When it comes to Calvin Ryan, there’s a lot more than what meets the eye. Raised in NYC by Burmese and Ecuadorian parents that surrounded him with music. Becoming bilingual at a young age, he began to apply both languages to his music. He started putting out music on streaming services about a year ago with his track Mistakes, but he was hungry for more. Calvin began interning and engineering at several recording studios throughout the city. While he would work, he would take what he learned at the sessions and apply it to his music when he got back home. When it comes to songwriting Calvin has always been unique. He switches between languages like channels on the television. Not to mention the fact that his music will touch emotional nodes in your body but also gives you confidence and builds you up. Although he is a new newcomer to the music industry, Calvin Ryan still continues to come through with the same energy as major artists like J Balvin and Bad Bunny. Artists like Calvin give me hope for the future of music because he is both continuously breaking boundaries, while continuing to put out high quality work, all the while staying true to himself. His new song Steez not only proves this but also shows that he is a force to be reckoned with. There is no doubt in my mind that we are going to hear a lot more from Calvin in the near future. Steez ft Lucí is now out on all platforms. Make sure you stream Steez and give a read to our interview to find out more about Calvin Ryan below.
Calvin, tell me a little bit about yourself first.
I mean, what is there to tell you that you don’t already know? My name is Calvin Ryan Tan, Ryan is my middle name. Born and raised in Bayside Queens, I eventually moved out to Long Island with my family and now I live in Manhattan.
What do you what are you doing these days when you’re not working on music?
My day job is actually an engineering job. I also a recording and mixing engineer. So I work at a couple of different studios in New York City. I’m always working on music, whether it’s mine or somebody else’s just always working on music.
Do you feel like being an engineer and working at these studios helps you when you go to work on your own music?
One hundred percent. That’s like how I started. First I was an artist, wanted to learn how to track and mix myself just because I didn’t have the money to pay for studio sessions. I downloaded logic, learned how to track myself. Then once I wanted to release more stuff I started taking the mixing seriously. I started learning how to mix, started at Penthouse Studios, shout out penthouse recording studios in Times Square, and that’s where I learned how to mix. I figured, you know, I might as well work on other artists and work on those songs and record and mix there and then kind of take what I learned from those sessions and then apply that to my own voice and my own songs.
When did you start making music? Have you always been a musical person?
Always been a musical person? Yes, I remember there’d be times where I’d be at my uncle’s house, who has a piano. When I was a little kid, I’d just go up and I just started playing random shit, asking my grandma if it was good. Obviously, she said yes, she was my grandma, but you know I’d like to think it was fire too. Next thing you know, like I always listened to music growing up, kind of started with pop and R&B just because my older siblings that’s all they really listen to. Then I moved on to EDM and and rap music, I started writing random bars and like lyrics that pop into my head.
How old were you?
I want to say, like 16, 17,
When did you start seriously dropping music on platforms?
So my first song was mistakes, and that was dropped a little more than a year ago now.
Tell me a little bit about your heritage.
So my mom is Ecuadorian and my dad is Burmese. They both moved here when they were 16. They came to the U.S. and they actually met in ESL classes. One thing led to the other Thankfully now I’m here, I speak Spanish fluently. I grew up with my hispanic grandparents in my house. My grandpa was always playing music 24/7 in the house, he actually plays the guitar and he sang. So I was just always around it.
When you’re working on your music, do you tend to sway towards one side of your heritage or the other?
It definitely depends on the beat obviously, it is more natural just to start off with with English and i’ll just catch a melody or just catch some some lyrics or ideas in English. But when someone just throws on the reggaeton, be like an island like dancehall type of beat, as soon as I hear that it automatically triggers the Hispanic side of me. Usually it starts with English and then sometimes it flows into Spanish naturally.
You’ve been dropping singles for a minute, and you’ve just dropped a brand new one titled Steez. What can you tell us about it?
So Steez is actually a kind of trap/reggaeton English/Spanish beat and song really. It’s also featuring my cousin, Luci, who’s from Ecuador. He’s actually 18. He’s insane. Great voice, great flow.Shout out Luci. He’s just awesome. Steez started at like four or five in the morning at penthouse one night, probably around like April or May. My buddy Chance Hubert he produced the beat. We sat down there were no sessions in the studio, so we decided to work on a song and work together. So while he was making the beat, I was just writing some lyrics and then next thing you know, I just hopped in the booth. Originally it was a hook and I got stuck. Once I got stuck and I couldn’t think of a melody in English, I kind of was like, Oh wait I speak Spanish too, and that’s where the Spanish came out. Next thing you know, a month later, my cousin Luci came down to New York and he was staying with me, and I got him to hop on that track as well as some others.
What does Steez mean to you? Normally I associate it with swag and style/being cool.
Yeah, definitely. So Steez definitely means the same thing to me. Swag just the drip, the sauce. You can hear it in the lyrics. But yeah, all about the steez. Speaker1:
You’ve been dropping singles pretty steadily for a while. Are you eventually working up to dropping a project?
Yeah. I have the rest of this year planned out and the beginning of next year. Definitely expect to see an EP or mixtape next year for sure.
When you’re writing a song, is there ever a time where you’re like, I want to do this line in English but it would sound so much better in Spanish or vice versa. Does that ever happen?
Oh yeah a hundred percent. I’m all about like catching a melody and then going with that melody, whether it’s like English or Spanish. There’s definitely been times when I’ve had the same melody, just two different bars, one is in English and one is in Spanish. Then it kind of just comes down to picking and choosing which one flows better and more naturally. There’s some songs where, like in one line there’ll be some words in English and other words in Spanish, so that one line has both languages, but it still fits. As long as it still fits and it still catches that melody and I can keep the listener engaged and having them rewind and listen back to it is what I’m going for.
I feel like you very sparingly drop music videos. Do you plan on dropping any music videos in the future?
Most definitely. I actually already have a music video for this one song I made. That was like last year I’ve yet to post that song. I don’t know why I haven’t posted it the song is done, the music video is done. You know, it’s just a matter of when it feels right. But there is another song that I have for November that I’m planning on getting some visuals for. Just make sure to keep your eyes out because I will be dropping visuals. I’m focusing on the music because music the main thing for me. Once I do get visuals I will be dropping those too.
Do you have any messages behind your music or something for the people.
Yeah, I mean something I keep trying to get through with the music is embracing your differences. I’m half Asian and half Hispanic, I’m singing in English and Spanish but when you look at me you don’t assume that I’m Hispanic. Everyone’s just like who’s that little Asian boy even at the studio. Kind of just embracing that difference and always breaking any sort of stereotype or any sort of assumptions that anyone is to make. You don’t know anything about someone until you actually get to meet them. Seeing the faces on people at the studio when I’m playing my music and they’re like, Oh this is far you made this beat? I’m like NO I didn’t touch this beat this is me on the vocals. They kind of take a step back. Having that whole shock value, makes me want to keep going and it makes me want to embrace and enforce other people doing their own thing and embrace their differences and show who they are.