Ryn Weaver: Wildly Wistful

It was as if the universe wanted her to find it. Though incapable of verbal communication, it spoke to her, clearly and emphatically. Yet somehow gently as well. The fool. She’d never thought of it that way before, but the image made it so clear.

Despite the cliff’s edge just a few steps ahead, the traveler walked on carelessly, seemingly at peace with his foolishness. A small dog, frantically barking, warned of possible danger ahead. The fool of course, kept going. Somehow, this random tarot card made her think about her life in a way she hadn’t before. Enlightened and contemplative, she composed a studio album of the same name, The Fool. Free spirited and wildly independent, 22-year old indie pop singer-songwriter Ryn Weaver’s music tells the story of her nomadic ways, wandering thoughts and wistful spirit.

ryn3Though she readily admits her album was very much influenced by the tarot card, she uses her music to explore the notion of foolishness deeper. Explaining it all to DIY, a music magazine, she states, “The album is called ‘The Fool,’ but it’s more about, ‘Are you a fool? Would you be a fool to settle for what you always thought you wanted? Or would you be a fool to leave and maybe not find that again, but maintain freedom?’” This unrelenting desire for freedom has shaped Weaver since her childhood. Born Erin Michelle Wuthrich, Weaver changed the spelling of her name to Aryn as a young child, claiming the ordinary spelling didn’t suit her. Never really wanting to confine herself to any one form of art, she studied musical theatre, painting, acting and music at the Canyon Academy in San Diego, California. When her mind continued to wander, she wrote poetry. But it was her move to New York City that really gave this songbird her wings.

After being accepted into NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for acting, yes, acting, Weaver was on the hunt to become a star. In between working at restaurants, she started dating. One particular relationship, sparked her song “OctaHate” (which translates to “Hate times Eight”) which not only received a million plays on SoundCloud, but was also the number 1 song on Billboard’s Emerging Artist Chart in June 2014. The song details one of Weaver’s negative past relationships that eventually led to her dropping out of school and meeting Benny Blanco, record producer for Jessie J, Katy Perry, Trey Songz, Wiz Khalifa and Maroon 5. The pop song, backed by a steady beat, mixed with nice crescendos. a relatable bridge, chorus and story line caught the attention of several pop stars. The instant attention caught Weaver by such surprise, she actually threw up as she read Paramore’s lead singer Hayley Williams’ praise.

ryn2“I think if you’re writing things that are truthful and beautiful and helping other people deal with their demons, then there’s room for you,” she told The Cut, a woman’s website created by New York Magazine. A quick look at the lyrics provide just a glimpse into why the song became so popular. Describing the all too often common breakup, Weaver sings: lost in the cracks of your landslide/ you saw me slipping on my blindside/I’m feeling lost, feeling tongue-tied/and now I’m frozen in your headlights/deep in the haze of your love high. While Weaver’s lyricism certainly paints a memorable, emotion drive image, her appeal is comprised of much more. Her high pitched voice, boho, carefree style and wistful spirit easily captures the hearts and allegiance of many young, millennial music fans. Her ability to blend various genres together, including synth pop, folk and alternative, also explains her vast following. But Weaver is a storyteller as well. In fact, her ability to musically deliver a kind of memoir of her failed relationships, fear of commitment and unquenchable love for freedom draws individuals to her. With her debut studio album selling 13,800 units the first week alone, it’s obvious she found the stardom she was looking for.

Making it clear that she’s not interested in being a poster child for the next generation of music, Weaver’s more interested in thinking about the role of women in relationships today. “There’s not a blueprint for people these days. You used to get married and have a family, or you didn’t. There were two distinct choices. I think we have found more power in our freedom…Maybe we’re more of a selfish generation, but maybe we’re just kind of afraid to settle,” she told Village Voice, a New York weekly newspaper. It’s this kind of thinking matched with overly romanticized lyrics and a sound quite unlike anyone else’s that adds to Weaver’s appeal.

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As a young adult the singer is still finding her place in the universe, but her refusal to settle down so quickly hints at just how far she could go. Her decision to drop out of college after only two years of study, reveals her wistful, go with the flow nature. Her love of Oscar Wilde and W.B. Yeats explains the overwhelming romanticism present in her music videos. Her thoughtful musing over a random tarot card reveals her spirit’s ever wandering nature. In so many ways, her track called, the “Traveling Song,” explains her nomadic ways. Nobody knows where they are going/ oh how we try to wrap our minds/ over the edge of all our “knowings”/ be it a bang of the divine.

Ryn Weaver’s music and persona exude the essence of a quote by W.B. Yeats. “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t met yet.” May we all be as unwilling to settle as she is; that’s the kind of perseverance dreams are made of.

-Sharita Gilmore