Mike Ryan. Photo: Molly Hannula
Jessica Nicholson • September 16, 2016
Mike Ryan has unleashed multiple hits at Texas radio and now the Sea Gayle songwriter hopes to keep his upward momentum going with his new project.
Signed to the Nashville publishing company since 2013, Ryan has collaborated with Sea Gayle’s Brent Anderson, along with Ben Phillips. Bad Reputation was recorded at several studios in Nashville, including Sea Gayle co-founder Brad Paisley’s home studio, and was released in 2014. He’s currently writing material for a new album.
“I consider myself a very fortunate person to have the ability to write with these guys. It’s been a great three years so far that I’ve been with Sea Gayle,” he says. “I feel like they are some of the best writers around.”
The deal with Sea Gayle came as a welcome surprise for Ryan. Sea Gayle co-founder Chris DuBois first heard Ryan’s name through former Billy Bob’s Entertainment Director Robert Gallagher while taking in a show from Jerrod Niemann and Wade Bowen. “He asked Robert if there was anyone around town that he needed to hear about and Robert gave him a copy of my record,” Ryan said.
The record made its way into DuBois’ CD player and he invited Ryan to visit Nashville. “I thought it was going to be just a handshake, ‘nice to meet ya,’ type of thing. But he offered us a publishing deal that day.”
Since then, the Fort Worth resident has traveled to Nashville nearly every month to write songs.
During a visit with MusicRow, Ryan previewed a batch of new songs he has written for his yet-untitled fourth album, including “The Devil’s Got His Jacket On” (a co-write with Anderson and Brandy Clark), “The Rewrite,” “Ghost Town,” and “New Hometown,” a song about small-town love gone wrong that is slated as the project’s first single.
“When it doesn’t work out, it’s never a great thing,” says Ryan, “but being from a small town, it’s that much more difficult because you can’t go hang out at the same places. You have to find new ones, but the thing is, there are not new ones in a small hometown. You have to find a new hometown all together.”
Anderson returns to produce and collaborate on the album, which is slated for a 2017 release. Ryan and his team are currently pursuing a major label deal.
Mike Ryan with MusicRow staff. Photo: Molly Hannula