Ryn Weaver is not the sort of person one could accuse of being shy. From the moment one meets the 22-year-old singer-songwriter, she speaks with excited candor.
A west coast native, Weaver carries herself with a breezy demeanor that points to her San Diego roots, while everything else about the singer screams “New York City,” the singer’s sometime-homebase since her university days, when she was an acting student for a brief stint at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, before music became her sole focus. The charm of the five boroughs peeks out particularity in the bold bent of Weaver’s fashion sense—not to mention conversation style. Curled up on a chair, knees folded under her, the singer—dressed in head to toe black—answers questions with blunt precision, while radiating bubbly confidence.
As the intuitive character of her song lyrics suggest, Weaver knows her mind and isn’t afraid to share her opinion. For proof, simply ask the singer what she thinks about the popularity of her hit song, “OctaHate,” and the tag, “overnight sensation,” it’s dragged along with it.
“I find it slightly offensive,” she affirms. “To be an ‘overnight sensation’ means I showed up on stage at an open mike night, sang a cover and everyone heard it. An ‘overnight sensation’ is the type of person that doesn’t write; it’s like you auditioned for one of those shows and then they’re like, ‘oh wow, she can sing—a star is born!’ You know what I mean?”
On the other hand, time-tested commitment—boosted with a little good fortune found in a chance meeting with mega-producer Benny Blanco one Halloween night—is what has earned Weaver her spot on industry’s ones-to-watch list. “I’ve been writing my whole life, I’ve been singing my whole life and I have been pursuing this actively for years, and I just happen to catch a break though a song that everyone liked,” explains Weaver. “But, I don’t think that’s a very ‘overnight sensation’ sort of-thing. I think an ‘overnight sensation’ is a pop star who doesn’t necessarily write their stuff, and they get a hit.”
Citing Meghan Trainor as an example of a singer-songwriter wrongly tagged an “overnight sensation—“she’s been writing in Nashville for years”—Weaver is passionate when declaring that success for such artists, herself included, is a “long time coming.”
Like her personality, Weaver’s personal style is a resolute statement, bold in aesthetic. “I love Penelope Tree, to me she was like the darker version of Twiggy. I don’t feel like that doe-eyed little girl anymore, I definitely feel the Penelope vibe.”
Dynamic and theatrically whimsical, Weaver is a presence the spotlight can’t deny. Below, we talk to the singer-songwriter about her rising star, her debut album (released June 16th) and the novel charm animating her personal style.
To start, can you tell me a bit about the origins of your stage name?
Well, my name is Erin, that’s my birth name. I changed the spelling of it when I was younger…you know, I knew a lot of Erins, and I didn’t feel like any of them, so I changed it to Aryn…and Ryn is just a nickname…my friends call me Ryn.
I imagine it’s tough figuring out a stage name? Lot of choices out there
You know, everyone has these plural names, like something “s,” and I’m not going to name any because there are so many, but that’s not me, I’m not trendy…I’m just myself. I always wanted a real name. And then I started coming up with fake names, like personas, but then I was like, that doesn’t suit me either because I write from a very personal place. I just wanted a variation of my own name, so Ryn is a nickname, and my last name is Swiss, Wüthrich…and no one knows how to say that…so I took Weaver from the other side of my family.
Keeping it in the family.
Yeah, my great grandfather was a songwriter named Ned Weaver and he wrote “Trust in Me” for Etta James. He wrote a bunch of songs from that era and he was also a radio actor, he was the original Dick Tracy on the radio. So yeah, Ryn Weaver just sort of happened, which is nice because it took months! Finding a name for something is really tough.
Let’s talk about the new album. Is there an overarching theme that speaks to your mindset while writing and recording the debut?
You know, it’s funny, for a while I was writing some kinda pretty dark music right before this, cause I was in a darker place, it was right after a rough breakup, and “OctaHate” is a little remnant of that. A lot of my songs, if they were to any other backing tracks…they would be sad songs. I love the dichotomy of bright music that people can dance to and songs that have a lot more meaning, if you want to listen and pay attention.
You can really feel that there’s depth to the songs.
They have a lot of meaning. I like that the music feels very theatrical and dramatic. I feel like a lot of my favourite artist were that way, that’s how rock and roll was…I’m not a very shoegazy kind of girl. I love a ballad, but it’s also really fun just to party on stage.
It looks like fun for sure from an audience perspective!
I’ve always wanted to be a rock-star on stage, more than just a singer.
So, back to the album…
Right, the tone…I feel like it’s really coming of age and because of that it’s wild, it feels very young because that’s just where I’m at in life.
Sounds like the album is quite a reflection of you?
It feels a lot like me. It kind of genre bends, I call it a “alt popera” because it’s a story.
Tell me about it the story.
