Back in January, I had the privilege of naming Ryn Weaver to my Class of 2015 project. In case you’re too lazy to click that link, the basic idea is that each year I choose 10 rising artists and closely follow their growth and progress for the next 365 days. My track record is pretty strong, and while nobody will likely ever top the run that Class of 2014 alumnus Sam Smith had last year, a few 2015-ers are holding their own so far. Ryn Weaver is arguably at the top of the pile right now, for a couple different reasons I’ll explain in detail.
First, there’s her debut album The Fool. It came out this summer and is a collection of fun, quality pop songs worth checking out if you haven’t already. More importantly, the record proved the hype behind her first single wasn’t a fluke. Her talents extend well beyond “OctaHate” to showcase introspective lyrics and a powerful vocal range that’ll make your eyes widen and jaw drop. Many wise radio programmers have picked up on this, and provided her some strong exposure on Top 40 and Pop stations around the world. That translates to a growing fan base.
Second, there’s her live show. Weaver performed at every major U.S. music festival this summer, including Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. I was fortunate enough to not only catch her set at Lolla, but an additional aftershow she headlined the night before. Yes, she’s got incredible stage presence and knows how to work a crowd. While there’s a certain element of predictability to her set given she has only released an album and an EP so far in her young career, each song takes on a unique and distinctive life apart from the recorded versions in large part because she performs with a full band. That’s unique for someone who makes pop music, where synthetic backing tracks and overdubs are commonplace on stage. She believes that live performances should be fully LIVE, and they’re all the better because of it. Her vocals only get better too, showcasing an elasticity that goes even beyond what you hear on record.
Third, she loves her fans. I’ve seen plenty of performers go out of their way to stick around after the show and sell/sign merch, which is always nice even though most of the time they just want to make a sale. When I saw Weaver back in August, she didn’t hang out at the merch booth, but instead greeted adoring fans outside of her tour bus. For over an hour. She not only took the time to sign everything people wanted signed, but she took lots of selfies and had lengthy, genuine conversations that arguably lasted a little too long. It took her about 90 minutes to make it through a line of about 20-25 people, so everyone got a highly personal and engaging experience with her. Not sure I’ve ever seen someone display that level of commitment to fans, which really speaks to the kind of person she is.
If you’ll be in Chicago on Thursday, November 12th, you can experience the magic and wonder of Ryn Weaver in person when she plays a show at Park West. It will likely be a wonderful evening, filled with great music and quality opening sets from ASTR and Holychild. The show is all ages and starts at 7, so it should be extra high energy and fun. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased in advance here. Hope to see you there!