Honolulu, Hawaii-based singer-songwriter Bryn Ryan-VanDyke recently released her new single/lyric video, “It’s My Movie,” an aspirational anthem about the journey from despair and uncertainty to reclamation of life through the pursuit of dreams.
Originally from SoCal, Ryan-VanDyke is stepping into a second life, where she is living her dream and flexing her talent of writing songs that touch hearts and speak to human experience. Drawing inspiration from powerhouse storytelling artists of the past like Alanis Morisette, Stevie Nicks, Amy Lee of Evanescence, and Elton John, and songwriters like Carole King, Ryan-Van Dyke crafts her songs with intention and fearless creativity.
The lyric video, directed by Matt Epstein, layers Bryn’s compelling lyrics over inspiring images of women and men taking on—and overcoming—life’s challenges. Whether tested by the environment, social constraints, or misfortune, this song and video call everyone in to refuel and refocus on the outcome of their life’s movie.
Loaded with potent guitars and hints of deliciously galvanizing country rock, “It’s My Movie” highlights the slightly rasping, lightning-rod vocals of Ryan-VanDyke.
Guitar Girl Magazine caught up with Bryn Ryan-VanDyke to discuss the inspiration for “It’s My Movie,” her definition of tone, and her guitars.
What three things can’t you live without?
My hope is that I can live without anything that I have, but do cherish my friendships and relationships, and my American-made Ovation Custom Balladeer 12-string.
Why do you make music?
I make music because I have to – I’ve tried to put it aside in the past because I have other time-consuming commitments, but I couldn’t. I get this feeling in the pit of my stomach that grows until it can no longer be ignored, and I have to write.
What inspired your latest single/lyric video, “It’s My Movie?”
I kept finding myself in the same situation even though I thought I was making better choices. I was very conscious of time passing and it caused me to take a good, hard look at myself and take a hold of my own life. Do whatever is within my power to get to the next level in my journey and believe in my heart that I could do it. I realized that only I have the ability to change my path and focus on goals that were mine alone. So, I was inspired to inspire myself and hopefully inspire others.
Which singers/musicians influenced your sound?
I always had to study and work hard without a lot of free time. I’ve had an awesome life with amazing friends, travel, etc. But never had time to listen in depth to artists. I started writing songs by singing into my guitar tuner and was limited to my guitar-playing ability. I’d say I was most influenced by drum patterns found in some songs by Alanis Morissette, Fiona Apple, Michelle Branch, Train, and Incubus. And the energy in artists like Evanescence and The Cult. I love the blues. I’m finally getting to a point where I’m able to explore a bit, and am interested in listening to more R&B.
What kind of guitar do you play?
I always played and loved my 12-string Custom Balladeer Ovation 1755 made in New Hartford, CT. I recently purchased a new Taylor Builders Edition 324ce 6-string that I’ve also fallen in love with. I also have an Ibanez that I use when traveling.
What is your definition of tone? And is your tone evolving?
To me, tone, in terms of singing, is the quality of fullness and pitch as well as the feeling the voice gives. It’s similar to the ‘tone’ a writer gives when you read and hear the writer’s ‘voice’ coming through. Thankfully, my tone is evolving. For the last couple of years, I’ve worked really hard and it’s given me a lot more confidence. I’m hearing my voice start to come through stronger as my tone improves.
How do you keep your sound consistent on stage?
I don’t deviate too much from my recordings on stage. Live performances are a fun platform to experiment with – you can extend solos or outros live because you aren’t limited to an approximate three-minute length. I enjoy letting my band add finesse or ideas in rehearsal that are incorporated into live shows. Some of their input – like a cool guitar riff or suggested arrangement change, has led to revisions in how I sing, and perform some of the songs. I love that. But my band is good at keeping the parts of the songs that the audience wants to hear consistent.
What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, TV, or other media?
I draw inspiration from things that tug on my emotions. Events or personal struggles. Things that others may also be dealing with…Sometimes fantasy or dreams. Only one time I was looking for ideas and saw something on TV that sparked my imagination. That ended up being ‘Fast Train.’
What can you share about your writing process?
My process starts by envisioning what I want to write about and then writing down all the thoughts to help structure the flow of the song. Finding the right words to get across what I want to say in a three-minute song is the hardest part of the process. Each line should count to move the story along. Often something grabs me to move in a different direction and the song morphs into something different when I start to put the lyrics to music. My process is a lot of being open to imagination and a lot of good ol’ woodshedding. I try to let it ‘happen’ and not be frustrated if it takes a while. Most things worthwhile are not often easy.
Which artists in your opinion are killing it right now?
I love Lindsey Stirling. Her talent with her instrument and the artistic choices she makes delight and surprise me and make me want to move. In my book, she’s my favorite newer artist. I also really like Halsey, love her percussion and alternative instrumentation choices.
How do you define success?
Success to me is when you feel you’ve done your best and are thankful for the blessings in your life. I currently feel I’m doing the best I can, so I’m successful in that way. However, I do have goals that haven’t yet been reached. I look forward to realizing some of them.
What can your fans look forward to over the next six months? Music videos? Live gigs? New material?
Live gigs, new material, and at least one new video are in my plans for the next six months. I’m also starting to be involved in a Rock Opera…looking forward to the future!