Singer-Songwriter Ryan Leddick Seeks Community Support to Craft Powerful Album Tackling Grief and Loss
ALBANY – Tackling songs that are steeped in the multifaceted concept of grief, singer-songwriter Ryan Leddick is preparing to go into the studio to record his album, I’ll See You In The End. Launching a Kickstarter to support the effort, the talented and enigmatic artist is using his community – both online and in-person – to craft an album of artistic firsts. Leddick plans to press his first full-length record onto vinyl.
I had a chance to sit down with the singer-songwriter this past week. What follows is our conversation.
Lucas Garrett: Ryan, good to see you and talk to you again. How’ve you been?
Ryan Leddick: I’ve been busy! I’ve been taking some time to sit back and reflect on a lot of years of getting back out there – playing. I think everyone’s been doing that since the pandemic. But as of late, I’ve been really digging down and trying to get my Kickstarter off the ground so I can start my new album.
LG: Do you have the album already written? Where are you with that?
RL: The album is written. Right now, I’m in pre-production and I am slowly, slowly, slowly getting things recorded. While I’m doing that, I’m slowly getting the art done and the Kickstarter going. This is my first time getting vinyl pressed, so I’m excited about that!
LG: What is the name of the album?
RL: The name is I Will See You In The End.
LG: Where’d that come from?
RL: It came from one of the lyrics to the song “City Lights.” The album is about the death of my brother-in-law. He died – it’ll be two years in July – and a lot of it is about the grief process, and how grief is a blessing. A lot of it is about the understanding that we all have the same things that we go through when it comes to the human existence, as spiritual as that can be for each person. That’s where the album came from.
Writing the tune, “City Lights,” one of the lyrics was “I miss you my friend/I’ll see you in the end…” As I was writing the Kickstarter, and as I was writing the last two things for the marketing campaign that I’m doing pretty soon, that phrase “I’ll See You In The End” hit me and that’s why I ended up putting it on there.
LG: Do you find it hard, as an artist, to write about such a personal event?
RL: It is very personal, yes. The thing that I find the most hard about it is that I can write these songs but the person I want to share them with isn’t here. That’s the biggest difficulty: I can’t share them with the person I’m writing the songs about.
LG: How do you, as an artist, navigate that?
RL: I guess it’s just therapy. I think it was Sia that said she has to puke out her songs. Hahaha. I feel that’s the same thing: I navigate it as going through something, as a songwriting process or an artistic process. It takes a lot of “me” time. It’s a very silent and meditative process of thinking of a theme; thinking of the thing I’m trying to write about. “City Lights,” for instance, is about how the lights of a city fend off a dark sky and how that’s indicative of time passing without someone. Every time the lights come on – the city lights – you recognize it’s another day without someone and it’s another day you say “I’ll see you in the end.” Circling back, I navigate it through constantly forcing myself to work through that in my art, and work through that songwriting process, trying to sit with those emotions and not fly away from them. Bring them in for dinner and sort of make friends with them, if that makes any sense.
LG: It does. I’ve always enjoyed talking with you. What you’re talking about is such an abstract idea. I really appreciate – on an artistic level – how abstract you are with your thoughts.
RL: Thank you.
LG: How do you harness that way of thinking?
RL: I think a lot of it comes with my faith. I’ve been a Buddhist for almost fifteen years and I think a lot of it comes from seeing the world very differently than other people. I think it also comes with being a queer artist; you see the world differently. The biggest thing I see when I think about something, is I think of it in a way someone hasn’t thought about it, or a way that I can get my point across in a very creative and peculiar way that nobody else has done, or that I haven’t done.
That’s my biggest gripe with myself: sometimes a song might take two years to write, for me at least, because I’m thinking of a way to make it different than I have before. Then, it takes a totally different path and I’m always amazed at some of these songs. Some of them – I think that you, Lucas, can talk about this yourself, as an artist… you write a song in fifteen minutes, and sometimes you write a song that takes three years to write!
LG: I’ve a handful that I’ve been working on for five years now.
LG: Talk to us a bit about the Kickstarter; what do you want to get out of it?
RL: This is my first one that I’ve really put my heart and soul into. My primary focus for this album is to make it full-length – my first studio length album, which I’ve never been able to do. As DIY artists, a lot of times we think about how art should be paid, and how the artist and mixing engineer, and studio performers, and whoever you use are also artists that should get paid. The Kickstarter, on my end, is going to be paying for the mixing, the mastering, the market of this. That takes a lot of effort and it’s not cheap. It’ll also go to the pressing of vinyl, which I’ve never been able to get done.
The wonderful thing about the vinyl – I’m trying to make this album as green as possible – is that it’ll be recycled vinyl, which is actually quite cool.
LG: Oh nice.
RL: Yeah. A lot of pressing agencies use recycled vinyl and whatever the end scraps of vinyls are – they could be random colors of blue, red, yellow. Whatever one you open, you don’t know what you’re getting, which is a pretty cool thing.
LG: How did you come across that? Did you go looking for it?
RL: I came across that when I was looking for quotes – it came up as an option. I emailed to see if it was an extra cost, because I know a lot of times that anything green is an extra cost. The first thing they told me is that it’s the same cost if you get a standard vinyl. I thought “why don’t more people use this?”
LG: When do you plan to have the album out?
RL: That’s still up in the air. My hope is that I will have this album out by this fall or winter, with the vinyl coming in next year. It all depends on how fast the recording goes; I’m doing that as I’m doing the Kickstarter. This is an all-or-nothing campaign with Kickstarter. If you don’t get the total amount, you don’t get anything. What I’m trying to do is make sure that my Kickstarter is fully-funded before I go full-deep into recording.
Right now, I’m starting the recording but I don’t want to go too far without making sure I have the funding. So, my hope is that October/November is when the album will be out, or at least the single.
LG: How many songs are going to be on the album?
RL: I’m looking at eight or nine.
RL: All of them, primarily – with the exception of three – are songs that no one’s heard. These are songs that I’ve written with death in mind; with joy in mind; how grief is a blessing in mind, and the idea that we’re all the same and that we all want the same things.
LG: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about, Ryan, that I may have missed?
RL: The thing I’ll mention is that this Kickstarter starts today on my birthday (May 12th). It goes for forty-five days, and into Pride Month. The only thing I’m asking is that if I can get the word out to the people of my queer community that are looking to support queer artists, or anybody that is looking to support artists that that are trying to do this on their own without having to go through any sort of record label. I’m looking for your support!
LG: Thank you very much for your time tonight!
RL: Thank you very much for writing this.
LG: I hope you have a goodnight and I’ll be in touch.
RL: Thanks, Lucas.
LG: Good luck with your campaign!
RL: Thanks! Bye.