Sure, the platinum-selling singer and songwriter is the architect behind ubiquitous smashes such as “On the Way Down”, “True”, and “Shine On” as well as albums including 2004’s Take It All Away, which hit #8 on the Billboard Top 200, You Stand Watching , and The Moon Underwater . However, you’ll get to know Ryan like never before on his forthcoming 2014 EP and fifth full-length album. Stardom aside, it’s never ever been about image, media, or pomp and circumstance for Cabrera. It’s always come down to one thing: the music. It’s where everything starts…
In 2009, he began writing songs for what would eventually become record number five. However, the inspiration didn’t quite click right off the bat. So, he continued cataloging his thoughts and emotions over the next few years. He immersed himself in other artistic pursuits such as painting—actually decking out his home with all original work enjoying his own personal renaissance.
He also spent meaningful time at hospitals around the country, brightening up the day for countless sick children and young adults. Inspired from this, Cabrera also took the opportunity to launch a live music series entitled Live From Ryan’s Living Room, which airs bi-monthly. Utilizing stageit.com, he broadcasts live performances from his living room and all proceeds for “online tickets” benefit different charities. Everybody from Colbie Caillat and Gavin DeGraw to Billy Ray Cyrus and We The Kings has joined him in the Living Room for unique live jams.
Amidst this creative upswing, 2013 ushered in something of a new awakening for Cabrera. After penning “I See Love” in Nashville with Nathan Chapman [Taylor Swift], he experienced a revelation. “That sparked the mindset of the new album,” he affirms. “It was about writing songs that are real and honest. It was, ‘Write what you love and are passionate about’. That ignited the entire record.”
He went back to Los Angeles reinvigorated and locked himself in the studio with producer Justin Gray [Mariah Carey, John Legend, Amy Winehouse]. Together, the duo wrote and performed the bulk of the album, playing all of the instruments themselves.
“It’s organic pop music,” Cabrera declares. “Justin and I hit it off immediately. We were in a room together, jamming on everything. We weren’t trying to be anything or fit any kind of mold. It was just music we dug. I started writing all of these fun, positive, and uplifting songs. My whole perception had changed. Every song tells its own story.”
“House On Fire” shimmies from a percussive tribal intro into an incendiary refrain. He smiles, “It’s about burning everything down and being crazy while you can. You’re living in the moment and enjoying everything you do. A lot of people are afraid to let themselves go, be passionate, and express their feelings. You’ve got to burn it all down—even if just for one night. Let loose and go nutty! It feels great.”
“Everest” begins with a pronounced bounce punctuated by swooning synths, a propulsive beat, and lithe harmonies. Cabrera carries a simultaneously invigorating and inspiring hook to the summit confidently. “It’s about waking up, loving life, and reaching the highest spot,” he explains. “You start your day, and you’re trying to reach the utmost point you can in everything you do. You’re doing your best no matter what.”
At the same time, Cabrera still knows how to write a touching love song. “All We Have” captures a distinct moment that’s both heartbreaking and hypnotic. “That’s one of the love songs,” he sighs. “It’s about that relationship that got away. Maybe you made a mistake. Now, you’re making your plea about why you should be together. You admit you’re wrong, but you still want to be together.”
Ultimately, this is the real Ryan Cabrera. He doesn’t hold anything back, and he’s created his most uplifting and powerful music to date.
“I want the music to speak for itself,” he leaves off. “My career has been about a lot of things from the outside. The focus unfortunately shifted to what my hair was like or who I was dating. That’s not why I started playing music. It’s always been about the music. That’s it. It’s not about being a pop singer. It’s about being an artist. I want people to think of the songs before they think of me. It starts now. This is going to be a fun ride.”