11.5 Audrey Ryan: She Does Music / by Elaine Sheldon


Curated by Elaine Sheldon

Audrey Ryan is a one-woman band with some impressive multi-instrument skills. An electric guitar, accordion, ukulele, banjo, vibraphone, drums, kick, tambourine and a loop station are all part of her setup--among other tricks. She grew up on an island off the coast of Maine and comes from a musical family; her dad played guitar and her mom sang and played piano and the organ. She started learning the guitar at the age of 10 and violin at 7--playing folk tunes to the likes of the Indigo Girls, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan. In college, her main gig was playing in bluegrass and jazz bands. It took her nearly several years, to find her voice and develop her own style as a solo artist in Boston, but she's done it and stands so strong. In the past, she has opened for artists like Suzanne Vega, Sam Amidon and They Might Be Giants. Audrey is a new mom with anew EP that you should download. She’s taken a break from touring and is collaborating with Will Dailey to create music for commercial licensing. Several years ago she wrote, “The Need to Be Heard,” a book for and about DIY musicians.


How would you describe your relationship with your fans? I’m very casual. I have this loft in Somerville, Mass. that I have been hosting shows at for years and it’s incredibly intimate. I usually ask people to tell me what they want to hear, instead of doing shot lists. I’m not someone who is distant from the audience. Here are these people staring at you, if you make them feel like there’s a lot of separation, they’re not going to connect with the music.

What is a piece of advice you would give to a young musician? You should really hone in your craft and try to be really good at what you do, before you do it in front of other people. I myself, when I started playing out, was not very good. I hadn’t rehearsed as much as I probably should have, and probably spent alot of time rehearsing in front of other people. But the problem with that is, you turn people off. And then it’s going to be hard to get people to come back in two or three years when you are good.

Where are you at in your career and where do you want to go? Things have changed for me in the past couple of years. In my 20s, I was touring non-stop, but now I don’t tour extensively. I’m focused more on licensing. I work with Will Dailey, a singer songwriter in Boston, to write pop and electronic songs for commercials. We’re both married and we both have a kid--he actually has two kids. We’re still artists and musicians but we have a very practical side of our lives now which makes it difficult to stay at bars until 2 A.M. So I’m moving more towards co-writing and working with someone. I think it’s better at this point to work with someone and not be an island.


LISTEN: Audrey Ryan on Bandcamp

READ: Review of Latest EP "Let's Go To The Vamp"

WATCH: Audrey crushing the accordion in Dublin, Ireland

CONNECT: Audrey on Twitter