Derek Ryan does an interview with Gerry Byrne of Irishradio.org
Online now of course one of Ireland's most successful and talented, not alone is he a singer and entertainer and performer but also an established songwriter. Not alone writing songs for himself, he's also writing songs for other people, and great to speak to him and catch up once again Derek Ryan how are you Derek ? not too bad. A real pleasure Derek a real pleasure. You saw the same as the rest you're in lockdown on all the rest of us, yeah in lockdown like everybody else unfortunately, see our last weeks were over in the U.K. we did a weekend there we did Birmingham and different places and that was actually our last o gig we've been pretty much in lockdown since then and just goes keep myself occupied looking if I can work from home I can I'm writing and producing demos and different things Working on my album as well, so you know it's okay to do a lot of things from home just unfortunate. Yes well that is one thing about it a possibly in this situation it can take out a slightly more creative side, particularly for somebody like yourself who has you know was a very very talented songwriter.
I mean you've written a huge amount of material. Yeah I mean in my publishing company, I recently set up with my record company we hit a hundred songs actually we had 100 so between my my albums and other people thousands you know in the last few years. A hundred songs out there so yeah it's fantastic and I'm still writing the waves and different projects coming up with Foster And Allen and Philomena Begley Olivia Douglas Owen Mac different songs so a lot of work going on behind the scenes you know. And that's part of what I enjoy as well you know.
Obviously we all love the gigs but it's nice to have the creative side as well I think you know and yet they're always trying to be at the forefront of creative music you know. Indeed and certainly you've done that. I mean you've pushed the boat out but not too far in taking songs which you know that you have been totally are not really different like ''hold on to your hats'' down on your uppers etc etc. I mean they're completely and totally different styles of songs than you know that nothing to have ever been recorded or created before.
Yeah I suppose you know what every artist kind of well I suppose it should be kind of, yet you're into and sound different you know if you come out and you do what everyone else is doing and suppose in a way you're just kind of joining the gang really but you know you have to I think you have to make a name for yourself and make a stamp. I put a stamp on the under genre you know. So that was my name right from the start be quite honest to do something different and as you say not too different that it's going to alienate any audience is renting it out here just have your own sound and I'd like to think between myself and my producer John no-one's we've created that sound and thankfully you know if a song comes on the radio a lot of times people will know that it's mine by the production and the type of sound it is.
You know, so that's kind of what he aim for you know. Indeed yes, and it's been very much so in particular stars I mean they you know that they even you've done things with other songs which have never ever been done before like, ''Won't you come down to Yarmouth Town'' The raggle taggle gypsy-o the old songs but you managed to actually make them your own. Yeah I here a song and I remember a song maybe from when you know I was younger I would have heard. We had a lot of cassettes and CDs. Everything from all you know Irish country artists Irish folk artists and at home you know so I grew up listening to all that kind of stuff and the songs, the kind of stuck with me and the two that you you mentioned actually would be with you that stuck with me. Also Patsy Fagan, a song my dad would have sang many years ago and that I recorded that as well.
So you know, it's not all suppose about you know, originals, that it's about a healthy mix really and uneven you know, there could be life in an old song. But if it's done on the different way or whatever you can make it your own. So you know, it's kind of finding that balance I suppose, and what works you know. That's the way it is you know. Indeed, well sir, certainly, how's work ? I mean I know like you are no search for your own material you're huge successes you've had, I mean ''life is a river'' A Mother's Son, going back in time etc etcetera. I mean, there's just so many of them and I just thought I'd mention those couple because they are sort of old gems from many moons ago, and you've managed to make them your own do you get particularly like in the current situation you're in you are in, trying to sort of pick up the guitar and and write and get ideas and try and be creative on a continual basis, yeah I always have been you know.
And then I kind of do conceive a friend of mine and recently I said I kind of was always kind of self isolated you know it's as an actor when you're writing you know you're do lock yourself away quite a lot and you're kind of you know, you're thinking about things and you tend to be deep characters you know any song like that I know and so yeah it hasn't been most different but it gives us time. I haven't really met a singer yet it's been complaining too much about being off, you know. I think because we tour so heavily in the Irish conscious thing you know it's been eight years non-stop gigging for me. The itchy feet to get on stage again, exactly yeah. I love travelling as well.
So that's one thing I miss and the gigs, in different places every night, and and you know the pose of the stage I just suppose but look at everything you know everything we're on the same boat you know so it's just a thing that everyone has to adapt and everyone is adapting and we're just gettin' on with it and you know hopefully it won't it won't last long. With other singers, do you keep in contact, see with your own band and people like that as you're off yeah of course we're doing I'm doing a series of duets online and if anybody wants to check them out they're on my my facebook derekRyanMusic and Instagram.
And the first one I did last week, Cliona Hagen and would have been acoustic duet so you know online and it's great it's great craic, I'm doing one with two at least in the queue as well and different people and it's like that so and you know technology is vital, now you know and it's vital. I suppose keep in touch with other people in the business but also keep in touch with the people who support your music you know that would have come to dances and concerts and listen to your music so you know we're gonna face but like but you know all that kind of stuff and you know so it had a say it's just everyone has to adapt and I really enjoyed my facebook live asked me because it brought me back to my folk days when I was gigging for you know in London so we all have to adapt. It takes you back to the days of just yourself and the guitar in a pub and it's a that there's something possibly homely about something like that.
Yeah I think there's something very organic about it as well you know. There's no frills you know, it's just me and the guitar no fancy stuff, no fancy effects or anything like that. And people are asking for songs and you know you do requests and all that, so yeah it definitely brings you back that they the days of the the gigs and the request and you know what ? that's for you that's where you learn your craft you know. I've been doing it for years so please and you know it's kind of funny reminder of what I used to do and I really enjoyed it.
I'm gonna do a similar actually you know it looks like we're in it for the long haul unforeseen so it'll be a lot more faithful plays and different things you know. Indeed well of course you grew up I mean in there steeped in entertainment with your dad and since Andy give hope your brother was involved in entertainment as well. Yeah I mean he does a very successful one-man show and for salsa dancing and he's flat-out he's all over the country and the U.K. as well actually, and daddy it was one half of cupola unfortunately. Richie Kelly the accordion player passed away and not so long ago and there was a great great musician and a great friend of all families as well for many years so it was a sad loss with Richie. Richie passed away and so yeah we would have brought up you know as I mentioned earlier surrounded by Irish music really Irish is because Irish traditional music and you know so it no surprise any one that notices were all kind of involved in in one way or another you know.
Indeed, and as you mentioned by Richie Kelly he was a incredibly well-known musician and to entertain or together with your dad for from many many moons you know used with that for I think it was as long as I'm around it's in 36 years or something that's the week while I was you know we always I always remember it since it since I can remember really you know and I'm fond memories of him and dad playing and but just a great great friend of ours as well you know and but as you say a phenomenal musician and I'm recording there and they could be if he if he greatly missed around the Ryan family. Indeed, Derek lovely to catch up with you and I wish you all the success in the world with with your creativity and also your Facebook live and all of that work and so I look forward as you say it is the long haul. [ Derek Ryan Songs ]
Irish folk song lyrics, chords and a whole lot more