Born in Reading, Pennsylvania and calling Philadelphia his home, singer-songwriter Ryan Cohen is returning to the stage this year with his arsenal of masterful songwriting and lyrical storytelling. Compared to the likes of Damien Rice, Sufjan Stevens and Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Ryan's music encapsulates a feeling of glowing warmth with hush vocals above soundscapes of hauntingly beautiful... more
Born in Reading, Pennsylvania and calling Philadelphia his home, singer-songwriter Ryan Cohen is returning to the stage this year with his arsenal of masterful songwriting and lyrical storytelling. Compared to the likes of Damien Rice, Sufjan Stevens and Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Ryan's music encapsulates a feeling of glowing warmth with hush vocals above soundscapes of hauntingly beautiful melodies and poetic imagery.
At night he trades his guitar for a pair of scrubs and a stethoscope on nightshift at a Philadelphia hospital. He says "writing music is a lot like medicine, it's a way to find comfort when you need it the most".
Ryan's live performances showcase his ability to craft songs with unforgettable melodies and lyrics that read like poetry and intertwine them with his natural ability to connect with his audience on a personal level.
Michael Hahn of Unsung Audio writes that Ryan's music is "Cinematic in scale. An escape from the real world that brings you a greater appreciation of the present moment. He is true natural songwriter".
Interview with Annie Layne on an East Coast boring snow day.
[AL] • you play so many different roles, what suits you the most?
[RC] • I have almost been so many things. As a kid, I played ice-hockey and was almost great at that but I stopped in college. I was picked by an Academy Award actress and director when I was 14 to star in a major Disney movie. For a while that seemed like it could be great. I was pretty good at history in college and almost became a lawyer. I'm glad I didn't. Out of all of those things, my favorite has always been writing and performing music as my hobby. I now have the greatest real life job in the world, i've spent the past decade learning how to take care of people who are sick and will be a primary care NP in another year.
[AL] • who are your inspirations?
[RC] • As I got older i've been inspired and learned from artists such as jeff tweedy, damien rice and tom mcrae, all of which I've extensively studied and they were sort of my textbook for learning how to write honest songs. I also have friends and local artists who I greatly admire such as gregory alan isakov, anthony da costa, john elliott and johann wagner. Those guys are out there doing it right, the best I can do is sit back and learn from them. I'm also inspired by people who find happiness in doing things altruistically, who help others that can't really offer them anything in return.
[AL] • what do you do on your free time for fun?
[RC] • i've always loved to travel. there's a stretch of road that goes right past the airport where I live and my favorite part of the day is driving past it and seeing the planes take off and wonder where they may be going. I also love to cook and go out to dinner as much as I can. I just wrote a book of poems, I really love that.
[AL] • I love your instrumental albums just as much as your singer-songwriter material. how did you decide you wanted to create that type of album?
[RC] • my first love has always been to write and perform my singer-songwriter songs, but i have a very impulsive mind and one halloween while eating a huge bowl of candy and not being able to sleep, I decided to sit at the piano and write out and compose these melodies that were stuck in my head. three days later those songs became the foundation of the 'under the lilac sky' album. i will always be proud of that album. to this day i still receive emails from people in Asia who have downloaded the album for free (Asians apparently love instrumental music, I love that). They'll email to say hi or tell me what they feel when they listen to that album or ask me to visit their country. The emails are always in broken english and that is the best part. I joke that I am possibly the David Hasselhoff of Japan.