Interview with singer/songwriter Ryan Lane

Today on What On What’s Good with Jovin Tardif, I am here with Ryan Lane. Lane is a singer/songwriter born and raised in New York City. His musical influences are Chris Brown, Brandy, and Usher. He started his professional music career in his teen years as a featured member of the Harlem Boys Choir. Fun fact: Ryan had the opportunity to travel the world sharing the stage with the likes of Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and The Backstreet Boys. You may have also heard Ryan as he did the background vocals on multiple songs for reggae icon Shaggy and legendary pop superstar Sting. In our interview, we discussed his experience on world tours, a few songwriting tips, some memorable moments in the Harlem Boys Choir, and Project 718, his latest single ‘Forever’, iLLTown Sluggaz, and much more.


1. Can you describe your time travelling the world and sharing the stage with the likes of Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Backstreet Boys, and more?

Hey, what’s up! What on, What’s good with ya’ll? Being in The Harlem Boys Choir was definitely one of the most life-affirming experiences I ever had. To be able to be on the stage with the likes of Whitney and Stevie Wonder. I think at that time I was just really excited. These were moments I’ll never forget. They were in the place where I, as an aspiring singer & performer wanted to be. To be around them as a young person was awesome.

2. Describe the process you use for songwriting? (Any tips you can offer to other musical artists, Describe creating 3 songs for BET Networks holiday film “Hip Hop Holiday”).

There’s no particular method. Whether raunchy, inspirational, uptempo or a ballad – it really depends on the moment and how I’m feeling. Sometimes It’s like “wow this song went from nothing, just an idea to a whole vibe, a whole song.” As far as tips, expressing your gifts right there on the spot is probably one of the most liberating experiences for me.

As far as the music we had the blessing of adding to the BET film “Hip Hop Holiday” my team Lady And A Tramp were scoring the film with the Legendary DJ Eddie F and I knew I’d be lending a hand by adding original songs to sprinkle around the score elements they were creating. Perfect example, I had an idea for a song called “Mistletoe (Waiting)” that ended up featuring one of my favorite singers Donell Jones, Marcella Precise, Taneka Samone, and myself, I just found myself in a zone. I was having a glass of Red Wine and just thinking about being with the one you care about around the Christmas Holiday. I called the guys up and told them “I HAVE ONE”. They took it from there, we got together and finished writing something special.

3. Highlight some memorable moments in the Harlem Boys Choir and in the group Project 718.

My most memorable. Wow, so many! Ok, I remember when the Harlem Boys Choir went to Israel – I got a chance to float in the Dead Sea! I also remember meeting the late great Micheal Jackson when we performed at the legendary Apollo Theatre. Everything was always an experience. Especially for a child growing up in the hood, we learned things like how to tie a tie and proper table etiquette for a dinner party. The Harlem Boys Choir was nurturing leadership in all of us. As far as my former group Project 718, I’d have to say a major memorable moment was when the group signed a deal and we were able to work with some of our musical heroes like Tank, Warryn Campbell & Harvey Mason, it was a really great time. I’m grateful.

4. What was it like singing background vocals to multiple songs with Shaggy and Sting? How would you describe the experience?

Wow! First of all, to be able to be a part of a Grammy-winning album and doing backgrounds was amazing! I worked with Shaggy previously (via Lady And A Tramp & Ill Wayno) but Sting… maaan..Just to know that he’s Sting! It felt like a family unit and I was able to do what I wanted vocally and I’m thankful to be a part of it. Sting lived up the street from the studio and walked up the street to the session, with no security, no “people”. He was kind and it was crazy! Shaggy is THE Man! My big bro forever and major talented.

5. Tell us about your new single ‘Forever’ and creating the new music video (Illtown Sluggaz featuring Ryan Lane – Forever)

I love “Forever”. It’s one of those songs that people keep saying “feels timeless” and I’m thankful that new fans are vibing to it. We had a great time making it. Shout out to Lady And A Tramp and Naughty By Nature’s Vin Rock and super-producer KayGee. Shooting the video was all love. It came out dope even with the pressure of preparing and filming it super quick! We were in the middle of self-quarantine here in NY, so I styled myself. The leading lady TK choreographed it and we practiced over Zoom and director BMarFamous had a great eye for the shots. It was a great day. We ventured out, practiced social distancing, and got it done. Shout to everybody that has the song and the video on repeat. Illtown Sluggaz we’re here! And we got more heat coming soon.

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Tags: Ryan Lane, Forever

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Jovin Tardif
Jovin Tardif is a freelance writer, storyteller, interviewer, reviewer and conversation starter.