Ryan Cabrera Performs ‘House on Fire’ and ‘True,’ Talks New Album and Robert Pattinson [EXCLUSIVE]by Maggie Malach | PopCrush
Full disclosure: The PopCrush editors were very excited to spend time with Ryan Cabrera. Not only was he friendly, hilarious and generally very awesome, but he was kind enough to take a special song request from us when he performed for our staff.
But first things first, Ryan sat down to give us the details on his upcoming EP and album, including the story behind his single, ‘House on Fire.’ The new music — which the singer describes as being “100 percent honest” — promises to be upbeat and fun, exactly like Ryan himself.
Of course, talk eventually landed on Ryan’s framed photo of Robert Pattinson, but you’ll just have to check out the interview below to see his explanation. Bonus: Watch his acoustic performances of ‘House on Fire’ (above) and ‘True’ (below)!
What made you choose ‘House on Fire’ as your first single?
It’s still acoustic-driven, but a little more poppy than my previous stuff and it’s very upbeat and fun and a very good message. It kind of leads into where we’re going to go on the record. It’s a good fusion of an upbeat dance song mixed with very heavy, acoustic-driven stuff with kind of anthemic melodies and catchy hooks.
“Anthemic” was the first word that came to mind when I heard the song. It’s almost like a call to action.
Yeah, that’s what it is and that’s kind of why we wanted to go with that first — and then we can get a little weirder as the next singles come out.
It’s been quite a few years since you’ve released an album. How long have you been working on this and your EP?
I started writing about six years ago, but it kind of didn’t start taking shape [into] what is now the record until two and a half years ago. I wrote a song in Nashville with Nathan Chapman called ‘I See Love,’ and that was kind of the start of “OK, here’s where the record’s going” and everything before that we kind of just trashed.
In this day and age, with where radio was… In 2008 and 2009, radio was very rhythmic and very R&B-heavy and there wasn’t really a place for singer-songwriters, so I found myself trying to conform almost into what people were doing, and then after like three years of that, I was like, “No.” It just didn’t feel right. I went back to my roots and wrote ‘I See Love’ and was like “OK, this feel right. What we’re doing now is the record.”
Watch Ryan Cabrera Perform ‘True’ Live for the PopCrush Staff
What kind of vibe does ‘I See Love’ have?
It’s kind of a piano, mid-tempo, ballad song about finding love everywhere you go and seeing love all over the place, even in the dark corners of places and the happy corners and every part of life. Just finding love in everything you do.
How do you know when an album’s done?
When it makes me want to party. It makes me want to dance.
Are you there for this album?
Oh, we’re there! We’re done. We did countless days and days and hours and hours on every single song, picking them apart. Even the ballads, you know, we just kept doing and doing it. Take stuff out, put stuff back in, try this, try that. That was kind of the purpose of taking so long to make the record, was so I could do that. Every single song was its own experiment and we picked apart every last detail. I was really lucky to actually have the time to be able to do that.
Can you tell us the lyric that best summarizes the theme of the album?
‘I See Love’ has a lot of lyrics that represent the whole record. I like “The sun shines on everyone, everywhere / Every time you kiss me.” It’s a very bright, it’s very fun.
"The music is very honest. I’ve always been 100 percent honest in every song and stayed true to what I wanted to do and what I wanted this record to be."
Over the years, you’ve been on television and put out a couple of albums, so people have gotten to know all different sides of your personality. What do you want them to take away from this album?
The music is very honest. I’ve always been 100 percent honest in every song and stayed true to what I wanted to do and what I wanted this record to be. Getting to put out the record I wanted to make says a lot about me, I think. It shows a lot of different sides. There’s a darker side. There’s a song called ‘All We Have,’ which is a sad song but still has that anthemic feel that makes you want to sing. But overall, I think it’s just a fun, fun record. We’re very happy with where we’re at right now. In all aspects, like perspective and the way I view things and my experiences thus far and what I’ve gotten to take away from them and grow into the artist that I’ve always wanted to be.
You posted an Instagram pic of New York with the caption “Wake up beautiful, start a brand new day” and said it reminded you of a lyric from a new song.
Yeah, there’s a song called ‘Wake Up, Beautiful.’ Yeah, that’s a lyric from the song and it just reminded me of the opening part of the song. It’s like exactly when I opened up the things and saw the beautiful city and just excited about the day. Even though it’s a crazy-busy day and we’re doing so many different things … Instead of being like “Oh, my god I have 20 things to do today,” I woke up actually thrilled to be doing what we’re about to do.
Speaking of your Instagram, in your ‘House on Fire’ single announcement, you were in a bubble bath with a framed picture of Robert Pattinson.
That’s actually something that was in my house, hanging. So I have in the hallway leading to my bedroom, I have a lot of black and whites of old actors or singers. So there’s like Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball. All of these iconic actors and I figured it would be funny if I had a current, pop phenomenon. That was pretty funny picture that I found of his. Most people don’t notice because it’s black and white, so they pass through the hallway and they’re like “Oh, this is so cool …” And at some point I would see people be like, “Is that … Rob? What?” They’re kind of taken aback by it, so I think it’s funny.
Watch Ryan Cabrera’s ‘House on Fire’ Lyric Video