Spotlight Swinging His Way

A local boy is starting to hit it big in the music industry. Ryan W., who began his career on Broadway and as a backup dancer for big musicians, is enjoying the praise he’s been receiving about his newly released single, “Crave,” while putting the final touches on his full album.

Ryan, who lives in Kansas City and takes care of his mother, who suffered a stroke a few years ago, has always dreamed of this moment. He has been working nonstop on this single and album, and with help from Junior Vasquez’s engineering team, he has given us an instant dance classic, which has quickly jumped onto everyone’s radar.
Camp: How long have you been working on the album?
Ryan W.: Well, I’ve been working on the album for the past four months, and have been working on the single “Crave” for over a year. But I have been planning this whole thing for several years before my mom had her stroke.
What’s the next single?
The next single is called “Oceans.” It comes out June 23rd.
So, you have performed onstage with Ricky Martin, Britney Spears and Cher. What were you doing exactly?
I was doing backup dance.
Oh, did you start out dancing in your early career?
Well, I started in Broadway as a singer/dancer. I loved it, but I hated it (laughs). I was hoping that someday it’d be me up there, getting the spotlight.
Do you think that the setback, with your mom and moving back to Kansas City, has made you stronger?
Oh, yes. It’s made me focus a lot harder. And it’s given me more time to focus on it as well. I’ve gotten a lot of crap for being in Kansas, but I like it. It’s centrally located. I can easily just hop on a plane and go to New York or L.A. I might not choose to live here if the circumstances were different, but then again, all of this has happened while I’ve been here, so. …
And you were just in New York. What were you doing there?
I was recording every day! All day, then I’d go pass out. I was scheduled to open the Wendy Williams show, but it didn’t happen. I was too busy recording. I was on such a tight time frame. I had to do five songs in five days. If I didn’t get it done, I was going to be in big trouble. I got it done, though! But the weekend was amazing. I got to meet and hang out with people I’ve always looked up to. Inaya Day, Deepa Soul was there, Heather Leigh West. I never thought I’d get to meet them, let alone be in their “circle.”
So, last I checked, your single, “Crave,” was number three on Masterbeat. How’s that feel?
Well, it actually rose to number one. The day it came out, it was number eight. Then rose to three, which was the same day Lady Gaga and Beyonce’s “Telephone” came out. Then “Crave” rose to number one.
That’s great! What kind of feedback have you gotten from that?
I’ve gotten a lot, actually. It’s pretty big in Montreal so I’ve heard great things from up there. There’s a lot of DJs playing it. I’ve had Hex Hector and Manny Lehman contact me and say they love it. I met Hex in New York and brought him the singles CD, and he said he knows all about it already and who I was, so it was very exciting!
So you’ve mentioned some of your idols. Who are people you’d love to perform with, dead or alive?
Well, definitely Michael Jackson. And I really want to do some songs with Missy Elliott!
How did your release party go at Missie B’s a couple weeks ago?

Oh, it was great! When I got there, there was a line out the door. I was worried because it was Easter weekend, but it was packed that night. It was fun. I just got to sing once as it’s hard to perform at a club, as you don’t want to interrupt the dancing that people want to do.
Are you doing anything with Kansas City Pride or any other city’s Pride?
No, not here, unfortunately. And all of this is happening so fast, the single release, the making of the album. It’s happening really fast, so I had to take myself out of a lot of the circuit things. I’m only going to be able to do things, possibly, in Amsterdam, Barcelona, and a Chicago event.
Has being openly gay been a deterrent in making this album?
Oh, no, not at all. Plus, it’s never defined me. I’m a singer and performer first and just happen to be gay.
OK, how do you feel about Ricky Martin coming out now, so many years after he was popular?
Well, I used to work for him so I kind of had the inside scoop. I think it was more of a publicity thing.
What about younger or at least more current celebrities — do you think they should be out and open?
I think people should just be themselves. I think they need to be true to themselves. I struggled with it before when I started, but then decided that it was my life and if people didn’t like me being gay, then whatever.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Oh, definitely shop. I also have two pugs, so I love to just veg with them.
Are you single?
Yes, but I’m open to it [dating>. I’m just so focused. I’ve made some mistakes in the past. But this [making an album"> is a lot of work.
Oh, we’ve all been there. Do you write your own lyrics?
I do write some of it but I found a great songwriter, Stephonne Singleton. I’m not the best writer, but I’m pretty good.
Did you always want to be a solo dance artist?
Oh, yeah. I’ve been offered the boy band stuff, but just wasn’t interested. I wanted to do dance music. A lot of people think that a solo artist is just singing with a guitar or whatever or have a band. I wanted to dance and sing. Funny thing is, though, while doing this album, I’ve wanted to start doing pop songs too.
You said you dance while you perform. Have you ever had to lip sync?
(laughs) I do sing live. Sometimes I sing with a track. I did it once, though, and I haven’t since. But yeah, what you see on stage is me.
Do you use a lot of Auto-Tune on your songs?
No, not much. Maybe on a couple words or phrases that it’d sound cool on, but no, not a lot.
Would you have done American Idol?
No. I don’t think it’s the best way to do it. It’s a limited career. It’s just not for me.
What’s on your iPod right now?
Inaya Day, a lot of dance music, remixes, some Lady Gaga, Pet Shop Boys, Ke$ha, stuff like that.
What about your DVR?
Oh, definitely Real Housewives. I love New Jersey! And it’s on tonight, right? I love Brothers &amp

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