Q&A: Ryan Follese Spills What It Was Like Making His Debut EP with His Family

RYAN FOLLESE

Ryan Follese‘s new record is finally here!

The self-titled EP has six songs which were all written by Ryan, his brother Jamie, and his parents Adrienne and Keith. The tracks were recorded with producers Dann Huff and Cameron Montgomery in Nashville. In conjunction with the release, “Put A Label On It” will impact Country radio this fall as the official first single.

You may remember Ryan as the lead singer of American Music Award-winning band Hot Chelle Rae. Since HCR, Follese has re-focused his songwriting to incorporate the storytelling lyrics and Nashville influences he was raised on.

“For the last few years, I’ve felt a pull towards my roots,” explained Ryan. “This project really lays out my natural musical path, and it feels terrific to finally be home where I belong!”

Celeb Secrets Country had the opportunity to speak with Ryan recently to talk all about his self-titled EP! In the interview, the “Float Your Boat” singer explains why he decided to make a country record, what it was like working with his parents and brother for all six songs, and three reasons why you need to pick up the EP today. Check out the full Q&A below!

Keep up with Ryan Follese by following him on Twitter at @RyanFollese.

Celeb Secrets Country: A lot of music fans may remember you in your band Hot Chelle Rae with your brother Jamie and Nash Overstreet. Now you are a solo artist that’s just released his debut country EP! What made you want to put out a country record?

Ryan Follese: “Putting out a country record has been about three years in the making. Everything that I’ve been writing has been coming out the way I’ve been brought up, so it has a very natural feeling to it and for whatever reason sounds country. I don’t feel like I chose to be a country artist. I feel like being a country artist chose me. I grew up with parents that are country songwriters, so I’ve been very attached to the fabric of this genre and business since I was a kid. For the first time in my life what I’m doing right now feels like it really has heart and its really me. It definitely wasn’t an overnight decision.”

Celeb Secrets Country: You are signed with Big Machine Records — how did that come about?

Ryan Follese: “The record deal came about when I started working on this new album in the studio last summer. A good portion of the music was already done and I had one place in mind where I wanted to take it and it was Big Machine Records. I felt that they would be able to display my vision as an artist. Their feedback after they listened to it couldn’t have been more in my head as far as the vision goes so at that point they were the only home for me.”

Celeb Secrets Country: You have a song out right now on country radio called “Float Your Boat.” What can you tell us about it?

Ryan Follese: “It’s super exciting to hear “Float Your Boat” on country radio. Even though its sounds like its about boating, it really is truthfully about my journey to where I am today. As cliché as it sounds, it’s all about doing what “floats your boat” and what makes you happy because you only have so much time to accomplish and achieve things in life. That’s what I’m doing right now.”

Celeb Secrets Country: What made you want to choose “Float Your Boat” as your debut single?

Ryan Follese: “I wanted that message to be out there as soon as possible. When people ask me why I’m doing what I’m doing right now, that’s a great answer to me. I’m a singer/songwriter because it’s truthfully what makes me happy. ”

Photo by Joseph Llanes
Photo by Joseph Llanes

Celeb Secrets Country: You wrote every song off the EP — what was it like in the studio when you sat down to produce these tracks?

Ryan Follese: “It was pretty different than most people’s process because I wrote the whole record with my parents, my brother, and my friend who is also a producer/co-writer named Cameron Montgomery. It was the five of us in a room every day for eight months straight making this record, so the process was really unique and super fun. The thing that I love about it is that we are so close that we can tell each other if our ideas aren’t great and I feel like its helped us get to the best ideas and the best songs.”

Celeb Secrets Country: You say that this project has been three years in the making. How would you say you’ve grown as an artist from when you first started working on this till now?

Ryan Follese: “What’s different now is I’ve lived a lot more and been through a lot more real-life things that I didn’t as an early 20s person. I’m only writing things that I’ve either lived, am going to live, or things that I’ve truly walk in and that’s changed my writing style immensely.”

Celeb Secrets Country: Why do you think our readers should check out your new music?

Ryan Follese: “I think that if you liked me in Hot Chelle Rae and as an artist in general then you should definitely listen to this new record to hear where I’ve been for these past few years. The music is super fun as well, which is awesome. It may sound like its geared for girls but I think guys will relate to me trying to figure out the opposite sex on a lot of issues [laughs]. Lastly, its just awesome windows-down music. I feel like I’ve always tried to do that with my music regardless of what genre it is.”

Celeb Secrets Country: Since we are Celeb Secrets Country, can you share a secret about yourself that you haven’t told anyone yet?

Ryan Follese: “I am a great shooter. I have a pretty good aim with a firearm [laughs].”

Written by Juliet Schroder

Juliet is the founder and executive producer/host of Celeb Secrets and Celeb Secrets Country. When not reporting on the latest news in pop culture and country music, she enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, and exploring the latest fashion trends.

Juliet holds a B.S. in marketing from St. John's University.