Ryan Mack: From tik tok to the world
From of the popular Irish boyband Hometown, he, along with bandmates Josh Gray,Dean Gibbons, Dayl Cronin, Brendan Murray, and Cian Morrin, released a debut single titled "Where I Belong" in 2014 and a second track, "Cry for Help," in 2015. During lockdown in 2020 he only had his phone and music to write, a lot of emotions to pen down, a dream and something to tell the world. Fast forward to 2022, Ryan has millions of streams on Spotify, over 200k followers on Instagram and his Tik Tok account is one of the most followed in Ireland. We grabbed a couple of coffees and went around London to talk about his succeed.
"Wish You The Worst" is your latest single. What is it about?
The song itself is inspired by growing up. I got into music very young and I didn't really know what to do, or how to get to where I wanted to go, but I just knew I liked it. And I was putting up videos and stuff. And when you want to stop putting yourself out there like that you're open yourself to be subjected to pay for comments that the public expect. You're open to criticism, and I knew that but, you know, like, I remember there was one occasion where someone indirectly outed me. And I was only posting videos on YouTube, just in my bedroom by myself, just for people to see. I don't really hold grudges. I'm not a bitter kind of guy. I move on, but at the time, it hurt my feelings so when I was in a writing session, and we were kind of, you know, we started off writing, I didn't know what the client came up with, like that kind of subject matter in it. And I was like, "ah, that's kind of like, think about this for a minute". And I just started writing about that kind of stuff, and it's just all along the way, you're gonna get those kinds of comments all the time, you know? These are music, like mostly personalities. I think I spent a lot of years, like what I taught, people want to hear and then you kind of realise they just want to hear how you're getting on and relate to that.
What was the the writing process behind the song?
It was me, another writer and producer, it was a very late session, which usually I'm not a fan of. We didn't get out until 9pm.
Imagine how much sun I missed that day. If there was any. Yeah, I don't think there was. It was all done in one go, one day.
Are you always writing?
Literally, I was I'm probably writing that right now. In my head.
What inspires you the most?
Anything. I think during the pandemic, I started, like, when I started doing the Tik Tok's, other people's Tik Tok's did inspire me. And if I'd seen something interesting I would be like, "Oh, I could do something like this". So, you know, take that and make it my own and do something else. And I think everything that inspires me. I
So did you feel like being in a cage during lockdown?
It was a cage for probably other people, maybe. But for me, it was more of letting out of the cage. Before the pandemic I was not doing social media seriously, I wasn't very hard on it, during the pandemic, instead I was forced to use it. Because I couldn't do anything else.
I was in Ireland, literally just in my bedroom, and I just had a lot of equipment that I had never used. And I just forced myself to learn how to record myself and how to get better at it and how to really, really just do all my own stuff.
So what is your approach now? You're very active.
For anybody, not just for an artist, if you want to do YouTube videos and stuff like that for example, you know, you have to use it as a tool to put yourself out there or even if you're even if you're pushing a product, even if you're a hairdresser and you want to get more clients, you know, you put up your work on there, like dress it up nicely, make the videos look good. And people see and go, "oh, I want to get that done." It's essentially better for your business so it's important.
"Only human" is one of the latest tracks. What is the message that you want to deliver with the song? It's very powerful and deep.
Yeah, they're kind of uplifting. So that one kind of started out with me and a friend and producer. And we just went in, and at the time, I was overwhelmed, took off, and there was all this kind of stuff had happened with it. And things were getting big and big and bigger every time. And like, with that comes some sort of like, you know, fear, I suppose as such. Maybe anxiety or maybe my inner question was: "was that the last shot? Is that is that the end of it? Is that have I squeezed all the juice out of this? Or is this just going to keep going and where my head get too big?
Was there ever a moment were you thought "oh wow, people actually listen to my music"?
I've had before the pandemic, I had a song hitting million streams. And like that I was kind of like, are really people listening to this. And then when I wrote broke, which was I picked on the kind of kick started at all during the pandemic, when I put that out. That was kind of when I realised people were listening. And then from there, I just kept putting out as many songs as I could. And then, like you said, like "Only Human" was one where I think people just relate to. Because you know, when I say "we will fall, we will break", we all make mistakes, like that's just it. Everybody, no matter what field you're in, and if it happens, you just pick yourself up and go again.
You're going on tour with AJR in September, what can we expect from that?
I mean, that's kind of it's gonna be huge. It's a big opportunity to get in front of the people who don't like following me on social media, to get to come and meet in person and really kind of break down that third wall of like, the social media,I'm a real person, and they're real people and we can all have fun! The show is gonna be really high energy.
And last question, what is next for you?
Always writing always there's a big tour coming up. I want to get out and meet people.
Follow Ryan's journey on @ryanmack.
Words: Sal F.
Photos: Gianmarco R.