Profile: Ry Cuming, Musician

Discovered in a hostel hallway in Costa Rica in 2006, singer/songwriter Ry Cuming is based in L.A. these days, and has found success performing in storied venues and climbing the charts with his Sara Bareilles duet, “Always Remember Me.”

Billabout caught up with the 22-year-old before he headed back to the homeland to open for Maroon 5 on their Australian tour. You can stay current on all of Cuming’s gigs, releases and videos by signing up for the newsletter at his website.

How did you end up being a full time musician in L.A.?

There was a movie producer staying in the same hostel in Costa Rica, and it turned out he had several friends in the music industry. He invited me back to Los Angeles to meet with his contacts – who became my friends and earliest collaborators.

(Photo courtesy of Ry Cuming)

That sounds like a sweet deal. Can you share some insights on the music industry in the U.S.?

It’s such a big industry that it can be a massive winding road. It’s also going through major changes and at times it can be strange, but the music itself is a beautiful thing.

What are your creative inspirations?
I’ve always been inspired by other musicians, travel, the sea, love, spirituality … and the roller coaster that is life.

What’s life like on the road?
I do yoga to keep me focused, and it means I can still indulge in the good food, wine, whiskey and the late nights.

What advice would you give to Australian musicians hoping to break into the U.S.?
Patience, persistence, humility and love of music reign. Stick to your own thing, and make the music you really would love to share with the world.

Amen, brother. What’s your favourite U.S. city?
I love Los Angeles because of the lifestyle – sun, surf and music. You can surf all year round in Malibu, and then hit up some of my favorite veggie restaurants — like Elf Café in Echo Park — afterward.

New York is great for getting blood pumping in the veins, so I love being there, too.

What towns do you rate that are off the beaten track?
Portland is a rad little city. It has a great lifestyle and a cool vibe. And Big Sur. I love where the mountains meet the sea.

What are the top three music venues in America?
Great American Music Hall in San Francisco
The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles
Bowery Ballroom or Webster Hall in New York

What are two U.S. festivals you’d recommend?
I guess Coachella, but it’s a bit of a nightmare — but an experience indeed — and Bonnaroo.

What influenced you in becoming a musician?
From an early age I’d listen to my dad’s vinyl collection. I used his old guitar and sang in a rock band in high school that was heavily influenced by the Grunge movement.

What is your creativity or songwriting process?

Right now, lyrically, I’m trying to be as honest as I can and let the emotions guide the way. It usually comes by the guitar being on my lap and my hands moving around it until something grabs my attention. Other times, an idea may come to me as I walk or wander around, so I’ll whisper it into a recording device to draw from later.

Favorite quote?
“Life of love, love of life.”

Your hero?
Jeff Buckley. He turned me on to writing and evolving as a songwriter.

Where are you from in Australia?
I’m from two amazing towns on the Eastern Coast: Angourie and Byron Bay.

Sweet. Do you miss anything about home?

I miss the beach culture, my family and the way of life. These things also seem to come up for a lot of my Australian friends. It’s really a great experience to travel and live overseas, but we Aussies are a different breed.

Ry’s Sauce

Recently, I’ve heard of a lot of Australians working really hard to follow their hearts into the art scene here in the U.S. and on a bigger scale, reaching internationally. It makes me want to keep pushing forward and creating what I love. I think that’s a real key to art … pushing each other, adapting and growing from that collective push.

I think Cate Blanchett is a great Australian role model for the arts in general. Her talent, humility and approach to her life and work are an inspiration.  I admire that she puts an incredible amount on energy in her projects Stateside, but also has a tremendous presence in Australia, nurturing the arts and theatre scene there.

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