Singer Ryan McMullan ready to hit the road after ‘pretty dark’ time
Co Down singer/songwriter Ryan McMullan has told how he battled a bad temper early last year when the Covid pandemic forced him into ‘lockdown’ and off the road.
The rising Portaferry star, who has been hailed by musicians Foy Vance and Gary Lightbody, said not being able to perform or tour for several months had become a ‘burden’ and ‘things got pretty bleak’ as the music industry took a huge hit.
McMullan had planned to release her debut album but the Covid outbreak hampered its launch. However, the time off gave him more time to work on the album and now Redesign is set to be released on August 26.
To coincide with the long-awaited release of Redesign, McMullan – currently playing across Europe – will be hitting the road again in a huge headlining tour. It will kick off at Custom House Square in Belfast on Saturday August 27 before touring the UK and Ireland, USA and Canada. Early next year, the tour will take him back to Europe and then Australia.
And McMullan, who is on the road regularly, says he can’t wait to unveil his new Redesign gear to his fans.
“I’m so excited to finally announce the release date for my debut album,” he said.
“After what felt like a decade of promise, the time has finally come and I’m very happy that we’ve finally arrived.”
Describing the concert hiatus as “surreal”, McMullan spoke of the dark times he was confined to his home, but the benefits that came with it.
“At first I thought it was going to be a little three month break, then it turned into six months and that was enough, but then it got pushed back for another year,” he said.
“That’s when things got really low for me, around January 2021. It just became a real burden. I felt confined creatively. I was trapped in my house, a nice house with my family there too, but still, it was confinement and I felt stuck there.
“Things got pretty dark and there are a few songs on the album that let people understand that. advantages than disadvantages.
“Somehow life got better in general, I had to do the album and rethink my future.”
McMullan has already released a single, Static, from the soon-to-be-released debut album and a second, Real Love, was released today. The young singer duets with Beoga’s Niamh Dunne on the track, which she also co-wrote. Recorded at Bannview Studios, Portglenone, it was the first of two songs written with members of Beoga that were recorded on the disc.
Real Love explores knowing when it’s right to walk away from something.
“It could be a relationship or the end of a relationship, or a friendship or even a job,” McMullan explains.
“When you know you know. We’ve all been there.”
The album’s recording process was shown in the documentary Debut, directed by award-winning filmmaker Brendan J. Byrne and shown last year on Galway Film Fleadh and the BBC. The film revolves around a four-day recording and listening session on Cruit Island, Co Donegal in late 2019, where Ryan and his team assessed all the songs competing for a place on the album.
Among the team featured in the documentary was friend and mentor Foy Vance and it was through the Guiding Light singer that McMullan found himself appearing on a recent episode of Derry Girls. Vance made an appearance as the lead singer of a band at a school reunion disco, attended by Ma Mary and Aunt Sarah while McMullan appeared as the band’s pianist.
“I got a call from Foy saying, ‘Hey man, would you like to play the piano for a TV, dressed as a 90s band?’” McMullan said.
“He didn’t say what it was. Foy likes to surprise you and this was a great surprise.
“It was so much fun to appear in Derry Girls, but it was hard not to laugh seeing Foy dressed up as that character.
“We got there in the end though.”
Ryan McMullan’s debut album, Redesign, will be released on August 26. The new single Real Love will be released on Friday, May 20. It will headline Custom House Square on August 27.