Country Krooning w/ Ryan Keown
Let’s get to know Canadian Country artist Ryan Keown on his journey from bar guitarist to award winning solo country crooner.
SB (StarBeat): Quick Bio: How did you get started in music and singing?
RK (Ryan Keown): I started playing guitar when I was 13 and absolutely fell in love with learning how to play. It was an incredible way to express myself and be creative. Then I met up with some other local musicians that had a band and needed a rythym guitarist, so I was playing bars the next year!
SB: Rewarding: What has been your favourite award received so far?
RK: I’ve been very blessed to be nominated and recognized for various awards throughout my career. There is so much talent out there that it is really special when you are recognized in your genre. My favourite award that I’ve received so far has been the FANS’ CHOICE AWARD at the Manitoba Country Music Awards. I’ve actually been honoured with this award for the last two years in a row which is surreal but very special to me.
This means the most as it is the fans that have to log on and vote for their favourite artist, and I hope that this speaks to what the message of my songs mean to them and of course that they can relate to me personally at my shows. It’s important for people to feel like they know you and I try to convey as much of my personality from the stage as possible to accomplish this while performing.
SB: Setting the Scene: What is your take on the current strength of country music?
RK: It has seriously never been more competitive. The Canadian country music has now reached a level that has programmers desperately trying to make room to play all songs worthy. Not an easy task when you have your well known artists and the new crop of talent vying for the same spots.
It can be frustrating at times but it definitely makes you bring your best.
Once you start wanting to compete for radio play and live festival performance slots, where you come from really doesn’t matter anymore. Now you are up against everyone else that wants the same opportunity. Your song and production have to be as good as the best people on the radio or you won’t see the same support.
SB: Nomenclature: Do you name any of your guitars or hats just like pets? Do you have a favourite?
RK: No names for my hats or guitars but what a great question! My favourite guitar is my Ovation 6868 Elite Standard. I have many Ovation acoustics but I bought this one when I was 16 and it’s been at every show with me since. It’s got cracks on the front finish, chips in the paint, scratches on the back from my belt buckle over the years and even has a piece broke off the headstock from playing a rowdy bar one night and it getting knocked off its stand.
So needless to say, that guitar and I have been through a lot together. So to me that guitar sort of feels like Willie Nelson’s guitar “Trigger” (but without all the marijuana and add in a day job!)
SB: Vision Board: Dream performance venue? Dream duet or collaboration?
RK: My dream performance venue would be the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville TN. It has so much history that it would be amazing to be a part of. A few years ago my wife and I took the backstage tour and I got to stand in the Opry circle. It was a very surreal moment for me!
I would love to collaborate with Ronnie Dunn. He has always been my favourite singer and he has such a recognizable style. Had the opportunity to meet him at Dauphin’s Countryfest he was the only celebrity I was ever really star struck in the presence of.
SB: Sneak Peak: Any cool new stuff in the works?
RK: I’m always considering my next move. Currently in the final stages of selecting my next single and working on securing 2018 shows across the prairies.
Ryan on Social: