It’s been a long road since Ryan Knorr last released an album in 2010. The ups and downs of daily life, a death in the family, and vocal issues that continue to nag the singer to this day were plenty enough inspiration to produce more of the heartfelt and personal songwriting that the 28 year old has become known for.
What emerged out of the life experiences since Knorr’s last album is a collection of songs that fill up his latest work entitled, “The Darker Side.” It’s a phrase that continued to pop up when Knorr was deciding on what to name his new project.
“The first song on the album is called “The Long Road” and it’s one of the first songs I wrote for this record. The song is very personal to me and has a very specific backstory related to it. However, without knowing that backstory, I think it’s broad in interpretation and because of this I was considering it as the title of the album as a whole. But as things progressed and I wrote the song “The Darker Side”, I just knew that that was the title that seemed to sum up the whole collection of songs.”
In this day and age of social media and public profiles, it might seem like the fans know all there is to know about the artists, but for Knorr, perception of who he is as an artist and as person seem to be two different things.
“The last song on the album is the title track and I think it touches on what I feel about how people might perceive me as a person because of what they hear in my music. My inspiration has always come from the struggles that we all go through in life and sometimes those are just the “darker” things that people feel uncomfortable talking about.”
“My music and songs are just one side of me and for those that know me on a day to day basis, their reaction can be that of a little bit of shock when they see the serious topics and subject matter that I touch on in my songs. I sometimes still struggle with that reaction but I’m learning I can’t be afraid to write about certain things just because they might be too serious or sad or whatever the case may be, and I have to let the art be what it is. Outside of my music I’m just a quiet guy who likes to be at home with my wife and dogs, and watch all kinds of sports. So for those who only know the “music side” of me, that fact might not seem to fit my music persona, but it’s just reality.”
When approaching this album Knorr knew he wanted to get back to his roots as a solo artist and produce an album that was much more acoustic and stripped down.
“I really started to build my audience from the videos I uploaded to YouTube and a lot of the comments seemed to focus on how much the listeners enjoyed the raw and emotional feel generated from just my voice and my guitar. I wanted to bring that same feel to this album.”
So that’s exactly what Knorr did. He created eleven songs that feature his voice, simple instrumentation, and the lyrics all at the forefront of the music. And because of this, Knorr also decided to experiment in another way. He decided to release each song exclusively, one by one, with a “behind the song” blog post revealing his thoughts and stories behind each song on the album.
“Most artists like the mystery of songwriting and a lot of them don’t like to share the stories behind the songs, but I felt like an even stronger connection could be made with the listener by doing this. It’s something I’ve always been fascinated with so instead of leaving the listener to wonder, I gave them the back stories and I still believe the songs can be adapted and shaped to mean whatever the listener wants them to mean in the scope of their own lives and experiences.”
As Knorr continues on his journey and gets a little bit older and wiser, it’s evident through his “behind the song” entries that writing “The Darker side” has not only changed his own perspectives and taught him some valuable life lessons, but that he wants to pass on these positive messages to the listener. There’s a mystery as to what will come next for him and his songwriting but rest assured, he won’t be afraid to write a song about what might be cluttering his mind and he won’t be afraid to tell you the story behind it, either.