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Singer Ryan Calhoun Compared to Zac Brown Band, Ed Sheeran - "An insightful singer-songwriter with a seemingly unlimited supply of irresistible melodies. His sincere songs are peppered with personality, as Calhoun's lust for life and incredible sense
(Published: June 26, 2015)

"An insightful singer-songwriter with a seemingly unlimited supply of irresistible melodies. His sincere songs are peppered with personality, as Calhoun's lust for life and incredible sense of humor rise from between the lines"

Singer Ryan Calhoun Compared to Zac Brown Band, Ed Sheeran

CD Release Concert Confirmed for Hotel Café in LA, July 10th

Singer-songwriter Ryan Calhoun has earned early raves for his new EP ‘Paper Stars', out this week. In a syndicated feature interview, AXS described him as "an insightful singer-songwriter with a seemingly unlimited supply of irresistible melodies." Other reviewers have called his vocals "hard to resist," as they compare his sound to Zac Brown Band and Ed Sheeran. With the new EP featured on iTunes' Home Page and an LA concert set for July 10th, Calhoun is off to a promising launch, and has much to say about the new release in interviews below.

By Laurie Fanelli 6/8/15

Ryan Calhoun is an insightful singer-songwriter with a seemingly unlimited supply of irresistible melodies. His sincere songs are peppered with personality, as Calhoun's lust for life and incredible sense of humor rise from between the lines.
On his new song, "If I Don't", the exclusive premiere of which can be seen here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhXFZ_BtUrc , Calhoun bares his soul and puts his heart out on the line, his vocals sincere and contemplative. The three-minute song captures listener's ears with its memorable chorus about taking the significant step towards true love.
AXS got a chance to ask Calhoun a few questions about the background of "If I Don't" and the songwriting process of his fourth studio album, Paper Stars, which is being released on June 23.
AXS: Thanks for taking the time to talk about Paper Stars, which is coming out later this month. The songs are intense and emotional. They have a universal appeal that is tough to fit into a particular genre. How would you describe your sound?
Ryan Calhoun: Thank you, for having me! I guess I would describe my sound as unapologetic pop/rock. I wasn't going for a specific sound on this album necessarily; I just wanted to write the best songs possible. I love the Zac Brown Band for that reason - yes, he gets thrown into "country" - but if you listen to his music it's all over the place. I have so many influences, and I guess I tend to draw from all of them. And if my music can be genre-bending and have a universal appeal as you said, then great!
AXS: What was the inspiration behind "If I Don't?"
Calhoun: Well, "they," say write what you know and this song couldn't be more personal for me. I was at a crossroads in my relationship, she knew what she wanted and I - like a lot of guys - was scared to move forward. After a lot of back and forth my girlfriend at the time gracefully walked away from our relationship. She knew what she deserved, and I wasn't giving it to her. I can literally remember having lunch with her on a rainy day in December and driving away thinking "that's it, she's gone." Later that night over several beers with a friend, I realized I was going to lose the love of my life. The next morning I showed up at her doorstep with a poker set and a letter saying, "I'm all in." And now she's my wife, thank God she was patient with me.
AXS: I understand that you wrote most of this EP in Nashville. How did that setting influence your new songs?
Calhoun: Actually, most of my EP was written in LA, but most of my friends I co-wrote with are all from Nashville. So in a sense I suppose it was written in Nashville. I've spent some time out there over the last year, and I think it has really helped shape me as a songwriter. I've learned to approach songs in a different way, where the lyrics are truly telling a story and an experience. People have said this album has a bit of country flair to it. I wasn't trying to write a country album per se, but I think spending time with Nashville writers definitely influenced the songs that went on the EP.
AXS: "Coffee" is a really fun track with a bouncy piano accompaniment throughout. How do you decide which songs are better suited for guitar and which ones come to life through the piano?
Calhoun: I'm always a big believer in a song finds its own way. Meaning, don't try to force stuff, let a song breathe and come into its own organically. I actually wrote the song on guitar, but my producer Bill Lefler is a big fan of taking out whatever instrument a song was written on out of the production. Bill and I have worked together several times, and we have built a lot of trust. I'll be honest, he started playing piano on "Coffee" and I wasn't sure about it. But like I said before, if you let a song find its own way, it usually turns out right. In this case, I definitely think it did.
AXS: I also love the zombie-filled video for "Coffee." Are you trying to say that love conquers all, even if one person is a bloodthirsty zombie?
Calhoun: Ha! I do think love conquers all, even during an apocalypse. I also wanted to make a video that had nothing to do with the song itself. I want the viewer to be like, "what in the world?" And what better way to do that then to throw some zombies in there.
AXS: Are you touring in support of Paper Stars? Where can fans see you live?
Calhoun: I am planning to tour this fall and am setting up dates. Those will be coming soon! I'm also playing my album release show at Hotel Café in Los Angeles on July 10th. Fans can go to the website to get pre-sale tickets.
AXS: Paper Stars will be out later this month, will you get a chance to take some time off or is it right back to the studio?
Calhoun: I kind of have a motto for life, "Grind daily, celebrate sparingly." I've definitely enjoyed finishing this EP, but I'm still writing, still working, still grinding it out. So to answer your question, it's back to the studio.

