Music and surfing go together like offshores and groundswells: the two just make a good combination. With this in mind, we’ve been introducing you to some talented ocean-inspired artists in our ‘Surfer’s Ear’ features. This week we catch up with Cape Town born Ryan Kidwell, who has just released his Debut EP, Be Your Best. It’s an inspirational and uplifting collaboration of acoustic tunes which you can’t help but tap your feet to. Missed any of the previous artist features? Check them all out here. Listen to more of Ryan’s music here.
Name: Ryan Kidwell
Genre: Acoustic folk/country
One liner on life: Happy Days
Zag: Tell us about your musical journey. How did it all start?
Ryan: It started from the age of around 13 when the “Nirvana unplugged” frenzy was HUGE and playing guitar was the coolest thing you could possibly do. Fortunately music was a big thing in our family and I was pretty quick to pick up my dad’s guitar and get the hang of it – with a little bit of guidance from watching and learning from him. For me, being a self-taught guitarist and song writer has been the creative challenge I was looking for in life, and I’ll never stop writing songs and playing music.
Growing up as a surfer, how did that influence you musically?
Surfing has been one of my biggest influences musically, from the endless hours spent watching surf videos, to the long peninsula drives pumping music to get amped to surf. Music and surfing is like a beautiful marriage.
Ryan letting loose at the wreck in Plett.
What have you been doing in-between producing tracks to pay for the broken fins and food?
I’ve been involved in the water treatment industry for quite some time, I currently work for a company that sells and markets water analysis equipment. My boss also surfs, so we have “lank” customers up the west coast (laughs).
And where are you at now in terms of building a career out of music, is that a future you see for yourself?
Absolutely! Having just released my first solo EP as Ryan Kidwell, I plan on giving this all I’ve got!
From your perspective, what’s the music industry like for SA artists at the moment? Is making it internationally as a professional musician about as difficult as making the dream tour?
We have some real serious talent in this country and some artists are definitely paving the way for others, but it’s up to you as an individual to stick it out and put in the time. Just like the dream tour, it’s a saturated game with heaps of talent all around you, but every dog has his day – you gotta put in the time to reap the rewards I believe.
Tell us about your live gigs.
I am performing on a regular basis in and around Cape Town and depending on the venue, I either perform with a band or on my own with my kick drum, harmonicas and guitars.
From whom and what do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from so many different things. I believe that everything we experience in life teaches us something and being a present person helps us see the good even when it’s looking bleek. I love so many different types of music and it never fails to inspire the creativity, but Fat Freddys Drop takes the cake.
Which musician/band do you predict to be the next best thing to come out of SA?
I have seen some really amazing local acts lately, and feel that the talent coming from SA has gone up a massive notch – Early Hours blew me away with their awesome energy on stage, but Jeremy Loops is the hardest working musician I know off here, he has shown us all what’s possible.
And your plans for the rest of the year, what have you got on the cards?
Play more music! I plan to take the new EP around the country and keep working on my song writing and recordings. I also really need to do some music videos! I have so much fun and get so much satisfaction from playing music. I intend to keep plugging away and having the time of my life doing what I love.