all sorts of things from Ray Charles, Muddy Waters, and Ella Fitzgerald to the Chicago soundtrack.
Which up and coming Canadian artists should fans add to their playlists?
Blake Reid is by far one of my most favourite Canadian acts, I can’t recommend his music enough. Lucas Chaisson would be another one I could listen to forever. I’m also really keen on Mariya Stokes, Shaela Miller, and Andrea Nixon. I’ve made a few public playlists on Apple Music of my favourite Canadians, check them out!
Fulfillment. #LightSideUp What do you hope fans take away from this post?
Ah yes, one of my more cerebral posts. I like to think about life and the way I respond to it. I think about it because I like to create meaningful connections, and I do my best to ensure that the impact I have created when I depart this planet is positive… so I like to share the inner workings of my over-analytical mind in hopes that others too will self-reflect, ask questions, and perhaps also leave the planet and the people around them with something really positive.
What inspired you to write “My Heart Song”?
I was experiencing a really challenging depression when I wrote it. I was having a hard time understanding my worthiness, and purpose. I couldn’t see the value in what I offered in life and to those around me. It was a really challenging time for me emotionally and mentally. I hadn’t been writing or creating… I was really isolated. I heard the line in my mind “My heart knows things that I don’t…” — it felt meaningful to me and made me sit down with a notebook and guitar, to see what else would come out. The words funneled out so fluidly. At the end, I realized it was the answer to my depression … that no matter how dark it feels, that I always have the capacity to pull myself from that depth. The answer is within.
From storyboard to filming, how involved were you in the song’s music video?
I wrote the storyboard for it, presented my ideas to my videographer and we hashed out a few more details before we filmed it. It too came quite naturally. I had a few scattered ideas at first — and then I woke up one day and the whole story was there. The concept was to display the variety of people that experience struggle, strife, and challenges with mental health. It affects us all in some way or another over the period of our lives… we all go through it, and I wanted to make it really clear that we all also have the potential and capacity to overcome it.
𝚃 𝙰 𝙽 𝚈 𝙰 𝚁 𝚈 𝙰 𝙽 on Instagram: "When did you last do something that scared you? What was…
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You said it’s important to scare yourself. When did you last do something like this and what was the outcome?
I have been terrified for the last 6 months straight! Haha I am nearly 7 months pregnant and that’s been largely terrifying… I’ve been describing it as the same feeling that you get when you are approaching the highest peak on the rollercoaster. You know that suspense when the cart is clicking slowly before it peaks and sends you straight downward at an intense speed? Expecting a kid sort of feels like that.
So, at this point the outcome is unknown. I mean, parenting doesn’t come with the same safety belts and restraints as the rollercoaster does… wish me luck!
Read your post on “Its a hard knocked-up life”. How are things going? What would you say to other moms-to-be on how to navigate all things baby?
You read my post! Oh, I’m flattered, thank you.
Lately, I’ve been a lot better. I have finally surrendered to the unknown and relinquished my feeble attempts to control my circumstances (which is challenging as a person who has pretty much planned every step of their life since they were 9 years old).
My advice to anyone that’s expecting is try not to listen to what anyone else says you ‘should’ be experiencing… there’s really no right or wrong way to experience the emotions associated with entering motherhood and/or pregnancy. Every experience is valid however blissful or not, it may be. Find people that make you feel okay about feeling what you’re feeling — and that listen to you without (accidentally patronizing you by) saying: “Oh don’t worry, it’s all going to be FINE.”
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“Dimes”. What a lovely heartfelt tribute song for your husband’s mother on how she’d have felt at your wedding. What inspired you to write it as a song?
It’s sort of a funny story, actually… I had been writing so many love songs prior to our becoming engaged. I had written some of the most meaningful, deep, and impactful love songs I had ever written. When we got engaged, I was excited to write something for our wedding. I was all arrogant about it, my mental dialogue was like: “Omg, it’s going to be my best one yet. All those others will have nothing on THIS one. I’m going to make people cry. It will be EPIC.” … and then I got the most severe writer’s block EVER. I couldn’t write anything that didn’t sound incredibly cheesy or clichéd. It was awful.
And then one day, it was like someone dumped a bucket of realization on my head: Yes, it’s a love song. Yes, it’s meaningful. Yes, it will make people cry. But it has absolutely nothing to do with you or your love for your fiancé.
I sat down and started writing and it all came so easily, like someone was dictating it. After having such severe writer’s block, this was a welcomed shift. It was done in less than 30 minutes.
And it did make people cry. Including my husband. So, that’s was a win.
“Music & Money”. How does the business side of music influence what you write, especially being an independent artist?
