The Life of Ryan
Ryan was busking on the streets of Dublin just two years ago
By David Hennessy
It was just two years ago that Ryan Sheridan was busking on the streets of Dublin. When manager Brian Whitehead happened to walk past and hear his talent, it put Ryan on the road to stardom. Since then he has played Croke Park, The Aviva Stadium and performed for the Irish visit of US President Barack Obama. One of the biggest names in Irish music, he is now looking to replicate this success further afield.
Can Ryan believe how quickly it has all happened for him? “Not really, to be honest. It’s been a whirlwind. Every week, we’ve been doing something else. It’s been absolutely fantastic, there’s been no pause in it at all. It’s hard to take it all in but it’s been really, really good.
“The biggest moment would have to be Obama. That was a ‘pinch me’ moment because it was so quick. I was in this room full of all the stars under the sun: Daniel Day Lewis, Brendan Gleeson, Stephen Rea. That was a moment where I had to go: ‘What the hell is going on here?’ And then walking out in front of 80,000 people and the world press: ‘How did I get here from busking on the street?’”
Ryan played the fiddle from an early age and then toured with Riverdance as a dancer but always knew he wanted to be a songwriter: “I’ve done a lot of things. When I started songwriting, that’s when it hit home with me: This is what I want to do, This is where I want to go.”
Ryan’s time with Riverdance took him to Broadway and New York had a profound inspiration on his creativity: “It’s really what got me song writing. I was there for three or four years and because it’s such a melting pot, like London I suppose, of different races and cultures. Only 18 at the time, I was still growing and the best way I could really express what I was seeing and doing was song writing so it had a huge impact on my life.”
Having just signed an international record deal with Universal Music Germany, Ryan will be soon sharing his sound with foreign audiences: “We’re off to Germany in January to start a bit of touring with Rea Garvey. That will be the telltale to see if people grab on to what I do. I’m really looking forward to it, getting out there and playing to new audiences and trying to win them over. That’s what I like doing the most. I’m hoping the Germans like it. We’ll see.”
Ryan played London’s Hard Rock Calling in the summer and was so blown away by the response, he can’t wait to return to play Monto Water Rats again on November 29: “The London crowd was amazing actually. We were in a massive tent. I expected about a hundred people there but the tent was packed before we started. We got a really big response and were over the moon. We had had no radio play or anything in the UK so to have that crowd there was fantastic. I can’t wait to get back over and play again. It’s the place to be, isn’t it?”
For the full interview see this week’s Irish World (November 17)