Note: Joint project between Jon Birondo and Michael White
Imagine the aftermath of your high school graduation. It’s a frightening thought, unless you’ve already gone through it. Now pretend that you attend college for a short time, and then you’re suddenly whisked away to Hollywood by Jessica Simpson’s dad. After some hustle, you become a star. MTV follows your every movement. You have a hit single on the radio. You transition from never seeing girls on a daily basis (having come from an all-boys Catholic school) to having a plethora of women adoring you. Such is the experience of Ryan Cabrera, Class of 2000. Michael White and Jon Birondo, both Class of 2015, recently had a short Q&A session with him. Here’s what he has to say about his life, as well as the impact of the Jesuit Dallas experience:
Jon & Michael: Mr. McDaniel (our Junior counselor) told me that your first public performance was at the Junior Retreat. Was this the moment that you decided to pursue your career as a musician?
Ryan Cabrera: It was indeed, and I remember being super nervous and enjoying that feeling…I liked the excitement and wanted to play as many shows as possible after that!
J&M: How did you discover music?
RC: I always pretended to be in bands as a kid but didn’t discover the guitar really until I was around 16 when I was bored at a buddy’s house, and I would just mess around!
J&M: Explain the chain of events from your leaving UTD to landing a record deal.
RC: Well I had played every single kind of venue you can imagine – I never turned anything down!! Even restaurants, (chuckles) – I think the critical turning point was Joe Simpson saw me perform at the Hard Rock and by the next week, I was with him and his family out in LA – I performed in the office of every label across the board and was told “no” everywhere…I kept at it, and about after a year of writing, I was signed to Atlantic after I wrote “On the Way Down” – then linked up with Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls to produce my album which was a dream!
J&M: Do you listen to any genres of music that are completely unlike your music?
RC: I mainly listen to old classics like Sam Cooke, Sinatra, Beatles, Paul Simon, Solomon Burke, Otis Redding
J&M: When did you realize “I’ve made it?”
RC: I always said if I ever had a tour bus, I had made it! Haha so that was a great feeling, but also singing with Smokey Robinson at The Songwriters Hall of Fame and receiving two awards really would be the moments.
J&M: Are there any artists that you wish you could tour with?
RC: My dream has always been to tour with the Dave Matthews Band!
J&M: What are you going for musically on your next release?
RC: The new record is very positive and fun, and I think a more mature sound than my previous records. I challenged myself to make a very diverse album.
J&M: I saw a picture of you and Sophia Bush in 2005. What’choo doin with my girl?
RC: Hahahaha she’s a sweetheart..we did some celebrity Grand Prix at the Super Bowl that year
J&M: What artists do you think deserve more coverage in music today?
RC: Singers like Aloe Blacc or Sam Smith who sing on the dance tracks, and everyone gives all the credit to the producer.
J&M: How long have you been interested in art?
RC: I started painting about 6 years ago when I was vacationing in Hawaii. I didn’t even know I could paint, but it turned into something creative I could do when I wasn’t in the studio
J&M: How did you start DJ’ing?
RC: I’ve always really enjoyed house music and being in clubs, so I figured why not be the guy who gets to decide what’s being played?! I love any aspect of performing live and DJ’ing is thrilling!
J&M: Would you consider performing at Jesuit?
RC: Of course!! Waiting for that McDaniel phone call brah!!!
So there it is. None of this might have happened if not for his experiences in high school. Even amidst all the fame, Jesuit’s indelible mark is worn by Cabrera. Once a Ranger, always a Ranger.Ryan Cabrera’s next album has a tentative 2014 release date.
Listen to “On The Way Down” By Ryan Cabrera (2004)