“I have much to say,” sings Ryan Keen on his track Orelia, and it’s true: he does have plenty to communicate, but then, he’s packed quite a lot into his first quarter-century. And now he’s coming to tell you his stories. The singer-songwriter with the warm, breathy voice, technically virtuosic guitar playing style and armful of confessional and/or observational material is about to become your favourite new bard.
He was born in 1987, in Totnes, to a speech therapist mother and deep sea diver dad. Growing up, he listened to an eclectic mix of music: the seminal folk axis of Nick Drake, Bert Jansch and John Renbourn but also blues legends such as BB King and King’s most famous acolyte Eric Clapton as well as Buena Vista Social Club - he even had a hip hop phase. His all-time hero is John Lennon and he thinks the first two Coldplay albums are “genius”. And he’s heavily influenced by Spanish guitar - a travelling Flamenco guitarist turned up in Totnes one day and turned Ryan onto that style of playing. You can hear all of these influences, to a greater or lesser extent, in Ryan’s songs.