We had the chance to get to know talented songwriter Ryan Tyndell last week, who is nominated for two GRAMMYs for his co-write on Eric Church‘s “Springsteen.” In our exclusive interview with Ryan, we learn details on Dierks Bentley‘s brand new album – which he’s in studio right now recording, writing “Springsteen,” what Eric Church is really like, and why Ryan is such a big fan of Charlie Worsham. Ryan is a great songwriter with a great personality, and see why you should be cheering for “Springsteen” to take home two awards for country music at next year’s GRAMMY awards.
Read our exclusive interview below and get to know the man behind the hits:
Alright, first of all, total disclaimer… I’m a CMA voter and I voted in “Springsteen” for almost everything this year.
Aw, well thank you! It’s a song that kind of found its own legs and it just keeps running. I’m so very thankful that so many people found it and can relate to it, and I’m so thankful for folks like you. It’s certainly changed things a little bit for me. I’m just glad that so many people like it. Anytime you write a song it’s like a baby, you hope that they grow up and this one certainly did. It’s like the Energizer Bunny (laughs). Other than this song, I’ve been pretty busy. I’ve been working on other projects, but I guess the thing I’m most excited about is a young man named Charlie Worsham.. he’s out on a radio tour right now. I’d say he’s my best friend in the entire world. His project has taken a few years to cultivate it, and I think it’s been getting a pretty good response at radio with his radio tour right now.
What’s the story behind “Springsteen” and what is it really like being around Eric Church?
Well, it was something that we just kind of started talking about on the bus. That song just developed from a long weekend of writing and hanging out – it was the last song of the trip. It was a Sunday night, which turned into Monday morning, and we were on our way back from St. Petersburg, Florida, heading back to Nashville. I was on the bus – I’m not really a night person, so after I watch a show from the side I’ll go back on the bus. One of the co-writers on the song, Jeff Hyde, who is in Eric’s band, I’m usually out there hanging out with him. I just happened to be on the bus a bit early and had a little groove going. Eric just kind of looked at me and said, “I have an idea,” and he didn’t even try to explain it, “Springsteen.” I just kind of looked at him like “okay.”
One of the things I admire about Eric is his way of writing a lyric, and one of the things that we both strive for, any what any writer will tell you – sometimes the title isn’t necessarily the story. The story is in the song, in the lyric, and how we tell the story through the song. Eric just kind of said that, and it was just one of those moments that felt like a divine intervention to me. You just write a song and put your head down with three minds that work well together – Jeff, Eric and me. That song was really just a combination of three guys that kept writing all weekend. Obviously, there’s a little back story about the memory of a love at a concert and a lot of people can relate to the song. We dropped a few song titles in there, tastefully, hopefully (laughs). There was such a fantastic production job on the record, and it didn’t sound like anything else out at the time. It’s something that I’m really proud of, I think we are all proud of.
As far as hanging out with Eric… if he wasn’t an artist and was just another songwriter like me, then I’d be trying to fill my calender with him. I think he is one of the best songwriters, and the way that his mind processes things and thinks just goes right with my vibe and the lyrics we come up with come out so naturally. Writing songs with Eric is easy because he’s a great writer, so I just try to wrangle the talent, that’s all I try to do. He’s a real low key guy, no nonsense. He might come off as the least friendly guy in the world, but I can guarantee you if he looks you in the eye and says something it’s the God-honest truth. That’s just the kind of guy he is. If he gives you his word you can stick your fork in it. I think of him as a good friend. He and I have a really great business relationship and he and I have hit it off, and I’m thankful to be someone in his circle of songwriters. That’s the long and short of it I suppose!
Have you been surprised at the success of “Springsteen” this year?
I’m the kind of guy that’s surprised all the time. I really don’t count on anything, the only thing I really count on is showing up for work and working hard. In this industry you learn to work harder and work smart. I’m so thrilled and thankful to even have my name in the hat with any industry award. Period. The only award I’ve ever won is a short story contest in second grade. So, anytime you can get some recognition as a songwriter is a surprise to me. I know things can come and go – one can go on a hot streak. I guess my philosophy is to keep my nose down and be there for my friends that I work with. I guess the long and short is that I’m not surprised at the success that Eric’s having because he’s been doing this a long time, but I’m just so surprised and thankful to be in the hat with those guys.
