Ryan Neal fuses hip-hop-inspired production with soulful vocals, slinky guitar lines, vibey electric piano and funky bass riffs to create a sound that is both nostalgic and fresh. Neal grew up in a home that encouraged creativity, and began playing guitar shortly after watching the movie School of Rock as a teenager. “I remember coming home from elementary school and watching MTV’s TRL with my sisters every day. This was a huge contrast to my parent’s music which consisted of the Beach Boys, Sam Cooke, Stevie Wonder and countless other popular artists from the 50s through the 70s”, says Neal. These influences slowly began taking shape and he started writing songs in his late teens at Michigan State University.
After college, Neal moved to Nashville, TN and began kicking around the scene as an aspiring solo artist. However, it wasn’t until he embarked on a three-month journey to Nova Scotia, Canada, where he found his roots as an artist. “I rented a house in the middle of the woods on a secluded lake near the ocean. It was surreal. I lived a life of complete seclusion – writing music, learning production and living off the grid.” After returning home, Neal was able to synthesize everything he’d learned up until that point and began a quest of writing, producing and recording his debut EP at home in Michigan. As a musician, Neal is comfortable on many instruments and uses whatever is at hand for inspiration when crafting a song. “A handful of safety pins and a container of garlic salt can be just as useful as a guitar when you know what to do with them”, says Neal.
In December 2018, Neal released his debut single, “Hang Tight”, which features a mid-tempo funk groove, jazz-flavored chords, Latin percussion and a catchy vocal hook that propels the song forward and keeps you humming along afterwards. “Hang Tight” is just a sample of what’s to come off his debut EP, Up My Sleeve, which is set to release on February 4, 2019. Keep your eye out for this Detroit artist that’s striving to merge the soul of Motown with the funk of the 70s and polish of modern production.