It kind of starts with me leaving New York, and kind of getting out of this really negative toxic relationship, and then the whole record is kind of me finding my independence and my strength.
Through different experiences?
Yeah, there’s this song called “Pierre,” and it’s about all these different lovers. It’s kind of like the rebound song, but I wanted to paint it in a really beautiful light. I wanted to write a song, that talked about having lovers and that destigmatized the concept of women searching for more. You see that I had a romantic connection to all these people, but I also had multiple people, and I don’t feel bad about that. I wanted it to feel really empowered.
I think that’s true of the album as a whole.
There’s not one song on the record that is begging, right? I don’t believe that’s my place. I don’t think I need to beg for someone back, if anything, they can beg for me back. So the whole record is about me finding my independence and actually finding someone…if there ever were a perfect person…finding someone that is really there for me, and who’s a real lover…but also seeing that maybe I was part of the problem. Maybe I dated a lot of jerks because I wasn’t ready either.
How does the story end?
There’s this song “New Constellation” and it kind of talks about all those old explorers, the ones that discovered the earth wasn’t flat, and all their years and years of research, but when they found all that out, they didn’t stop, they wanted more. And so the song talks about dreamers and being a dreamer…someone who has always reached for the stars.
It goes without saying, since you’re a musician, you’re the type of person who isn’t afraid to dream.
I mean…to want to do this for a living, and have no backup plan, you have to be like anything is possible. You have to think that way…I’ve always thought that way. Dreamers are also people who want progress, and so the song relates it back to love. Like, if I found what I’m looking for, is that enough? What if there is more?
That’s a somber thought.
It’s an interesting and tragic record on a level, but it’s also fun. It’s called the Fool because it’s biting. It’s based off the imagery of a Taro card that I really like, which is called the fool. It’s of a man walking off a cliff with a dark barking at his heels. The dog is his companion and he’s like, “don’t go that way,” because the man’s decided to go off the path cause he’s like, “I’m going to walk my own way,” but he’s walking himself off a cliff. It’s like the feeling you have when you get what you want, but you’re not satisfied. And maybe you want to keep looking, and you feel like a wild horse, and you feel like you’re being tamed, so it’s like: are you a fool for settling or are you a fool for looking?
I don’t know…that’s a tough question to ponder.
I still haven’t gotten a handle on what love is. This is sort of a reckoning of that. There’s a lot of layers.
Now, just to move things over to fashion…
I love clothes!
And you have great style! How would you describe it in a nutshell?
I’d call it playful chic. I love bold colours, but I also love black. A pop of colour mixed with dark elements is something I’ve always loved.
Often, people unintentionally end up with something of a “uniform” in their closet, a staple look that they depend on. Do you have an outfit from your wardrobe that is like this, something quintessentially “you?”
Definitely, I think I’m always with a high-waisted pair of black pants and a nice stripped sweater or shirt…preferably colorful stripes. And I love polka dots. Those are my staples with a leather jacket or a black jacket.
Any particular summer trends you’re excited about this season?
To have a real influence on fashion, you have to be a fashion rebel. I don’t believe in following the trends, you have to set them. I love masculine fashion. I love pants…I love a nice suit. I wore a tuxedo to my senior prom.
I like that logic. Who are some of your favourite designers?
I’m not loyal to any brands. I can like that season of this brand, but then I don’t like anything else that they’ve done. I think it’s important to be honest with yourself on that level. To be really honest with yourself, you don’t follow one brand in particular.
Again, smart! What style trait do you feel like is most attractive to people? In other words, if you were looking to attract attention from someone, what element of your personal style would you seek to highlight?
It’s not clothing, it’s confidence. And more than confidence, it’s keeping your cool. What I’ve learned in life to be the most fulfilling thing is not really caring what anyone else thinks of you. If you walk out of the house feeling sexy and cool, it doesn’t matter if you’re in PJs or whatever. If you can go out and see everyone giving you mean eyes and be like “fuck them,” that’s the coolest style to have.
Is that how you feel when you go out?
I love having messy hair and showing up somewhere and being like, “what?” You just always have to ask “what are you looking at?” That’s how you have to live your life. I grew up in a very Christian family, and a lot of that was about how people perceive you. And as well, I matured early, so automatically…based off of that because of the society we live in…it was like “slut,” you know? A lot of judgement and labels. So, I learned very early, to rebel against everything. I was always like, whatever you want me to be, I will be the exact opposite of that.
Based on that thought, I’m interested to hear what your answer to this last question is. Who is your style icon and what do you love about their signature fashion look?
I’ve always loved Prince and Freddy Mercury’s style. And oh god, I love Marianne Faithfull, she’s a fashion icon. Oh, and Shelley Duvall, she’s super playful…and dark and weird. I sit somewhere between there too.