Catch Up With: Ryan McMullan

Ryan’s masterful songwriting has earned him much acclaim in recent years. His ability to create heartfelt and evocative songs combined with his astonishing voice is winning him new fans all the time.  His new EP ‘Ruthless Cupid’ has become an essential listen for the IAH team during lockdown, so we were keen to chat with Ryan about his songwriting craft and his approach to live shows.

Hey Ryan! First of all, how are you? How have you found being on lockdown over the past few months?

Yeah, I’m good thanks. It’s been a strange time but it’s also been the longest I’ve been home since 2015, so that has been a nice change. Looking forward to touring again though!

Your livestream performances during lockdown have been great, have you enjoyed the experience of streaming from home?

Aw, thanks! I have been yeah. I spent quite a lot of time figuring out how to enhance the video and audio for the audience watching. I know it’s nothing like a live gig, but the closer I can make it the better. It’s so strange performing in an empty room and trying to pretend like it’s a venue.

We’re really looking forward to your show here with us in September next year! Can you tell us about how you usually prepare for a live show?

I’m very excited to play in your venue! I have heard nothing but praise from other artists about how enjoyable shows are at the Islington Assembly Hall and I can’t wait to join that list. Lately (pre-lockdown) I have been keeping busy before shows; exercising and setting up the gear etc. I love to perform live shows, so once the set up is finished, I’m excited and ready to go so I grab a bite to eat and have a drink in the interim.

When you’re out on tour, what are the home comforts you miss the most?

In Belfast, we have potato bread and soda bread. They are the best and severely missed on tour. Also, proper pints of Guinness. There’s no substitute for that.

If you had the choice, who would be on your dream festival line up?

I’ve two lists. The first is people who are still alive. That would be Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Wonder and Stormzy and the second is dead artists I wish I had got to see which would be The Beatles, Aretha Franklyn, Prince and Bowie.

What have been your most memorable live shows over the past few years?

I’ve been very fortunate in regard to live shows. I got to play in stadiums to 90,000 in attendance with Ed Sheeran, incredibly iconic venues such as the Ryman and Sydney Opera House with Snow Patrol and Shepherd’s Bush with Foy Vance but my favorite shows have to be headlining both Belfast’s Ulster Hall and Custom House Square. Two of the most iconic venues with incredible crowds.

We’ve been loving listening to your latest EP ‘Ruthless Cupid’ whilst working from home, do you have any new music in the works at the moment?

I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it! It was a lot of fun to make. And with regard to new music, I’m preparing for my debut album as we speak. Hopefully it will be out in time for the show in London

Which artist would you say has been the biggest influence on your own music?

The Beatles, Snow Patrol, Stevie Wonder, Paul Brady, Thin Lizzy, Aretha Franklin and Foy Vance are all huge influences of mine. To choose one would be too difficult.

Looking back in time, what advice would it have been helpful to have received at the start of your career?

Release music when you want to and not waiting for the perfect time or partners. My gut always spoke up and I never listened to it. In hindsight, I’d be releasing my second album by now.

We are a team of foodies here at Islington Assembly Hall so we always have to ask this final question: if you could only eat one food forever, what would it be?

My mum makes a great Sunday roast. It’s hard to look past that. It’s either that or a Big Mac, but that could be the lockdown talking.

Make sure you book tickets for Ryan McMullan’s headline show.