Interview: Ryan Kinder Talks Windy City Smokeout and new Single,”Stay”

Credit- Jason Kalish

What did you love most playing the Windy City Smokeout today?
This interview right now!

You just met your fans for over an hour out in the scorching heat. How was it?
I do not care if it is 200 degrees if people are coming out to a show to hear live music then every single artist on the bill owes it to them to stand there as long as it takes to say hello. The only reason we are on this bill is because those people paid for the tickets for us to be here.

Do you plan on catching any shows while here at Windy City Smokeout?
Yes! I actually talked to Brett Eldredge earlier. Cody Johnson was fantastic. I have known Drake White for a little while. So yea, we are going to stick around for a little bit and watch some, but we have to head out tomorrow for another run.

You are releasing your new single “Stay,” soon. Tell us about it! What made you want to release it as a single?
I think it is the most honest song I have ever written. It started as a love song, but it turned into something that meant so much more than just about a girl and a guy. It turned into something that truly meant deep down, you really wanted someone to stay and needed to be there no matter what. “Stay with me baby a little bit longer, I know I need something to hold on to.” And that could mean a job, anything really. It is more of a universal concept than just about love. Obviously, the concept of the song was love, but it turned into something bigger in my mind.

You just got off tour with ZZ Top and John Fogerty. Did those guys give you any good advice or did you pick up on anything that they do that made you want to start doing?
How long is this interview lol. This could turn into three and half hours if we really want to get into it. They are the best of the best at what they do. They are both my musical heroes and I got to see them and speak to them shortly every day. Every once in a while, I would have 10 to 20 minutes of their time and get to ask questions that I feel like anybody that is in music would like to ask them. I didn’t try to dig too deep into the CCR stuff with Fogerty, but he offered it up himself and gave me advice on how to deliberate and where to go with certain business decisions. The one question I wanted to ask him was what was it like to meet Sam ‘Lightnin’ Hopkins? He was one of my favorite blues players of all time. And that question just lit him up and sparked a 30-minute conversation. The last show of the run Billy took me aside and we got to talk guitar for a little while. We also talked tex-mex cause obviously he loves tex-mex being from Texas. It was one of those chill bump moments where it didn’t feel real, like it was a dream, because I have looked up to those guys since I was 13 years old. To be standing there and for them to know my name, it was a dream come true. That was the pinnacle of my career so far.

When you’re on tour, do you have time to play tourist?
Not at all. But, we just back from Europe where we got to play the Hyde Park festival and I got to be a tourist there for a little bit. It was me, Lukas Nelson who is Willie Nelson’s son, then Gary Clark Jr, Santana, Steve Winwood, and then Eric Clapton. It was transcending. It felt like a dream the entire time. I got to sit down with Gary Clark Jr. for a about five minutes. I was the weirdo and I saw him sitting at patio table and I said Gary I’m sorry, but you mean so much to me, can I have a picture? And he said sit down and let’s hang out. He is that kind of guy. He was so sweet and kind to take the time and just talk.

@ryankinder Played the same bill as some of my biggest musical heroes and got to hang with one for a little bit. He’s a monster musician and such a kind person. Still not sure if this is all a dream or not… #hydeparklondon @garyclarkjr

You have built quite a fan following on social media and through playing shows. How do you stay connected with your fans?
With social media it makes is easy. It is just as quick as texting my family. I can respond very quickly. It is one of the best and worst things that has happened. It can be such a time consumer that you are not spending the time you should be on other things. But, it is such an important facet of growing your brand. It is a double edge necessary sword. You just have to be disciplined enough and figure out how to delegate your time.

What’s your advice for young artists trying establish a name for themselves?
Determination. If you know this is exactly what you want to do, there should be absolutely nothing stopping you. I was in Tuscaloosa for college for three years, and in the third year of my college career the tornados hit on April 27. It was absolutely devastating. Most of the houses around us were just completely demolished. For a moment when I walked outside, I thought everything was okay, and I turned around and just about everything was gone. It was a come to Jesus moment. Life is to short, I know what I want to do, and two days later I moved to Nashville for good.

Who was your first concert?
Eric Clapton, which is why Hyde Park was such a big deal for me.

Music festivals go hand in hand with food! What’s your favorite festival food?
It’s about progression haha. I’d start with a quinoa and kale salad with some salmon. Two drinks in I start leaning towards BBQ, fries, and a smoked chicken sandwich. Three or four drinks in I might start leaning towards the corn dogs. Five or six drinks in someone is going to have to tell me what I ate. Deep fried butter and it is a real thing and it scares me. I would eat a deep-fried Oreo in a heartbeat though.

The Windy City Smokeout is about the barbecue. So how do you like your barbecue?
If I have all day on a Sunday I will get the nicest pork butt I can get and slow smoke it for 12 hours. I will also do some empanadas with my manager, he does the best empanadas. I’ll do some pork butt sandwiches and tacos. I can also do a good beer can chicken. Ribs I still haven’t perfected but I can smoke the heck out of some salmon. For barbecue sauce, it’s got to be the Alabama white sauce.

Is there anything coming up for you that you’d like to share?
I am just thrilled that people come out early to a show to see somebody that they have never heard of before and then become fans afterwards. That is what it is all about, connecting with people that love music. That is our job as artists is to give whoever is paying to be here a brain vacation and enjoy themselves. You can also connect with me on Ryankinder.com, Facebook- Ryan Kinder Music, Twitter- Ryan Kinder, Instagram- Ryan Kinder