RJ FROMETA on 21 June, 2015

Hi Ryan, welcome to VENTS! How have you been? Thanks for having me! I've been well, it's been a busy year from the get go. I started recording the new album back in February and really haven't stopped since. I've busy trying to get ready for the release of the new EP on 6/23.
Can you tell us more about the backstory behind your single ¨Coffee¨?Over the last year or so I've spent some time writing in Nashville. One afternoon, between writing sessions, I had some time to kill so I made my way to a local coffee shop. While sitting there I began to people watch, as I often do. I contemplated what their stories were & why they were there. I began to jot down some lyrics around this idea of guy who comes to the same coffee shop every day just to see a girl that he hasn't had the balls to talk to yet (can I say that?). Thus "Coffee" was born, literally in a coffee shop.
How was the filming experience? Filming was a blast, a lot of work but a blast. Unless you've shot a music video yourself or been a part of one I don't think people realize how much goes into it. There was a ton of planning that went into making this video, from dance chorography to making zombie clothes. The actual video was shot in one 12 hour day, which began at 6am. My job was easy, I just had to show up and sing...the zombies on the other hand had to be in make-up half the day and then pretend to be zombies; one guy sprained his ankle from dragging he's feet in the dirt all day. The director, Gavin Fisher and I have worked together before, he's so easy to work with and I knew he would do an amazing job. Gavin is a great director and has worked on some incredible music videos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPblbN1dxAg
Who come up with the concept for the video and what intrigued you the most about it? Well, my wife and I were kicking around ideas about what we could do for the video. I knew I didn't want it to be set in a coffee shop, too predictable for my taste. We were spit balling ideas involving what's relevant in pop culture today. For some reason The Walking Dead came to mind and then I thought; what if zombies were chasing me but then we danced together on the choruses. A post-apocalyptic world with zombies who dance, everything is right about that! In my mind I would probably like to take the credit for it, but my wife was the mastermind behind it all.
How would you say the video relates to the song´s theme? It doesn't at all, ha! I didn't want the video to be so "on the nose", I think it's easy to do that with songs that tell a linear story. I wanted this one to be different. I knew "Coffee" was going to be a polarizing song; people will either love it or hate it. I wanted to make a video just as polarizing. I love the dichotomy of an upbeat poppy song set in a post-apocalyptic world with a guy dressed to the nines carrying a shotgun while being chased by zombies. It's entertaining to say the least, and for those that don't think so, let the haters are hate.
The single comes off your new EP Paper Stars - what´s the story behind the title? Paper Stars is the title track off the EP. The song is really about being rich in a relationship even when you don't have much material wealth or possessions. That's the whole point of the song. I talk about "cardboard and glue is the best I can do, but it's all for you." I love the imagery of paper stars, I found it very fitting to call the album that. This album is very personal for me; all the songs are drawn from my own experience. Hopefully the listener can connect with these songs on a personal level.
How was the recording and writing process? I teamed up with long time friend and producer Bill Lefler to make this album. Bill and I have worked together many times so we've built a mutual trust and respect for each other's creative vision. I like working with Lefler because he gets me out of my comfort zone. A perfect example is the song "Coffee." I wrote that song on guitar and then Lefler starting messing around with a bouncy piano part and I wasn't sure I liked at first. I actually fought him on it. But like I said, I trust him and I ended up loving that part. As far as the writing process, several of my co-writers on this EP are from Nashville, which I believe helped shape the direction of these songs. For this EP I wanted each song to focus on telling a story and going through a real experience.
Where did find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics? We'll "they" say write what you know. These songs all draw from personal experiences. Songs like "If I don't" is about the day I almost lost the love of my life. Luckily she was patient with me and is now my wife. But that day is still so visceral in my gut it wasn't hard to find inspiration. "Time and December" was written on Dec. 29th and is a reflection on life's failures and successes and the hope the New Year brings. Sometimes life leads you down paths that are much different than what you had planned out in your head.
Many people have compared your music to Zac Brown Band and Rob Thomas - what role would you say their sound plays in this EP? First of all, it's very flattering being compared to both of those artists. Both Zac Brown Band and Rob Thomas have such great songs. I've always believed that a great song will find it's way to the top. I love how Zac Brown and Thomas continue to evolve with their sound, while staying true to who they are as artists. So, I guess their role for me has been inspiration. Always write from the soul, then do what's best for the song and leave your ego at the door.
Any plans to hit the road this year?
Yes! I'm in the midst of planning a fall tour that will go into next year. You can stay updated through my website and hopefully I will see you on the road!
What else is happening next in Ryan Calhoun´s world?
I'll be having my album release show July 10th at Hotel Café in Los Angeles. Pre-order tickets here:
Also, I'm continuing to write and will probably be making my way out to Nashville soon.

