by Dan Reifsnyder, GSC Reporter
Dan Reifsnyder: So tell me about yourself. Do you consider yourself an artist, a songwriter…?
Ryan Hydro: Songwriter! Non performing songwriter.
DR: How did you get started with songwriting?
RH: Well, back in 2003 I was in a relationship and it didn’t work out so well. I just started writing down different emotions and feelings…I wasn’t sure what it was. I ended up reading some books like Songwriters on Songwriting and people like Bon Jovi and Tom Petty they had the same sort of thing – they wrote stuff down and couldn’t sleep at night. I thought “Hey, this might be a songwriting type of thing. And back in the day I joined NSAI and did their song camps, and I got bit by the songwriting bug.”
DR: Very cool. Are you predominantly lyrics or music?
RH: Predominantly lyrics. When I was growing up I took guitar and drum lessons but never really stuck with it. Unfortunately, the drum teacher I had back then just quit teaching. I always loved music but didn’t really play any instruments. Then when I went through that breakup it sort of sparked something. As a kid I had this ability to put funny lyrics to a song on the radio…almost Adam Sandler-esque. I never really knew what it was, but looking back maybe that was the start of songwriting?
DR: Who are your biggest songwriting influences?
RH: For me growing up in the 80’s, it was Aerosmith and Bon Jovi. Garth Brooks in the early to mid 90’s was huge. Alabama too. From a songwriting perspective probably Craig Wiseman and Desmond Child. He wrote hundreds of hits any kid in the 80’s grew up with.
DR: Speaking of songs…what are some songs you wish you’d written?
RH: “It’s A Great Day To Be Alive” that Travis Tritt sings. “How Do You Like Me Now” by Toby Keith. “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw. “Love In The First Degree” by Alabama. And I guess “Ain’t Nothin’ About You” by Brooks and Dunn. Those are my top few. And one of the most evergreen songs of all time, Lonestar’s “Amazed”. I’d love to have written that one. That’s the pinnacle of songwriting.
DR: Dude, that’s a great one. Funny story, the first week that I moved here I walked into the NSAI offices and one of the guys who wrote “Amazed” played it for everyone in the lobby. It was a very Nashville moment.
DR: So you’re going to be opening up the Pennsylvania chapter of GSC. How did that come about?
RH: So the very first trip I made to Nashville, I met Sheree. I’ve known her from almost day one from my 16 years of songwriting. And when she opened up GSC I was one of the first few members that joined and I participated in the first FOCUS event that she had. We’ve been good friends ever since. She reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in helping her out and I said yes. Her and Lou have been very supportive of my songwriting career.
DR: They’re great people! What would your dream cut be?
RH: It’s hard to say one person, but I would say either Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, or Alan Jackson. Those would be my top 3. Current, new artist I’d love to get a cut with would be Luke Combs. I like a lot of Pop stuff too. Somebody like Pink or Kelly Clarkson would be cool too.
DR: Now you’re from PA originally?
RH: Yeah, I was raised in a small town in Northeastern PA called Jim Thorpe. Named after the athlete. About half hour north of Allentown. It’s very much a coal region and old railroad town.
DR: That sounds familiar…I’m from the Philly area originally. Do you have any projects you’re working on?
RH: I have an artist that cut a few of my songs named Chase Tyler. and he’s doing pretty well. He’s getting inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame…he’s got a big following in that area. To get into that is a pretty big deal…Tim McGraw got in there in 2012. He’s opening up for current Idol winner Lane Hardy, too. I’m hoping that’s a sign of big things to come. He just released a song of mine as a single, which is pretty cool. I’ve been doing a lot of pro writes too.
DR: Excellent! So I guess you mostly Skype write?
RH: I mostly Skype. I lived in Atlanta with my wife for about 6 years. I was going to Nashville once or twice a month when we lived there in Atlanta. I made a lot of headway during that time, but we moved back to PA because my wife – she’s the youngest of 5 – missed her sisters. Now, I make about 3 to 4 trips to Nashville a year and write in person then too.
DR: Do you have any goals for the rest of this year, or the beginning of next?
RH: My goal is just to write the best songs I can possibly write, and to network. I’m hoping in 2020 to be able to write with some more artists. My long term goal is to find a publisher who’d be willing to work with me as more of a co-pub deal. I’m always looking for new people to write with too.
DR: Great! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us!