Q: Can you tell me a bit about your journey so far?
I’ve been playing music all my life and within the past five years, I started my journey as “Amber Ryann” — as this independent, alternative pop artist.
Q: Have there been challenges for you along the way?
The positions I built for myself in terms of being a creative director, my own producer, songwriter, music video director — all of these different facets of my career and my brand are things that I’ve taken myself out of necessity. In the beginning, there wasn’t a lot of accessibility to people who would help out or contribute to the projects. That’s been my biggest hurdle: having to build the team around me, and prior to building the team, being my own team.
I oversee everything. I write and produce my music. I have another producer that I work with now — his name is Zach Golden. I’ve learned that collaboration is a very powerful thing. At first, I used to be like, “I don’t want anyone producing my stuff,” but it’s really just helped me elevate my craft, for one, and then elevate the actual music and make it more relatable for music listeners as well by introducing new collaborators.
Being a woman in the music industry has its own challenges for sure. Whether I’ve fully acknowledged those challenges as setbacks or obstacles — that’s a different thing. For me, I’m going to keep doing what I have to do, and I can’t expect everyone to be behind me and see my vision right away. I have seen the challenges of being a woman in the industry, but I just don’t see them as challenges.
Q: What do you love about being a musician?
I think now I’m getting to a point where I’m really starting to cultivate a fan base, and I think just feeling connected to those people in some type of way is very moving and gratifying. It’s that reassurance of like, “I’m doing this for a reason — to connect to other people — and it’s really working.”
Q: How would you describe your music?
I would say alternative pop. It’s pretty much a huge genre blend of a whole bunch of different things — alternative rock, pop, hip-hop.
Q: What inspires you and keeps you going?
Definitely my family. My team. The people that my music connects to.
Q: Tell us about the platform you created called Underrated Artist Season. What inspired you to create it?
It’s a platform and playlist curated by music listeners specifically. It used to be just me hopping on a TikTok livestream, reviewing music and adding it to a playlist, and now I have 10 other contributors that I’ve met through the community.
The reason I created this type of community is because I’ve seen a lot of platforms that are curated by one to two people or a team of people, and I just feel like such great music becomes overlooked due to reasons outside of the music itself. I wanted to give artists an opportunity to have music listeners give them feedback because they’re the ones consuming it, as opposed to a music industry professional who isn’t consuming that music. I think it’s important to really listen to the people who are supporting the movement and supporting artists in general, and give artists an opportunity to be heard.
Q: Share some highlights and accomplishments you are proud of.
I had a great year in sync [getting one’s music on film, television and other media], which has been really eye-opening. I went from not being able to have my music placed on certain blogs or editorials to supervisors taking it up for a lot of sync opportunities this year, so that’s been very exciting. I’ve had my music on [HBO’s] “Naomi,” “[Keeping Up With] The Kardashians” and the “Vengeance” movie, and there’s more to come.
Q: What are some future plans you are excited about?
In October, I’ll be dropping my full-length album. [I’m] definitely getting ready to release the album and continuing to grow Underrated Artist Season. We’re going to create a record label out of Underrated Artist Season, so those are some really big things I’m looking forward to.
Q: What advice would you give to other women based on your experiences?
It’s really important to know who you are and know what your values are. As you push forward in your career, take every loss as an opportunity to grow or push yourself harder. I’ve realized that now, being where I’m at, I’m very grateful for the people who told me no because it really pushed me in a direction that I was able to figure it out myself and cultivate those genuine relationships. Those moments are the most gratifying — the moments you learn the most from.