Keen on Ryan Keen: Singer-Songwriter & Mental Health Activist
There’s no such thing as a perfect guy. Or so you thought! The talented singer-songwriter, Ryan Keen, is funny, kind, down to earth, and obviously hot. His sultry voice and guitar skills will croon and tune their way into your heart, and his activism will melt it entirely. Because while music is certainly his number one passion, he also focuses a significant amount of his efforts around advocating for an anti-stigma mental health campaign and working for nonprofit organization focused on men’s health. It is his deep understanding of the importance of human connection that is the driving force behind both his music and his activism, and we are here for ALL of it. We’re also here for the shirtless pics too, obviously.
The man has got a huge heart. He’s that friend who will be there, no questions asked, when you need him — either via phone call or at your doorstep, 6-pack of beer in hand. He’s got the whole package, ladies, and we’re not talking about the beer. He’s the real deal. In this second edition of Boyfriend Material, we chat with Ryan about his love for music and why mental health is of such personal significance to him. Check out our interview with him below and be sure to follow him on Instagram @ryankeen and Spotify.
Q - Who is Ryan Keen?
A - Haha I think I’m still learning and growing but I’m a Devon raised but London based musician.
Q - How and when did you get started as a singer-songwriter?
A - I got my first guitar for my eighth birthday, Originally learning classical and flamenco, but over the years learning many different styles. I used to do session playing and a little bit of backing vocals but only started as a singer songwriter when I was 21.
Q - Who are your musical influences?
A - I have a massively eclectic musical taste, but I think in terms of songwriting it would be Bob Dylan, Chris Martin, John Mayer.
Q - What’s your process when creating music? How do you know when a song is “finished?”
A - I normally sit down with a guitar and just start playing and things will generally develop from there, but it can be a certain melody or lyric will appear in my head. With “finishing” I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist so I’ve had to learn not to over-cook songs in terms of their production.
Q - When/where do you typically find inspiration for your music?
A - Everyday life… my experiences, observations, philosophies.
Q - Are you working on any cool projects now? If so, what?
A - I’m currently working on a covers EP which I’ll release soon, and then album 2 will be released later this year.
Q - If you could live in another period of time to experience music of that time, when would that be and why?
A - Probably the 60/70s… to have been around in the time when the Beatles/Hendrix/Motown would have been incredible
Q - Can you tell us about your involvement with WHOLE org and Movember? Why are these campaigns so important to you?
A - I’m an ambassador for I Am Whole which is aiming to raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health. I’ve more recently taken a job with Movember working on music/mental health work with the aim being on suicide prevention, and mental well-being.
Q - Have you ever struggled with taking care of your mental health? What advice would you give someone that might be dealing with mental health issues?
A - I’m much better in terms of ‘taking care’ of my mental health these days but I do still struggle sometimes with depression. My advice to anyone struggling is to try to talk to friends or family or professionals so you don’t feel alone with it and can get professional perspective on the best way to deal with it. Theres a lot that can be done on a day to day level to help maintain mental well being, such as exercise, meditation, eating well, establishing routine, sleeping patterns etc. If its got to the point where its too much then I think talking to people is essential.
Q - Outside of making music, what other things do you enjoy doing?
A - Running, surfing, travelling, comedy, and catching up with friends and family
Q - What is your spirit animal and why?
A - Haha I’m not too sure, I’ve been thinking recently an Eagle. I like/hope to be viewed as strong and independent….. and who wouldn’t want to be able to fly?
Q - Who are the 5 people (dead or alive) that you would invite to your dinner party?
A - Ghandi, Ali, John Lennon, Eddie Murphy and Florence Nightingale would make a pretty interesting dinner party!