The saying goes, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” However, for one Las Vegas-based songwriter, what he does in “Sin City” is blasted out to thousands of people on the radio. Jason Rylan is the name of this singer, songwriter, and producer. This California-born artist is electrically eclectic. He has an innate ability to blend EDM, electronica, dance, and pop together with a little rock. The result is an amazing amalgam of music. Jason crafts his compositions, so they’re meaning-filled musings written to lift others up.
Interview by Tim brown
When and why did you start playing?
I started with music at a very early age, probably six or seven years old. I remember listening to Van Halen’s ‘When Love Comes Walking In’ and learning it on keyboard. I was always writing song lyrics, short stories, ideas for skits, experimenting with tracks and instrumentation, and even full length movie concepts. I got more serious about making music shortly after my Father passed away.
Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
I really admire Madonna and how she has been able to reinvent herself over the years along with her longevity in the industry. I also admire her content, relevancy, the messaging in her songs, and her trailblazing. Another favorite is Alanis Morrisette and absolutely adore many of her songs. I love how her music evolves and promotes a more Spiritual soundness. Two favorites are “You Owe Me Nothing In Return” and “Reasons I Drink.” Of course, there are many more artists, but two more would be Michael Jackson and John Lennon. I definitely gravitate towards songs and artists with purpose.
Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones?
My Dad used to have TONS of records in Licorice Pizza (creates / crates) for those who remember that record store. He sold them shortly before he passed away, but wish he would’ve kept them. I can’t recall a specific record or tape off hand that I played to death, but I’m sure that there were many.
Who are your favorite musicians? Groups? CD’s?
I have so many favorite musicians and artists that I could go on for days. A few favorites would be Madonna, Alanis Morrisette, Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa, Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Van Halen, and Sarah McLachlan. For Madonna, I really love all of her albums, but am particularly fond of Ray of Light and American Life.
Have you been in competitions? Fleadh’s? Any prizes?
I’ve tried a few songwriting competitions and reached semi finals a few years back. I also received a cool nod from Joey Welz (CEO for Canadian American Records). Joey nominated me for a Grammy a few years ago for my work on Strong, but of course only artists with a much bigger following make it to the top nominations that are presented. I also received a featured cover spot for MyVegas Magazine as one of the Top 100 Men of The Year after I released my song “Strong.”
For me, the best reward or prize for music is simply when a new listener reaches out even with a simple comment that they liked the song, downloads or purchases the track, and joins the mailing list. It reminds me that there are people that resonate with the songs and appreciate what we do.
Do you perform in public? Describe those occasions? Concerts, radio, TV
I’ve done a few live performances, mainly for charity events. I’m more of a studio guy as I really haven’t had time to pursue live endeavors. That could change at some point. I’ve received some radio play, some Indie chart positions, and have always dreamt of song placement in TV or Film. I think a live concert with a full band and dancers would be awesome as well.
What makes this kind of music “good” to you?
In my opinion, what makes this kind of music “good” is it’s ability to connect and relate with people. I think we all saw just how divided people have become throughout Covid and 2020. Of course, people are very opinionated and any sort of art is subjective. I think this type of music is so needed right now, even if not my songs specifically.
Why did you choose to play this kind of music?
I’m not quite sure if we choose the music or if the music chooses us. I’ve always liked many different genres of music from rock or hard rock to electronica, EDM, and dance. So, experimenting with various genres just seemed to just make sense for me.
Let’s Talk about your music and your last work…
In general, I strive to make every song sound completely different. I like experimenting by integrating different genre elements into a song. I think “genre” went completely out the window decades ago even though many promoters try to keep coloring within the lines. There are so many songs that are difficult to categorize. My most recent song is called Powerless. I started the song shortly after the shutdowns happened here in Las Vegas. It was a trip to see the entire city close down, including the casinos, the panic buying. The song is about choosing hope by letting go of anxieties and fears.
How do you feel about the internet in the music business?
Of course, the internet has become even more ubiquitous and an absolute necessity in the music industry; probably more so now than ever before. I’m sure many of us can remember when the industry model had this huge paradigm shift with digital music and I think are seeing another. We’ve already seen a shift with some live concert streams as a way to try to compensate for restrictions on live entertainment.
What are the plans for the future?
I’m currently in sort of a preproduction phase for a music video for Powerless and possibly a video for an EDM remix that we are working on. Vegas is an awesome place with so many spots that are visually stunning. So, there are lots of ideas for shooting and we have a few concepts in mind. I’m also considering more marketing and remixes from various DJ’s, one has worked with Madonna, Beyoncé, LeAnn Rimes, Blondie, Ed Sheeran, RuPaul and others. Another plan for the future is to release this latest full length studio album that we’ve been working on. There are over twenty tracks with some reinvented covers. I might need to release two albums, put remixes on a second album, or pair it down.
How has your music evolved since you first began playing music?
I think I’ve found at least a little more peace, comfort, and acceptance which translates into the music. I think it reflects where I’ve been in my last album. I keep my expectations realistic and simply work on music that people will hopefully enjoy or find some sort of comfort with during these crazy times (or whatever they may be going through).
Could you briefly describe the music-making process?
Typically, a concept, tune, or little melody will just kind of come to me. I tend to think of it like something from the Akashic records. If I start hearing or feeling it more, then I’ll make little notes, toy with instrumentation, and then go into the studio to expand on that.