Another artist you’ve worked with is Dierks Bentley.
That’s something that I’m real excited about. Dierks is heading into the studio with a good friend of mine [this week]. He’s cutting his new record. Dierks is a real pleasure to hang with. I was just a fan of Dierks before I had my first deal. I’m just so thankful to hang out with a guy as talented as he is – his voice; he just has a range that is usually rare for men. I just like working with him to see where his brain is going. It’s cool to get to write with these guys and be able to see what’s there. Other than being just a great musician, Dierks spends his free time hanging with schools, with charities. He is an example for a lot of people to look at and that’s something I pay attention to. He’s been a real, real pleasure to work with and I’m real excited about his new project.
So you do have some cuts on his new project?
I’ve spent the last year co-writing with Dierks – he’s cutting five on [this past] Monday. I’ve been told I’m getting as many as three, possibly four. One of them is a Hilary Lindsey co-write, which we wrote with Gordie Sampson a couple of months ago, named “Bourbon in Kentucky.” I’m really excited about this one, and it’s one that Dierks really likes. Under Arthur Buenahora’s guidance I know it will sound like the hit that Dierks is going to make it.
There’s a song I had on Dierks’ Summer EP called “Summer On Fire,” and he’s actually going to re-cut that one this week. Hopefully, it’ll make the final cut on his new album. There’s another Dierks co-write, that I believe will be either called “Five” or “I Can Make It In Five.” It’s the story about young love and how it doesn’t fade. It’s a theme that I think the world can relate to, and I’m anxious for everyone to hear them.
What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment so far as a songwriter?
I guess my biggest accomplishment would be to a co-writer on “Springsteen,” to be part of a number-one song, and to write on Eric’s platinum album, to be part of a song on his headlining tour. To be considered with a GRAMMY nomination is really beyond my wildest dreams. When I wake up every morning I’m just so full of thankfulness and pinch myself every chance I get.
Who would you consider to be your dream co-write partner?
I have a few, actually, that might be not what you’d expect. I’m a huge rap fan, and I would love to have a chance to write with Timbaland, or if he wasn’t available, I’d love to collaborate with Ice Cube one day. I think the Predator is one of the best albums made in that year. For me, anything that came out of that town and that year really painted the picture for an eleven or twelve year old kid. I’m a big fan of what Timbaland does and the records he pops out. I’d just love to collaborate with somebody that’s completely different from what I do.
So you said you were just coming from a writing session today, so what have you been working on lately?
Today I had a co-write with Hilary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson again – it’s kind of my regular day. When our three minds get together there’s just so much to offer. Other than that, there’s a young man from East Texas called Ryan Beaver, he just signed a publishing deal here in Nashville. We’ve been writing some songs and I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a young man sing as well and just have his own style right out of the gate. That’s another project that I’m thinking about cultivating. Other than that, collaborating with Charlie Worsham. Charlie will actually be playing on Dierks’ record.
I’m all about cultivating those relationships and keeping them going. I want to be the one guy on the team that never stops moving. That is the in and outs of it, other than cranking out as many good songs as I can. I’m a big believer on quality rather than quantity – I’m not the kind of guy that pumps out 150 songs a year, it’s more like 30 to 50. I always have my eyes and ears on the ground for any good project that comes my way. I guess that’s the philosophy on being successful this business. I want to be the flexible guy that can play the instruments for the record, or the engineer, or the producer, or the lyric guy – I wear many hats and want to wear them well.
I’m ready for a short Christmas break and I’m pretty excited for the New Year.
Are you planning on going to the GRAMMYs?
I am! My wife and I will attend. We will have to get a babysitter, we did have newborn who is seven weeks old. That itself is such a blessing and such a life-changer – there’s a whole new world to write about with a new perspective. I’m looking forward to the future and taking these things day by day with hard work.