Tuning out the outside noise and focusing solely on what you can control are lessons that Ryan Connolly has carried with him form his days playing hockey into his musical career. The importance of this lesson is often lost on younger artists hoping to please others instead of crafting art that is true and authentic. Connolly’s debut single, “Riding This Town” shows off Connolly’s authenticity as a country-rocker willing to take risks and veer from mainstream orthodoxy.
Recently, we had the chance to chat with Connolly about his musical journey, “Riding This Town”, and more!
Worlds Of Country: When did you know that music was something you wanted to pursue?
Ryan: I guess I always kind of knew in the back of my mind, but realistically, I guess after I retired from hockey, I needed something to do with my time. So music was that.
Worlds Of Country: Did you always sort of have an idea that after hockey, you wanted to do music Or did that hit you after?
Ryan: I think it hit me after just as something to fill the void of time where I needed to focus on something, so I just use music.
Worlds Of Country: So how would you describe your your style as an artist?
Ryan: I think I’m more out of the box than in the sense that I like stuff from like Eric Church and some older stuff from the 90s that maybe doesn’t really fit into the country world right now. But I would say definitely Country- Rock more on the rock side.
Worlds Of Country: Would you say that there’s any lessons that you’ve taken with you from your hockey days that apply to to the music world? Are they totally separate worlds?
Ryan: Yeah, I think both worlds are very similar in the sense that you’re constantly being judged, you’re constantly being ridiculed, you’re constantly being put under a microscope for things, and it’s just being able to be you and to go out there and perform the way you know you can. And really, at the end of the day, you’re the only one that has control of that in hockey or in music. You kind of control your destiny and it’s controlling your emotions and controlling the things that are around you.
Worlds Of Country: Your debut single, “Riding This Town”, but it tells the story behind that song and how that song came together.
Ryan: “Riding This Town” is actually called Jason Aldean, I named it Jason Aldean, because it’s literally about him. It’s basically just a play on words on all of his song titles over the years. So what I did was I took a whole bunch of Aldean songs from his first album to his last album and created a small story. It”s about a guy, a car and that guy’s love for freedom and just being able to break away from everything and not really having any thing restricting him. He’s just riding.
Worlds Of Country: So what’s next for you after “Riding’ This Town”?
Ryan: We picked this song to come out with where we have some more maybe radio friendly songs that we could have went with that probably would have been graced by the country world more in a sense. But I wanted I wanted to come out and be me. The first time I did this, I was with a band called The Mud-Slinging And I just didn’t feel like the project was mine. And I want this project to feel like me from that. I want it to be organic in the sense that from the very beginning to the very end, I’ve made all those decisions to impact my art and “Riding This Town” was the perfect way to come out. I think.
Worlds Of Country: How do you feel that you grew confident enough to sort of tune out those outside voices and say, we’re going to do this my way this time around?
Ryan: I think it just comes from a little bit more experience. I think before I cared a lot more what people thought, if they thought the song was strong or they thought this was strong, they wanted to change this, they wanted the vocal to be more country or less country. . I’m here to please myself. I’m thirty four years old. I want to make music that people enjoy. And I just feel like, music is an expression of yourself. And if you can’t express yourself, in truth, you’re not doing a good job.