Singer-songwriter Phoebe Ryan had a crazy-successful year in 2016: she released three singles, wrote a song for Britney Spears and even topped the charts for her song with The Chainsmokers. Now, she’s back with her first single of 2017, “Dark Side.” The 26-year old pop singer is also currently on the Lady Wood tour with Swedish pop singer, Tove Lo. FLARE sat down with Phoebe to talk about memorable moments on tour (like getting topless on stage!), her resolutions for 2017 and what it’s like being a writer/producer in a male-dominated industry. Peep the full Q&A here:
You studied music production and writing before you decided to be a performer. What inspired the switch?
It was definitely always something that I knew I had to do. I just remember not getting the lead in the kindergarten school play and telling my mom, “I don’t want to be in this play [laughs].” I was that much of a diva, even then, just knowing I had to be on stage. But for a while, it took a back seat because I was really interested in learning production and business and all different aspects of the music industry. And then songwriting started coming out as the winner and being the most important thing, and I was like, oh, I can write my own songs and be an artist and perform them on a stage. Boom. Ideal.
The production side of the music industry is very male-dominated. What’s it been like navigating that as a woman?
It’s definitely male-dominated and there are certain things that happen where I’m like, this wouldn’t happen to a guy—that ain’t right. But most of the time I feel very fortunate because I have two very strong brothers—I’m the middle child—and they raised me to really hold my own, so I’m super-comfortable navigating the male-dominated field. I’m lucky that I am fearless. I do not fear the man. The man fears me.
How have you been able to create mainstream pop music while also maintaining your own individuality?
To be honest, I’m trying to figure it out every day. I just loved pop music so much growing up, yet, at the same time, in college I was in a folk band, I was in a punk band. But always at the back of my mind I was like, I love pop music so much. So when I started leaning towards the pop side of things, I realized I have something different to offer because my background in music is so wacky. It meshes together and here I am.
How would you describe your style of pop?
Rock n’ roll DGAF pop.
You’re on tour with Tove Lo right now. Did you two know each other before? How did you get involved with the tour?
We’ve known each other for a little over a year or two now. She just asked if I wanted to join her on the “Lady Wood Tour 2017” and I was like, it would be an honour.
What’s your day-to-day been like on this tour?
I’ve just been playing a lot of video games, which has been affecting my sleep schedule! My day-to-day is Minecraft and the other is being on stage.
Are there any specific moments that stand out so far from the tour?
The first night of tour, I lost my luggage so I performed in my pajamas. At the second show, my mic wasn’t working, so [my tour manager] Johnny had to come on stage; I was wearing a onesie, so there was no sneaking the mic back. I literally just had to take off my shirt and I was like, “This is the Lady Wood tour: whatever, I got boobs!”
2016 was a big year for you, and “Dark Side” is your first single of 2017. Do you want to do anything differently this year?
For 2017, I just really want to dive into myself. I really want a better understanding of who I am, as a person, so I can portray it as an artist and just give off that vibe. I’m lucky I have fans who totally support me being weird and crazy. I have a lot to look forward to and I have a lot of growing to do, but I’m lucky in that my fans will probably stick by me.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
Hopefully putting an album out. That would be the best thing ever… but I have a lot of work to do on it. I have a lot of songs to get done.
VIDEO: Tove Lo On The Lady Wood Tour And The Worst Part About Being Single
Exclusive: Michelle Treacy Premieres New Music Video for “Colours”
5 Minutes with Singer Louise Burns: From Lillix to New-Wave
Exclusive Premiere: New Track “Blue” from Chic Artist AMAARA