To mark our tenth anniversary, we took the time to get reacquainted the then model and now musical artist who appeared on our first cover, ten years ago!

By Marie-Eve Venne

A lucky few are simply born with it: the quality that makes everything they do look as though it’s easy to accomplish. Most of the time, however, it takes much more than a good dose of luck to make true talent shine. It’s only with the right combination of hard work and determination that you can reach the top. This has been the case for Ryan Martel (a.k.a. Ryan Playground), a successful model turned musician.

 

Do you remember the day you did the cover for Dress to Kill magazine? How did it feel to be on set?

I remember that the team had a lot of energy. They were all super excited because it was the first cover shoot. It was quite late, I think, and we were shooting in a small room. I was on a piece of white cardboard on the floor. It was a little hectic but fun and overall ended up with great results.

You said many times that being a model was never a dream of yours and that it simply happened. Do you feel ready to stop modeling, now that your musical career is taking over?

I never really wanted to make a career out of it – it was more of a sideline. I’ve pretty much stopped. I’m still open to working with the fashion industry, but more as a collaborator than as a model.

How did you cultivate your musical talents?

As both of my parents are musicians, I was always surrounded by music. It quickly became my passion once I got my first guitar and drum set when I was around five years old. I also started taking some violin lessons shortly after that. Even though I had a really fun teacher who was also my mother’s friend, I always preferred to learn stuff by myself and play music by ear. Lessons weren’t really my thing. I realized quite early that what I really loved was writing my own music. This realization got me into writing when I was really young and it kind of became a necessity to me.

 

 

What is the best advice you have ever received for your career?

It’s tough to pick only one piece of advice. I would probably say the best is something my mom told me for when I’m trying to overcome stress before a show. Whenever there’s a huge crowd and I’m scared that people won’t like my show, she says I need to remember that there will always be one person to connect with in the crowd — one person that is having the time of their life, and that the energy this single person can give me will somehow ground me. It works for me. I honestly think about this advice before pretty much any show I do, no matter the size.

Which city in the world inspires you the most to create?

There’s not really a specific one. I always need to write regardless, so the place doesn’t matter to me. I never know what exactly is going to inspire me, because I can be inspired by even the simplest things. It’s more about the timing than the place.

As both a musician and a model, you travel pretty often. How do you think travel affects your music?

I don’t really model anymore, so that limits the traveling. I’m mostly at home keeping busy, working on my next projects, and finishing my marketing degree at UQAM.

Do you think you could get any better as a musician? And, if so, how would you achieve that?

For sure. There’s no end to getting better. Right now, for example, I’m working on my first live set, which is nearly finished. So, my main focus right now is to be a better live performer. It’s really just a matter of practicing non-stop.

 

 

 

Do you feel that you can’t be a musician without being vulnerable?

I think that any human, musician or not, is vulnerable to a certain degree. And I think music can be seen as a result or an expression of this universal vulnerability. Yet, I don’t think that exposing or assuming this vulnerability through music should be a requirement to be a musician. For me, a musician is simply someone who uses music as a tool or a language to express something, [and] that can be anything. Vulnerability can then be the result of this personal expression reflected through music.

Has there been one particular moment in your musical career that you’re most proud of?

Releasing my first EP called Elle via Secret Songs/Last Gang Records was big for me, and I’m super excited to share my next project with them again. Secret Songs has always been my dream label.

What’s next for you?

I have an album that is almost ready to be released and a live show to go with it. That’ll be a big step for me – I’m excited!

Check out RYAN Playground’s new single, Tokyo (feat. Partisan Records’ artist, Lontalius), out now!

Check out RYAN Playground’s other music here –

Prolongation (video): http://smarturl.it/prolongation

Almost Died: https://soundcloud.com/ryan_playground/almost-died

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