( ENSPIRE Feature ) After Years of Success in the Music Industry, Ryan Lane Decides to Take his Career Into His Own Hands
ENSPIRE Contributor: Keegan Kerns
Ryan Lane started a career in music at a very young age as he joined the Harlem Boys Choir as a featured member. With this early opportunity, he could develop his own unique style early on, build upon his strengths and weaknesses as an artist, and finally even had the chance to perform with artists such as Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and the Backstreet Boys. Ryan Lane’s early connection and experience with such legendary musical figures continued to help Ryan Lane develop his musical style and helped enable him to become a solo artist.
In 2007 Ryan Lane joined the R&B group Project 718, where they signed their first deal with Capitol Records. However, Ryan used this experience to learn what was valuable to him, and so in 2012, he decided it was time to start his career as a solo artist. Since then, he hasn’t looked back, constantly working to exhibit the unique sound he has developed because of his immense experience in the industry. Even during the COVID pandemic, he released his single FOREVER while creating the music video for the song at the same time. Clearly, his work ethic is not a weak spot, and it shows in his frequent collaborations and efforts to create the best work possible.
ENSPIRE interviewed Ryan Lane about his history in the music industry and his journey to becoming a solo artist.
You started your musical career quite early as a featured member of the Harlem Boys Choir, which allowed you to share the stage with several stars such as Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder. How did working with such big figures affect your relationship towards music going forwards and your own taste in music?
I would definitely say, working with artists of such a high caliber at such an impressionable time showed me how to be a professional, seeing how they moved and interacted with both fans and business associates. As far as my tastes in music go, very early on, I realized these artists were all making the music that they wanted to, and it was obvious it made them happy. So I knew I wanted to be that same type of artist.
Similarly, you’ve worked with or collaborated with several other groups over time, such as Project 718 and even backgrounds and collaborations with artists like Shaggy and Sting. What was it like going from the Harlem Boys Choir in your teen years to productions like these where you had more autonomy?
I would say it felt like a seamless and natural progression because a lot of the things I learned during my time with the Harlem Boys Choir I was then able to bring to future projects I worked on, including that level of professionalism I always saw. Additionally, one of the main things we learned in the choir was discipline and discipline ourselves. Those really are lessons that stay with you.
In 2012 you became a solo artist and focused on your own career. Was there any special event that prompted this last shift towards a complete career as a solo artist?
Honestly, it was meeting my producer’s Lady And A Tramp. Their belief in my talent was immeasurable, and they really guided me to be the artist I am now. They saw in me what I saw in myself. In turn, they helped me to develop the skill set and the confidence I have now as a performer, songwriter, and all-around creative.
What has been the most difficult change for you as you’ve moved to focus on being a solo artist?
A lot of people may feel that when you are part of a group and have more opinions, it’s a little bit harder. I feel that being alone and making so many choices on your own is actually harder. Because we as creatives naturally deal with so many levels of doubt, we often need to bounce ideas off others to get to the right decision for ourselves. So while the idea that I’m a solo artist may be true, I am also a part of a team. My Illtown Sluggaz family has a firm team mentality, and that is a big part of building and achieving anything as an artist, solo or otherwise. So shout out to Kaygee & Vin Rock of Naughty By Nature/Illtown Sluggaz.
Not only did you release your single FOREVER during the Covid Pandemic, but you also recorded the music video for it. How have you stayed productive in this tumultuous time?
I stayed productive by releasing the feeling that some things aren’t in “reach because of circumstances.” I realized that so much could still be done. I made sure in every way possible that I stayed in a creative space. Whether it was cooking, drawing, painting, picking up new hobbies. Even something as simple as bike riding, I was on a ride a little earlier and randomly thought, “I really like riding bikes. Who knew this would be something I’d discover I loved doing.”
As we take steps to move out of the pandemic and hopefully back into a more normal environment, what are some of your future goals as a solo artist?
As an artist and creative, I’d love to continue finding ways to build my audience genuinely. I really enjoy giving back to my community through mentorship and finding ways to share my gifts and connect with people who connect with my music, mood, and underlying feeling of the music I am sharing with the world.
Though Ryan continues to collaborate with legendary artists such as Shaggy and Sting, his decision to go out as a solo artist and succeed in doing so shows the value of trusting in your own talents and visions. As he continues to work with highly successful and reputable producers such as Lady And A Tramp and KayGee Of Naughty By Nature, the only direction for Ryan Lane’s career is up.
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