Ryan Sims Band
Writer Lynette Carrington catches up with Ryan Sims about life before and after The X Factor.
Life is good for Ryan Sims. He’s enjoying writing music, playing, and performing in Arizona. As the lead singer of the band EastonAshe, Sims led a talented group of musicians as they worked at venues around the Valley. But as the EastonAshe band members got married and had families, their schedules got hectic. The band still performs every now and then, but the Ryan Sims Band has emerged as a Valley favorite and also incorporates EastonAshe members in its lineup.
Sims is a self-taught guitarist, singer, and songwriter who has loved music ever since he can remember. The musician has been inspired by everyone from the punk rock group The Offspring to James Taylor, whom Sims cites as a major influence in his acoustic guitar playing.
“I think I recognized early on that I listened to music in a different way than other people,” Sims says. “I didn’t just listen to the tune or the chorus or words. I digested it very deeply. I can remember really needing an outlet to regurgitate the things I was hearing as a kid. That’s why I started playing guitar.”
Although he later took some formal lessons, Sims found that he was more inspired and creative just doing things his way. “I decided that being taught the proper way wasn’t the best way for me to write my music,” he says. “Being improper was what made me me.”
EastonAshe found recognition with its original rock music and fun cover songs. The band sold 10,000 copies of its debut album Can I Drive It? The album went on to win the 2007 Independent Rock Album of the Year award, and in 2009, Sims won Singer/Songwriter of the Year at the Phoenix Music Awards. Then, an out-of-the-blue personal phone call from iconic rocker and Poison front man Bret Michaels encouraged Sims to participate on singing competition The X Factor. That opportunity catapulted Sims into a unique experience.
“Apparently, he [Michaels] is a friend of a friend, and he had heard the EastonAshe album and liked it. He thought he would give a local boy a call and encourage him to do something,” Sims says. In an X Factor sea of 200,000 hopefuls, Sims made it into the final 32 before leaving the show.
“The X Factor was a great experience for me personally,” Sims says. “I think it opened my eyes to the fact that reality TV isn’t necessarily reality. But it is really a great opportunity for an artist who isn’t getting much attention from a label or management or getting no production deals. It’s a great way for an unsigned artist to get a ton of free press.”
Sims released his first solo album, Ryan Sims, in January 2014. Comfortable with his unique brand of music, a form of rock-infused country, he’s looking to find management that will help him branch out beyond Arizona.
“I think I’ve always been country and just didn’t know it,” Sims says.
Ryan Sims Band performs regularly at Harold’s Corral in Cave Creek and McDowell Mountain Golf Course and occasionally at Copper Blues in Tempe, Salty Sow in Phoenix, and Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row in Scottsdale. The members include Sims on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, Jay Poole on lead guitar and vocals, Jeff Ocheltree on rhythm guitar and vocals, Perry Senn on drums, and Nathan Marshall on bass guitar and vocals. For additional information and performance schedule, visit ryansimsmusic.com.
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