The Next Big Thing Q&A

Brief biography – what your background is, age, how you got into music or anything else you think might be of interest.

Derek was born and raised in Co. Carlow, into a very musical family. Derek dreamt of life in the spotlight since he was 12 years old, and with hard work and dedication to music, he has now become one of Ireland’s biggest country stars. After finishing school at 17 years old, Derek’s showbiz dreams started to become a reality when he became lead singer with an Irish boy band.

Although his early exposure to the live scene was modest, not even he could have predicted what lay ahead – a career that many can only dream about standing in front of the dressing room mirror strumming a beaten up acoustic guitar.

Returning to Ireland in September 2009, after several years of gigging on the London function scene, Derek took time to consider many offers that were coming his way. It was at this stage that melodies from his formative years kept coming back to him. Unable to shake off the sounds that resonated from his Mother’s kitchen radio, Derek got hooked on Nashville greats; like Brooks, Jackson and Strait and so the plans were laid to go for it. Having spent a couple of years studying as an accountant he also started writing his first songs; and Derek discovered one of his great talents.

Since then, Derek has moved down the road to success, and has since been touring for over two years, filling up dance floors and all over Ireland and across the water.

With no limit to his potential, Derek will keep striving and working to the best of his ability.

What’s your success to date?

At 17, I signed to Warner Music as lead singer of boy band D-side. With the band, we had a multi-platinum selling single in Ireland, even a number 1 album in Japan in 2005!  After a short break from music, I then began pursuing my dream in country music. I think my best attempt at writing was “God’s Plan”, which was also the first original song I released. Since then it has been my most successful single – and Daniel O’Donnell has even recorded it now!  I now have three albums, with a new one due in the autumn.

What / who are your inspirations?

As you may hear from my music, I’m influenced by a lot of artists, and I try to incorporate these into my songs, with my own style. My music has a large country element, so my biggest musical influences have to be Johnny Cash and Garth Brooks. Bryan Adams has always been a big influence in my music too, with his style of rock and pop music. How can I forget about Johnny McEvoy – one of Ireland’s best singer/songwriters. As a song writer, I can only hope that one day I will be as successful as him.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

We have already started exploring other genres of music, not just solely country, which will hopefully attract more fans. I recently released a single called “100 Numbers” which has a country pop feel to it.  In 5 years, I hope that I have brought my music further afield, and have made it more widespread. I hope to have taken our tour to the next level.  With any luck, within the next few years, I will still be doing what I love doing – performing to incredible fans!

What’s your favourite quote or song lyric?

Has to be from Passenger’s song ‘Let Her Go’, I love the line “You only hate the road when you’re missing home”. I think it’s my favourite, and sticks out in my head, because I can relate to it. I’m always on the road – I love it – but sometimes I am constantly touring for a week at a time, and then I realise that you really do only miss home being on the road!

If you could live in another place and time where and when would it be?

I would loved to have lived in the dance hall days, when they were at they’re peak. The gigs we play now are unbelievable, so I can only imagine what they would have been like back in their heyday – when getting up for a dance and a jive was the main part of the night out.

What book are you reading?

I’m reading Paul McGrath’s Autobiography, “Back from the Brink”.

What music are you listening to?

I really love Kodaline at the minute, and not only because they’re fellow Irish men! Their music is different to what is out there today; there isn’t any other band like them at the minute. I also really like The Band Perry, and of course, Michael Buble – but then again, who doesn’t like Michael Buble?

Contact details (web address, email etc) – details of where people can get your music.


In! Magazine - Derek Ryan