Name: Ryan Clark
Major: Business – Marketing
Ryan Clark is a Marist singer/songwriter that is hitting the books before he hits the stage as an up-and-coming musician. You may have seen him at an SPC Open Mic Night or on this year’s season of American Idol. I caught up with Ryan to hear all about his experience auditioning for one of America’s biggest reality TV shows, along with his future plans for his time at Marist and his music career.
HC: When you were younger, did music play as big of a role in your life as it does today?
RC: Today, I would have to say that music is a career move for me now. So I’d have to say definitely not. I never thought I could make a career out of it and kind of visualize the goal in mind when I was younger. It’s like a dream come true being able to do all of this music stuff now, but when I was younger I had a band and I dreamed about playing in front of people, you know what I mean?
HC: When did you begin to want to pursue music professionally?
RC: I would have to say probably just a year ago I decided that this is 100% what I’m doing for my career professionally. I met a producer named Frank Palangi when I was doing a show and he performed before me. He came up to me after my performance and asked me if I’d be willing to come to his studio and record a song and the whole recording experience gave me that light to be able to see my dream of being able to do music.
HC: Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
RC: Number one is definitely John Mayer. I absolutely love his music. I remember my mom playing Continuum on my way to school every morning because she would drop me off, so he’s definitely the guy who influenced me the most. I love his style. I also love Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson. Youtubers…I’m starting to get a little bit into the Youtube realm. Boyce Avenue, Tyler Ward and Alex Goot are musicians that I really admire and they definitely influence my style and what I’m trying to do with my life.
HC: What encouraged you to sign up for American Idol?
RC: I’d have to say it was all due to my mom. She was the one who was like “Ryan, you should really try out!” I also used to watch the show a lot when I was younger and it was always cool seeing all these people be able to make a career out of it and get a ticket and all that stuff, so it was cool watching it. But yeah, it was definitely my mom just encouraging me to try out so I looked up online one day the dates that the open auditions were and went down and tried out.
HC: Can you tell us a little bit about what your experience was like?
RC: We went down, it was super early in the morning. I got there at like six or seven o’clock and I didn’t audition until three so it was a long process because there’s so many people. There were thousands of people in an arena and there was a couple of different booths set up with producers that basically just listened to your talent and told you if you would go through or not. There are multiple rounds before the actual famous judges. They told me I’m not going to be able to go to the next round but they asked me to come back next year because I was only 18 at the time. And they said I was young so they wanted me to have one more year of experience and then come back. It was an amazing experience, you know? It was phenomenal doing it and just being able to try out for something like it. I learned so much from it and I met great people too.
HC: If you could, would you audition again? Would you do anything differently?
RC: Definitely going to audition again, especially because they asked me to come back so it’s an opportunity waiting for me. I’m also going to keep doing my music career and continue to grow as an artist. I think it’s so important to continue to just grow and do what you love to do. Even if something may shoot you down a little bit, you have to use that as a stepping stone, so I’m definitely going to audition again. If I could do something differently, I would maybe change my song choice. The first song I auditioned with was “Slide” by The Goo Goo Dolls and they told me that it was too similar to the actual recording artist. They told me that they wanted something unique and creative, because that’s what stands out to those producers – when an artist takes a song and makes it their own. Then I did the song “No Diggity” and it’s originally like a rap song so I did that and they passed me through. That’s probably what I would have done differently, taken that creative edge to the song and used it.
HC: How has your musical background impacted your experiences at Marist?
RC: I would have to say all of the different connections I’ve made, that was probably the most prominent. Being able to just jam with all the different people on campus, being able to perform…I’ve done a couple of concerts and open mic nights, so that’s always fun to do and I just love doing it, so while I’m at school I just have to keep doing music.
HC: What are your plans, music-wise, for 2015?
RC: I just recently made a status on Facebook that said “Big plans for 2015!” Of course I’m going to try out for American Idol again this coming year. I am also recording with a producer who is currently on tour with Alex Goot. He and I are going to be recording an EP, so it’s going to be all of my original music. I’m going to continue to release a lot of cover songs so that’s kind of my plan, just to release more music on Youtube and get more content out so that people can get to grasp who I am as an artist and kind of get to know me as singer and a musician. The third thing, I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to afford it, but I got invited out to Colorado by Tyler Ward’s manager who hooked me up with a connection in Boulder, Colorado to record with the same producer that has produced Kelly Clarkson, One Republic, The Fray, and Mat Kearney and has worked with/toured with them…but it’s really expensive! So I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to get the funds to be able to do that.
We look forward to seeing where Ryan takes his musical endeavors! To find out more about Ryan Clark, check out the links below!