The familiar voice of Ryan Berg has been heard across music venues in the Dallas area since his rise to local stardom in recent years. With the release of his debut album, The Velvet Ears, Berg takes listeners on a journey of growth and discovery.
Drawing on musical influences such as Amos Lee and American soul musician Allen Stone, Berg strives to deliver a message that travels deeper than just the surface of everyday life.
“In terms of lyrical value, I really love what Allen Stone does,” Berg says. “Rather than just singing about girls or heartbreaks, he digs really deep into real-life situations, and I am trying to emulate that within myself.”
Berg, 25, is energetic and driven, and his interest in music started at a young age. He sang in church choirs as a child and taught himself how to play guitar when he was 16.
“I was so sick of singing karaoke tracks, and that is what pushed me to pick up the guitar,” Berg says. “After that, I started to write songs on my own, and before I knew it, playing guitar became more natural.”
For Berg, the concept of The Velvet Ears came to fruition after he returned from Texas State University in San Marcos along with a few buddies who are amazing instrumentalists. Berg wrote all of the songs on the album between high school and college.
“We don’t necessarily need to rehearse before playing a show, and these guys are so incredibly talented that they can just show up and get the job done,” Berg says.
Berg is making moves with a new album he's working on with a sound that digs deeper than his debut album. This album is inspired by folk music, is more broken down and centers on Berg's thoughts on bigger topics.
“It is more of a holistic album that is dealing with issues bigger than myself, and I think that that is a good way to open yourself up on a sophomore album," he says.
One of those issues that resonates on the new album is how Berg and his family dealt with his mother coming out as lesbian when he was 18 years old. Berg reflects on that experience in one of the new songs.
“I got hated on and had a difficult time dealing with complete ignorance of others,” Berg says. “This song speaks to that and how that part of my life has affected me.”
Berg hopes to continue to engage his listeners with lyrics that are true to the heart and mind. Playing with Sofar Sounds and other engaging and intimate venues allows Berg and his bandmates to bring a different type of energy than when they play larger spaces.
"When you have a crowd that is captivated in those types of intimate settings, I feel my music translates a little better,” Berg says.