Ryley Murray is a new jazz singer that will breathe new life into the Toronto scene. She is young and beautiful and very open to weaving herself into this silvery landscape. We met at a Starbucks and this is what Ryley had to say.
BT- First question, How’s your Mom?
RM- She’s great! She’s killing it! She’s been in Brazil since July, and she already did an amazing gig. She has found these jazz musicians, and then the next day went to a renowned jazz place in the city and met the same musicians. So she is super involved into the community. I don’t think she is ever coming back. HaHa…
BT- How long have you personally been doing this?
RM- I have been doing this for about 4 or 5 years, but have kicked it up for about a year. My mother used to encourage me to go up on stage with her, and I went along, but maybe I was a little shy back then. My boyfriend of 2 years is a really talented musician. He’s been a recording artist since he was 12 years old. His encouragement and inspiration help me want to do this more seriously.
BT- When did your Mother start?
RM- My Mom stared when she was just a baby. Her father was a musician, who played with Oscar Petersen, Willy Nelson used to babysit my mother and taught my grandfather his first few chords on guitar. My Grandmother was also a jazz singer in Montreal.
Ryley went onto describe life growing up. With a musical family, Ryley seems to be blossoming late, but that is not the case. She wanted to pursue acting and went to George Brown College to learn her craft. She eventually found work in a PR firm and is very happy with this creative environment.
BT- So how did you get the gig at The 120 Diner?
RM- So I got that through Ori Dagan, who is a friend of my moms. Also through my mom and the connections she has. Even before my PR days, I worked at WWF and met these guys who were also musicians and started a band called Pandaband. Once I began to pursue this more seriously, I hooked up with musicians that my mom worked with.
BT- You obliviously have a wide range of musical knowledge, who would be your influences?
RM- I would say the Beatles. I have always loved them. I would say Beyonce. From jazz I love the greats like Ella Fitzgerald, The Rolling Stones, Etta James, Bob Dylan, Prince, Michael Jackson and David Bowie, who is huge for me.
BT- What are you listening to right now?
RM- Right now, Chance the Rapper, who is a Hip Hop artist, because right now I am working on an album that I hope will break boundaries. I feel that I am constantly listening to bands that have been around for decades. On the way into work I was listening to “Breaking the Girl”, by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which I am adding to my repertoire. We played that the other night and it went over very well.
BT- Where would you like to go with your music?
RM- When you saw me and my boyfriend at the jazz festival, we are working on an album with Jordan O’Conner. The two of them are outstanding writing partners. Jordan write gospel music and Bobby write Hip Hop. Bobby is writing at a style that I can sing at. Hopefully this album will be done six months to a year from now.
BT- If you could play anywhere tomorrow, where would it be?
RM- It would be Massey Hall. Jordan and Bobby and I were talking about that yesterday. The place has a smell to Massey Hall like…history.
BT- It is something you have to strive for.
RM- Yes it is on my list.
BT- You should find a jazz band playing Massey Hall and slide into the opening spot.
RM- Yeah, I will have to figure something out.
BT- So, the band consists of you…
RM- Yes, and Jordan O’Conner and Bobby McIntosh.
BT- Do you have a working title yet?
RM- No, were too early in the process. We will bring in other amazing players, when we are ready for that stage. Bobby and Jordan have about forty songs in the works that are blossoming. We are still figuring out what eleven or twelve songs will actually make the album. The plan is to hone into three or four every couple of weeks and finish them. We don’t even have a name for our group yet.
BT- That’s the worst.
RM- It is the worst, it is so hard.
Well personally, I can’t wait to hear what these three diverse artists create. Al I know is it will not be what you are expecting, but I believe many musical communities will come together and celebrate another developing band that will make Toronto great. I will keep you informed on their development. A new efflorescence will spring in due time.