For several years, nomadic troubadour Elaine Ryan has been pouring her heart out and hustling to get her songs heard around the world, playing in locales as far-flung as Vancouver, Montreal, Maui and San Francisco. Her seventh year playing out proved particularly lucky, with a generous fan and patron supporting her latest release, Sunsets & Twilights. The funding enabled her to collaborate with respected Vancouver producer Winston Hauschild, and engineer and mixing wizard Shawn Cole to create the type of top-notch, quality recording that used to be the sole preserve of artists signed to a large record label.
Ryan first served notice of her creative potential with the 2007 release of a six-song EP, Sisters. It earned a warm response and college, community and CBC Radio play, while club gigs in her Vancouver hometown showcased her prowess as a natural performer. Her song “Dream of Peace” won an award for best soundtrack in a local film competition and was placed on the L.A.-based Dream On! charity compilation, in support of Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.
In 2010 she followed up with a full-length self-produced album, Songs From the River, which garnered positive reviews on tour and in local media. Her song “Kiss Me With That Poem” was picked up by North Carolina’s Backyard Records, and recorded on Holly McCormack’s 2012 album So Far From Reality.
Ryan has organized four successful tours, including a west coast US tour, a cross-Canada tour with Melissa Bandura and a BC/Alberta tour with fellow Lilith Fair contest runners-up, Aspen Switzer and Genevieve Rainey. As well as placing in the top-ten of a contest to perform at Lilith Fair, she placed in the Shore Song Search’s top 20 in its first year.
The stars aligned for Ryan on a summer evening in 2011 as she performed at a tiny venue in White Rock, BC. A fan, who had bought and enjoyed her previous work, expressed an interest in helping her to make a fuller, more-produced recording that could help move her along in her career. After several meetings and discussions, she began looking into producers and engineers. Ryan is clearly grateful for the break. “Everyone knows that the music business is in flux right now. Maybe it is tilting more towards patronage, the way that visual arts has in the past. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to move forward in this way as a recording artist without this support.”
Sunsets & Twilights is the proud result of Ryan's work with producer Winston Hauschild. She steps out of the comfort zone of the folk-acoustic genre with upbeat pop-rock songs like "Ships" and "Give Into This Feeling."
In 2012 Ryan married a surfer moved to Maui, where she played several nights a week at bars and resorts, honing her performance chops and turning a passion into a full-time job. On Maui, she met up with Emmy-Award winning cinematographer, Jess Craven, to produce music video for her surf-pop song “When the Wind Blows Kona.”
In July of 2017 Ryan moved to the Bay Area, where she has been surprised to find quick success earning her living as a musician. A simple google search of “singer san francisco” or “musician san francisco” and her profile appears in the first link, making it easy to connect with her audience.
Asked how she feels about the move, Ryan says “I already love it here. I have an album’s worth of new songs and I feel like this is a place where people really connect with my message and style. The artistic community, the politics, the landscape...I feel like I’ve come home.”