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Charleston-bred Ryan Lill: music, debut album and being 'Zac Efron's underwear'

Ryan Lill is sweet; very candy-esque. Ryan's smile is highly contagious, for it appears to have über-powers when it builds to an adorable grin. From promotional images, to having a chat face to face, his hands have a tendency to bury themselves inside pockets, from a vest, jacket or hoodie. That is, until he begins to use his limbs as he explains his plans and aspirations.

Charleston-bred queer singer-songwriter
Charleston-bred queer singer-songwriter
Sarah Droze Photography
Ryan Lill
Ryan Lill/BMI Publishing

Lill says he has a tendency to gravitate and write "depressing songs: pop-y, yet a bit of anger". That explains the follow-up (planned single) to first track "Coming Out", being titled "Kerosene". "I sat on [the music] for a long time" he adds "[I was] nervous and afraid it was not going anywhere."

But now he has signed a publishing deal with BMI publishing. Lill says to have taken the indie route, which means out-of-pocket expenses are palpable. But it keeps him going and aiming for more. What does Ryan call his inspiration? "Fake it til you make it!"

The parent album of the tracks is slated to be released digitally come June-ish. "Coming Out" is available now, and "Kerosene" is released April 1st. He is still recording and mastering tracks for what he hopes will become a twelve-track album. "It is weird being in the studio. I do not know anything about decibels. I just go there to sing and record."

Lill is a Charleston, South Carolina native. The singer admits that musically it is "difficult to play- but I have a following (thankfully!)". The beach, jazz predominant music is not his forte. iTunes, he informs, categorizes him as pop-indie. "I'll take it!"

How do you see your musical trajectory?

"I do not know. Keep taking the gay route. [The music] is about me, my journey of coming out. I have nothing bad to say [about the experience]. You should not feel badly about something you cannot change."

He is discussing the subject matter of "Coming Out", his launching single. He adds that most people "do not listen lyrically" but he wanted to create a sense of support and just put it out there right at the beginning of his musical start.

"I wanted it to be catchy and having something...People in general [inspire me]. Friends who push me to do this. I find inspiration in Vivian Jones from Oklahoma. She was my music teacher in middle school and got me to all-state three years in a row. She feels good [about me now]. Pop pronunciation irks her- t's, p's and d's!"

Who inspires you in music today?

"Mary Lambert...her solo work. God, it is so good! Her personality- she seems down to earth. Tegan and Sara! I have always been in love with them!"

More queer artists: Austra, Angel Haze, Zebra Katz, The Irrepressibles, Eric Himan & Ani DiFranco.

More on Ryan:

Full name: Ryan Rowland Lill

Nickname: Rhino (by family)

Height: 5'8

Zodiac sign: Aries (basically I'm an asshole)

Tattoos: 7, mostly music related.

Piercings: 2 currently. Septum & tongue.

Favorite color: Orange. Like fall pumpkin orange.

If you were not human, you would be: Zac Efron's underwear... or a cup of coffee lol

Person responsible for driving you into music: I'd like to think that my life experiences are responsible.

Best thing about being a performer: The rush you feel when people are singing with you.

Hardest thing about being a performer: Sleeping, hatemail, and probably dating.

Which one of your projects identifies you best today: Probably a new song called "stay young." I think it definitely describes how I feel a lot recently.

Sum up yourself in ONE word: Different.

More interviews: Laura Pausini, Vanessa Carlton, KENN, Mary Lambert, SATURN, Stephen Dittmer, Stephan Nance, Mark David Gerson, Eric Himan, Kevin J Thornton, Sammy Crawford, John Carrasco, YogaBear, Bryan Nevin with Christopher Van Etten.

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