The Record-Journal - (Meriden, CT) - Cd Review, By Jim Pasinski  6/2015

Next from Los Angeles comes the latest release from singer/songwriter Ryan Calhoun entitled "Paper Stars." This latest batch of songs will look to recapture the breakthrough success that Calhoun found with his iTunes #1 single "Who We Are" and #3 charting iTunes album "Everything That I'm Not." The new release begins with the album's first single "Coffee," which follows the same pop formula as Ed Sheeran, which makes Ryan's vocals hard to resist. He keeps the pop tempo flowing with "Paper Stars," before showcasing his folk side with "Time And December." To find out more about Ryan Calhoun and his latest release "Paper Stars," please visit ryancalhounmusic.com .

Calhoun makes a decidedly memorable introduction to his new EP "Paper Stars" via the witty new video for ‘Coffee'. Sporting a preppy outfit and, yes, a shotgun, Calhoun strolls with zombies as he sings his cheerful, uptempo, relationship track. By the time the unexpected ‘Thriller' dance and the twist at the end of the video arrive, it's clear we've got a smart and irreverent new artist on our hands. Huffington Post premiered the video:

HUFFINGTON POST - Exclusive Video Premiere By Mike Ragogna, 5/19/15
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ragogna/the-purple-album-chatting_b_7310420.html    (click & scroll down to see ‘Coffee')

HuffPost included these comments from Calhoun, who acknowledges that the video was conceived to turn heads. He also addresses his place on the musical spectrum:
"I knew 'Coffee' was going to be a polarizing song, people are either going to love it or hate it. So I wanted to have a video equally polarizing. I didn't want the video to be 'on the nose,' for example a guy in a coffee shop trying to talk to a good-looking girl etc etc. As a kid I was obsessed with Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' video -- who wasn't. And with the popularity of Zombies, I thought we could do something along those lines. I worked with director Gavin Fisher (Lady Antebellum, Eli Young Band, Darius Rucker, The Avett Brothers) and we shot the video in a day at a ranch about an hour outside of LA. I liked the dichotomy of a cheerful song about coffee being set in a post-apocalyptic zombie world! I want the viewer to be like, 'Wait! What? This is hilarious!!' Also, as for me, I have become a huge fan of The Zac Brown Band. He gets thrown into the 'country' world, but he's so much more than that. He kind of does what ever he wants, sometimes his songs are country, other times more folk or rock. He's a badass and he makes no apologies for it, it's very inspiring. I do feel like my new album is parallel to Zac Brown's style of music; he has definitely taught me that a good song is a good song. Write what you write and do what you love!"
Youtube link to ‘Coffee' is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPblbN1dxAg

From the anthemic ‘Time & December' to the wrenching pre-proposal indecision of ‘If I Don't' (a highlight of the EP and reminiscent of the emotional core of Shania Twain's ‘You're Still The One',) Calhoun mines personal moments to create resonant songs. Add to that the haunting ‘Stranger,' the radio-friendly title track and of course the aforementioned ‘Coffee', and Calhoun's "Paper Stars" EP succeeds with a confident diversity that evokes Zac Brown Band's ‘is it country - is it rock?' genre-bending songwriting, Rob Thomas-esque vocals and melodies that evoke Ed Sheeran. Review copies/link are available upon request.

Calhoun's EP was released digitally on June 23rd, with brick-and-mortar distribution set for July 14th. A July 10th CD release concert at Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles has been confirmed as well. Pre-order tickets here:

Making the Album - Notes by Ryan Calhoun:
In the last 12 months I've spent some time in Nashville doing writing sessions, which has really helped me both as an artist and as a writer. Spending time in Nashville writing country songs has really cultivated and expanded my storytelling capabilities. The song Coffee was literally inspired while sitting in a coffee shop in Nashville. My intention was not to make a country record, but rather to tell stories and create imagery with each song; I want my listeners to go through an experience! This album is very personal to me -- tracks like Time and December and If I Don't both stem from the very core of me. I hope that people will have their own personal connections with each of these songs!

More about Ryan Calhoun:
Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Ryan Calhoun celebrates the release of his 4th studio album, ‘Paper Stars'. Calhoun has already cultivated a strong fan base with his impressive array of television and film placements. With five songs reaching top 10 placement on the iTunes singer-songwriter chart, including his breakout single "Who We are" at #1, the album "Everything That I'm Not" at #3, and 46,000 records sold. This is a testament to the simple power of a meaningful song and a dynamic voice.  Calhoun has collaborated with writers such as Simon Wilcox (Nick Jonas), Raine Maida (Our Lady Peace, Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson), Drew Lawerence (Christina Perri), and Sam Barbera (Songs Pub). He has also worked with esteemed producers, Bill Lefler (Plain White T's; Gym Class Heroes; Tyrone Wells) and Mike Green (Beyoncé; Paramore; Boys Like Girls).

More tour dates will be announced soon.

Visit: www.ryancalhounmusic.com
Visit: https://www.facebook.com/ryancalhounmusic

More Information: https://www.facebook.com/ryancalhounmusic

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