“Music and Money” is currently my only piece that is quite focused on the music business; but I would really like to write more about the business aspect of the industry. I feel that there are so many creators that struggle with the idea of running their career as a business. The concept can be quite daunting. I have always been interested in business and entrepreneurship; I like it quite a lot. I’m working on a few more pieces right now that address musicians in business. My intention with continuing to create more content of this nature is to show creators and musicians that business doesn’t have to feel overwhelming, intimidating, or out of their abilities; and instead can be incredibly liberating and empowering.
You posted a 2019 highlight reel. What’s on your goal list for this year?
I have what I’m referring to as “opposite-goals” this year. I’ve spent my entire life goal-setting, striving, stretching, reaching, working… and very little time acknowledging, celebrating, and experiencing. This year I want to really take time to appreciate what I have accomplished, to break down goals into smaller steps, and congratulate myself on a day’s work well-done. So, I guess my goal is to be more present, and a little less goal-oriented.
Fellow fan of Harry Potter. Have you found another similar book series that you’d recommend?
Are you going to laugh when I recommend another wizard series? Okay, so I really liked this series growing up (pre-Potter) by Diane Duane. The first book is called “So You Want to be a Wizard”. Are you sensing a theme here? Haha! I really like the idea of magic. In effort to be slightly less nerdy, I consumed the entire “Hunger Games” series in under a week. Strongly recommend that as well.
“Start teaching our daughters to be somebodies instead of somebody’s.” How can music play a role in this?
I hope that women, young women, older women… all women to continue to write, create, sing, and perform music. We have a lot of society-created limitations on women in music. Most prevalently in the country music industry. But it looms in all genres… when was the last time a female artist broke over the age of 35? Happens to men all the time… but it’s historically proved to be more difficult for women.
We’re all perpetuating these invisible barriers and rules. So, I hope that we’re liberating new generations (and older ones too) by empowering them to know they are somebody. They deserve to be heard, seen, loved… they’re not simply there to stand by their man though his successes. They deserve to pursue their own passions and express their voices. Regardless of invisible boundaries created by society…
Tarot reader. What’s in the cards for you?
Haha — this is a brilliant question!
My cards mostly (and constantly) tell me to slow down, have patience, and stop trying to figure out my life before it happens. So, in my current circumstance I can really only tell you that they are doing a really great job of parenting me before I become a parent. That said, I do keep trying to ask about my inevitable riches, big stages, and book signings… I could swear to you tarot cards can roll their eyes.
What song are you the most proud of writing? How has your writing evolved since you started in 2012?
At this point, I’m most proud of “My Heart Song”. I’m proud because in creating and releasing this song I was forced to be entirely myself, in such a way that I haven’t shown up in my music before. It felt equal parts brave and reckless to put out this song that makes me feel so exposed. I’m proud of this song, and I’m proud of myself for letting that song travel past the door of my bedroom.
When I was writing my first album I was really focused on making music that I thought people would like. I think many artists go into their careers unconsciously seeking validation, we are a naturally insecure group of people. I made my music following these guidelines and rules set by — I don’t know who — and I was under the impression that following these rules would lead to the outcome and success I desired. I was doing my best to ‘be myself’ … but only in a way that I felt fit in these ‘rules’… I don’t write like that anymore. Now I only write lyrics, melodies, and songs that feel entirely honest — regardless of whether or not they fall into the unwritten acceptable guidelines.
The amount at which society underestimates the value of mothers is astounding to me. Though in the same breath - I…
What lead you to start a blog?
I couldn’t sing for almost a year and a half. I was having a lot of trouble with severe vocal fatigue, there were weeks where I couldn’t speak. When you can’t sing, you can’t write music, and in my case, when I can’t write music, I can’t really process feelings and life — especially when songwriting is pretty well the only channel I have.
I started writing the blogs as a way to stay sane. As an outlet. I didn’t have great ambitions of actually starting a consistent blog… but once I opened that dialogue up, it just kept flowing, so I’ve kept writing!
Rowan House Society
Rowan House Society offers emergency shelter and domestic violence services across Southern Alberta.
You’re an ambassador for the Rowan House Society. Can you share more about your role?
I love the Rowan House. I love what they do, I love the incredible staff there and they have an amazing team of volunteers. I have played many roles there over the years; I’ve taught yoga on location for the house guests, I’ve went into schools and helped with the preventative education program; my most active role has been through creating various fundraising events and campaigns.
I’ve done online yoga challenges to raise money, organized performances, and one of my most successful events was a combination of the two! A huge yoga class and live music event. We had over 200 people doing yoga on an indoor soccer field — followed by a live music performance by myself. That’s my favourite event so far — and the community seemed to really enjoy it!
What’s ahead for you musically this year?
I have been so enveloped on this upcoming album and the performances associated with it. I need to deliver it into the public world, let it have its moment. In honouring my ‘being present’ goal of 2020, I’ll make sure I give this release my full attention and acknowledgment… and then likely I’ll start working on my next project. I expect I will have loads of inspiration and content as I enter the new journey of motherhood; it will be interesting, I have no doubt!