In life, our only constant is change. Its ubiquitous presence observed in real time with no regard to whether we’re prepared for or in favor of. Our only control is in the moment of now: how we reflect, and how we set our course toward the future. With “Stay”, Ryan Kinder has powerfully captured the vulnerability of uncertainty with a passionate plea to find comfort in the present.
“At the root, this song is a prayer, a mantra, a plea to the one you love to walk alongside you through life’s journey of ups and downs,” explains Kinder. “In a moment when everything is crashing down around you, [“Stay”] is a cry to the one person you can count on, hold on to, fight through the circumstances and walk out of the fire together."
Co-written by Kinder, Fred Wilhelm and co-producer Luke Sheets, “Stay” isn’t a new creation, but found its way to the top of pile of songs through a series of recent life events. “I wrote this song for a friend’s wedding over five years ago; but, little did I know that the message of that plea would take shape into a whole new meaning,” he says.
No stranger to adversity, Kinder found his way to Nashville in 2011 after a near-death experience when an EF4 tornado ripped across Tuscaloosa, AL and the University of Alabama neighborhood where he lived.
The early years in Music City had a tornadic feel of their own for Kinder. His first record label shuttered just days after releasing his debut single – “Kiss Me When I’m Down” – despite its sales success. An in-demand artist, another deal followed but often with an insulting criticism that his style was “not country enough,” despite the global success of “Close” (now over 40 million on-demand streams).
Now, as the boomerang journey comes full circle, Kinder’s relentless optimism has shone light on a path to success reminiscent for him to his first musical vision. “Music is my first love,” he says. “It has been my companion and saving grace more times than I can count.”
Finishing his debut album has been therapeutic and validating. During this time, a remake of rock ‘n’ roll legend John Fogerty’s “Fortunate Son” made its way to the Hall of Famer who reciprocated by inviting him out on tour for the summer with fellow rockers ZZ Top. As if that weren’t surreal enough, the run was capped off with a bucket-list-come-true opportunity to share the same stage as Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Steve Winwood and Gary Clark, Jr. for London’s British Summer Time festival at Hyde Park.
“Stay” joins a trio of preview tracks recently released in anticipation of his album to be released soon. For Kinder, he has found rejuvenation in blending his self-proclaimed style of “riff-roaring rock with a side of sweet southern soul” with lyrics that provide an honesty only he can attest to.