British Columbia-based singer-songwriter Ryan McMahon recently released his positivity-charged song “One More Fire”. has been capturing audiences with his wit and charm long before he became a musician. As an only child of a longshoreman and a future educator, he began entertaining early and started to love the feeling of evoking emotion from those around him. He has shared the stage with an extremely wide variety of artists including Lisa Loeb, Buffy Ste. Marie, Nickelback, and Mother Mother earned placements in the TV Series Californication and more recently in the Vancouver Island produced series Chesapeake Shores.
McMahon recently chatted with ai love music via email about his influences, what was it like to share the stage with so many famous artists, and what was it like to release his newest single. Check out his explanation of what “One More Fire” means and how he crafted the song down below. While reading, make sure to listen to the single! Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Hello! Could you tell us a little about yourself! How did you get into music?
I think I always wanted to entertain people; to move them into dance, laughter, or emotion. Evoking reactions and having effects on those around me have always been a part of who I am. I helped start a few bands in high school, eventually moved from Vancouver Island into the city, and kind of ‘painted by numbers’ for years; learning lessons about life and music along the way.
How has your musical journey been since your debut? What is the most important thing (value, belief, saying) you hold onto as a musician?
Great question! There are a few things I carry with me. I learned from early producers and friends that ‘serving the song’ was the most important mantra to bring into writing and the studio. It’s not always about how crazy the guitar or drum solo is or how many high notes I can sing in the outro, It’s about ‘how can I best arrange this tune so it connects with as many people as possible?’
I also believe that once I started treating a career in music as an actual job – ie: getting up early, brewing some strong coffee, getting on emails, phone calls, and recording – whatever the business of that particular day is – the more the career in music started rewarding me.
What artists or genres inspire your music?
I have many influences that span many, many different genres. Warren Zevon, Eddie Vedder, Gordon Downie, Lucinda Williams, Father John Misty, Tom Petty … George Harrison, Blind Melon, Elvis Costello, Lou Reed, the Doors’ ‘L.A. Woman’-era, Tom Wilson, Shovels & Rope. I really do ingest and hear it all, and take pieces of everything that has moved me over the years and weave them into what I do. I love music!
You have performed alongside so many artists like Lisa Loeb, Nickelback, and Mother Mother? How have those experiences been? What is something you learned from these artists?
Being a support act on a bill is a great opportunity to watch other performers work a room. Even if I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the artist or band I’m supporting, there’s something to be gleaned from witnessing another act go to work out there. One of the great by-products of this job is sharing the stage with all kinds of free-spirited, interesting people.
Let’s talk about your newest single “One More Fire”. It is such an upbeat, lively song! What is it about?
“One More Fire” came to me while I was on a mission to inject more positivity into both my personal life and my songwriting. I had a stretch of writing quite a few mid-tempo, or ballad-type songs, and I wanted to break that open & have some fun. One of the first songs out of the gate was ‘Fire,’ which is about living loudly, right now and finding happiness in every moment you can.
What inspired you to write this song?
During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, I found myself to be consumed with apathy and fear. I was sitting on my hands and stopped writing, and if I did it was dark material. Sometime during the loss of my Grandma and while my own mother was quite ill, I just snapped out of it. I found myself not wanting to waste another day. “One More Fire” means one more shot for me at the ‘ol dream I had when I was a teenager. One more chance at turning my thought process around and carrying myself with more positivity throughout however many years I have left on this rock.
The song itself skips along in a major key and doesn’t force itself on the listener, but the lyrics I’ve got in there are so very important to me personally, which makes it so great to reaffirm onstage, night in and night out.
Which element of songwriting (lyrics, certain melodies, sounds) did you really want to present in this song?
Melody is paramount. That’s what’s going to reach the audience first. If they really love it, they’ll go digging around inside the songs for further meaning, but all the new songs I’m coming up with these days have gotta have that ‘sing-along-ability’ first.
What do you want listeners to listen for in your music?
I hope they can find a relatability in my music. Some solace from a wild world in the form of a song. There are more options than ever for folks to be entertained, or even distracted, and I just hope they can hear honesty and something authentic in my music.
Any future plans?
Always! I’ll be playing some summer festivals over here in Canada, and who knows, perhaps I’ll make it to Japan one of these days!
Any final words for the readers of ai love music?
感謝します（かんしゃします. 🙂 Thank you very much for reading about my music, and I hope very much that you enjoy the single!
Make sure to check out Ryan McMahon at the following: