I hate to label artists “One to watch,” but I suppose that’s why people read the things I write, and I’m here to write that Ryan Pulford’s newest jam, “Better Off Alone,” is a tune you need to put into your ears right away.
Ryan is in his last year at Gettysburg college, but he’s been working on jams and writing for the past six years with electro-rock trio, A R I Z O N A — and if you know any of their songs from their full length LP, Gallery, you’ll know they can bring the hits.
Ryan brings us a more danceable track than his past releases, this time with more vulnerable vocals and truthbomb-typa lyrics. “Better Off Alone” is the type of track that maybe an artist like John Mayer would have released acoustically and someone really dope like Dillon Francis would have remixed it — only Ryan manages to handle both sides by himself. Easy to see that Ryan has the guitar and vocal chops to write a dope track, but also the production chops to make it current and most importantly, fun.
If this track were a cocktail, it’d be the sweet martini that goes down so smooth that you inevitably will drink too many and end up in the middle of Hollywood boulevard with mascara running down your face… or maybe that’s just me, but also, I’ll have another please, Ryan.
What inspired “Better Off Alone”? Is about someone specific?
I wrote ‘Better Off Alone’ last summer towards the end of a rocky relationship. On good days there was a crazy spark between us that I find difficult to even describe .. but as things ran their course we found ourselves fighting almost more often than not. At the end of the day we were at different stages of our lives and it wasn’t worth trying to pretend we were on the same page anymore. After a while we kind of just reached the point where it just wasn’t worth trying anymore. Whatever it is that gets you to that point, this song is about realizing you’re there.
How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard you before?
Lyrically, pop. That’s the heart of my music. I tend to let the lyrics and melodies dictate where I take things from a production standpoint. But most of the time things lean toward an electronic/dance vibe.. probably because I’m surrounded by it here at Gettysburg College.
You’ve written songs for other artists, what have some of your favorites been and why?
Any writing I do with A R I Z O N A is always a blast. I’ve been working with those guys for about six years now, Zach specifically became my mentor back when I was in high school. He and Dave are from the same town as me (shout out Glen Rock) so any time we write together it’s always great vibes.
What is your instrument of choice to play on stage? What instrument do you prefer to write with?
My instrument of choice on stage is definitely guitar … mostly ‘cause I like to move around a lot. And when it comes to writing it’s piano all day for me. There’s a building at school called Schmucker that has individual piano rooms that I tend to lock myself in on a daily basis.
If you could collab with any other artist alive or dead, who would you pick and why?
Gotta go with John Mayer. He was one of my biggest influences that got me into music. Working with him would be a dream come true.
If you were to pick someone to go on tour with, who would it be and why?
The A R I Z O N A guys are the homies so naturally touring with them would be pretty wild. But besides them Jon Bellion was also another big influence that got me into pursuing music as more than a hobby. I feel like I could learn a lot from him as a performer.
You have a few other singles out already — what are your plans next? An EP? Another single?
Once I graduate in May I’ll get right back on the music grind. The goal is to stick to singles for the time being. When I’m not doing music I’m pursuing a economics degree. After this release I’ve got about two weeks left before graduating so I intend to put most of my efforts toward a strong finish there (hope you’re reading this dad!).
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