Country singer-songwriter Mike Ryan grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and listened to a variety of music growing up. His parents had season tickets to the Majestic Theatre in the city where he would watch musicals and symphonies. His grandfather was also a band director. “Music was pretty involved all throughout my life,” he tells us. As he got older, he listened to blues, classic rock, and of course, fell in love with ‘90s country. He also discovered more of the Texas music scene in college.
At the same time, songwriting became prevalent for Ryan in their college years as well. After he graduated, he knew he wanted to give music a go above anything else. “Before I took any other job I wanted to give the music business job a shot,” he says. In 2013 he scored a publishing deal with Sea Gayle Music in Nashville. “A couple years into that deal, I got a session with Chris Dubois and Brent Anderson and Smith Ahunquist and we started on this idea, there’s a first time for anything and a last time for a lot of things too,” he explains. “It’s an interesting topic we decided we wanted to write about and got a pretty good song going.”
After they began the song, two of the co-writers had a session with country star Brad Paisley the very next day and he loved it. As soon as the song was done, Paisley recorded it. “Last Time for Everything” landed as the second track on Paisley’s 2017 album Love and War. “All of this happened within a matter of days,” Ryan exclaims as if he’s still dumbfounded by the experience. “I didn’t even realize the song was done. I was like, ‘Woah, that’s awesome.’ I’m super proud of that song.”
To add to his list of accolades, Ryan has accumulated over 105 million streams and has had five of his songs go number one on the Texas radio charts. “It’s really cool to have other people, radio stations, and fans, in general, let me know that they’re digging what I’m doing,” he tells us. “There’s a lot of talent that comes out of Texas. To make it to the top of a chart having such good competition around is inspiring to me. But I don’t put too much stock in it. I’m just trying to make music for as long as I can for as many people as I can.” Ryan’s first number one came with his 2014 single “Dancing All Around It” which was voted the 2014 Single of the Year by Texas Music Pickers.
In the spring of 2021, Ryan released a track titled, “Can Down.” The track is bordering three million streams on Spotify alone. His newest song “Jacket On” was just released on October 8th. He wrote it with famed singer and songstress Brandy Clark; it was their first time writing together. “It was a super cool experience for me. I’ve been a fan of hers for years and she’s another Sea Gayle artist. It was great,” he tells us.
The writing session with Ryan and Clark happened by accident. Ryan was meant to be writing with someone else but there was a last-minute cancelation. He got to sit on the current writing session Clark was in and they came upon the idea for the song together. “The coolest part for me was just experiencing in real life what I had known Brandy to be,” he says with a sense of admiration. “There’s been several songs where another artist cut it, but I could tell, without even looking at the credits, that sounds like a Brandy Clark song. I was pumped to be a part of a song that has her handprints all over it. It’s such a cool idea and it came out really great.”
“Jacket On” opens with fun steel guitars that emanate a mysterious, eerie feeling. In the chorus, he sings “She ain’t the kind of girl who’d tell a lie / And she meant good when she told me goodbye / She said hell would freeze over ‘fore she ever came home / I guess the devil’s got his jacket on.” As the song progresses, it builds and builds to become a boot-stomping,’ good time.
After the year of 2020 and spending the year with his kids that are now two and four, he’s back on the road. He recently opened a few shows for Miranda Lambert and will open for his good friend Riley Green in January 2022. “I’m certainly happy to be back at it. Most of the time we get out there, it seems there’s a newly inspired energy from folks,” he says. “It’s almost like they’re making up for lost time. There’s a new excitement about it for us but also for the audiences.”
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