Ryan Santiago aka Royal & the Serpent, is the LA based singer songwriter that’s ready to shake up the alt-pop music scene. We are first introduced to her with her debut single,” Temperance” back in 2017. Then in the two years following this she releases song such as “Weddings & Funerals” and “Salvador Dali”, both racking up 100,000’s of views on Youtube.
In June of this year she made the transition away from being an independent artist and signed with Atlantic Records, debuting with her most successful song to date “Overwhelmed”. With more than 2 million listeners on Spotify currently, she makes way for her recently released project entitled, “Get A Grip”. The project features two new original songs (“Choke” and “Warn you) alongside a reworked version of her streaming success “Overwhelmed”.
“I wrote the whole thing with my buds Will Jay and Jeoff Harris, and had the pleasure of co-producing all of the songs with my beloved friend Marky Style,” said Royal regarding the writing process behind her new project.
This November 16th, she will be joining British artist Yungblud , for his global virtual tour ‘The Weird Time of Life’. Royal recently took the time out to chat with us at LADYGUNN about how the pandemic has shaped her as creative, what it’s like preparing for a virtual tour and the themes behind her latest project.
Where did you get your inspiration to do music?
My pop-pop initially for sure. he was a killer musician. one of those ‘pick up and play anything impeccably’ types. looking back, music was a big part of my upbringing, even before i knew i wanted to pursue it. it was always so deeply encouraged and celebrated. i feel incredibly lucky.
What genre would you categorize your music as being?
Funnily enough lately all I want to do is make dirty grungy punk rock music. most of the time that’s actually what i’m aiming for when i’m writing a song and yet somehow they all still come out sounding inevitably *alternative-pop*.
I saw you said that with your first single “Overwhelmed,” you mentioned not wanting to glamorize anxiety. So how do you think artists appropriately discuss mental health issues in their work?
By telling the truth. i think as artists, it’s the most important thing we get to do. by being authentic and honest in our art, we invite others to do the same within themselves.
Before you got into music I read you were a professional dancer, tell us a little bit about how you made that shift?
Well, it was totally by accident if i’m being honest. when i was 14 i jumped off a stage and shattered both my heel plates. so naturally, my dance career came to a crashing halt. i got my first guitar for Christmas that year and the rest was really history.
Your new project ‘get a grip’ is out and it includes two new tracks, what was the theme behind it?
‘get a grip’ is me, at 2am, staring at myself in the bathroom mirror, telling myself to “get it together sis”…’ choke’ is me recognizing my own worst enemy is myself, and ‘warn you’ is just a big caution sign that reads “i told you so”.
What would be your dream collaboration?
Oh, dominic fike for sure
In what ways has the pandemic shifted/transformed you as a creative.
I feel like i’ve literally been inside a cocoon – evolving, changing, growing, etc. silver linings wise, the pandemic reminded me how to slow down – something i had completely forgotten how to do. and yet, in slowing down i feel like i’m growing faster than i ever have? it’s kind of wild really.
What are some of your long-term goals as a musician?
I really want to make films. i want to write albums as stories, and direct films that use the music as an anchor.
You’re going on a digital tour with Yungblud next month, how has it been preparing for it and can we expect some possible surprise performances
Firstly, i just have to say how grateful and stoked i am for such an opportunity. Yungblud has been on my list of *dream acts to tour with* for forever so this is all still so surreal. so far i think my favorite part of prep has been getting to build the wardrobe. getting all dressed up again after months of lounging in my sweats is truly incomparable. plus we start rehearsals today and getting to rock out for a week straight is pretty much my heaven on earth. Oh and Yes! Be prepared for surprise(s)
CONNECT WITH ROYAL & THE SERPENT
Photos /courtesy of Atlantic Record
Story / Jada Jackson