Alabama country artist Ryan Kinder put himself through college by playing cover tunes with his brother at fraternities and bars. After meeting producer Keith Stegall, he was invited to Nashville to write. They’d spend Sundays and Mondays working together, he’d return to Tuscaloosa for classes during the week and play shows on weekends. Kinder maintained this schedule for two years, which ultimately landed him a deal with Bigger Picture. Unfortunately, the label folded soon thereafter.
Following a massive tornado that struck his city, the notion of mortality was driven home and he decided to up his game and move to Nashville. There Kinder sharpened his skills and his career focus, and in 2015 his gamble paid dividends when he played the CMA Music Festival. His set was seen by industry powerhouse John Esposito, now president and CEO of Warner Music Nashville. “I knew his name at the time but not his face,” Kinder recalls. “He said, ‘I’m gonna sign you in two weeks.’ I chuckled and thought, ‘Everybody’s a record exec in this town. Take it with a grain of salt.’ But two weeks later, I was sitting next to him at Warner signing the papers.
“He said, ‘I’m gonna sign you in two weeks.’”
“He’d heard about me and wanted to double-check that everything was as he expected,” the singer continues. “He’s a pretty astute guy when it comes to research and knows all of the comings and goings of the music industry. I think he had everything already in place, ready to go [when he met me]. All it took was a couple of conversations. [Sirius XM station] The Highway played my song ‘Tonight’ and that may have helped too.”
“Tonight” dropped late last year. Ryan Kinder's full-length album, currently untitled, is expected toward the end of the fourth quarter. The singer made his debut at famed Nashville venue the Grand Ole Opry on Feb. 6. The artist now lives in Nashville and collaborates with a range of songwriters including notables such as Ashley Gorley and Ross Copperman. He continues to spend significant time on the road and aims to continue the heavy schedule once his album drops.
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