Country Singer Ryan Griffin Talks His Journey From Singing Along With The Radio To Being Played On It

“You can’t win if you quit.”

Hi, I'm Ryan. This is probably the first time you've heard my name or my music. If you asked a younger me, I would tell you with zero hesitation that I was going to be an artist. There was no doubt in my mind. My music was going to be heard and I would be one of those voices people would hear and sing along to on the radio. All I've ever wanted to do is write and sing songs. When I was a kid my friends would say, "You're too country to sing pop," and my family would say, "You're too pop for country." That's probably because my two biggest influences were George Strait and Brian McKnight ... I know, right?

When you're the youngest of three boys, you listen to what everyone else wants to listen to in the car and try not to get beat up too much in the middle seat between two older brothers. George Strait, Collin Raye, Vince Gill, Dolly, Reba — those were the voices coming out of the speakers of my mom's station wagon. Those were the voices that I was singing along to when I realized how much I loved to sing. They laid the foundation for the music I'm making today.

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Then came middle school. The station wagon's speakers were still blasting country, but my bedroom boombox sounded a little different. Brian McKnight, Usher, Boyz II Men, Whitney Houston, K-Ci & JoJo — "All My Life" and "Anytime" were on repeat bleeding through the walls of my parent's South Florida ranch house. Eighteen was the max volume I could turn it up to before my brother would start pounding on the wall and yelling at me to turn it down. I would get lost for hours singing along to those songs and mimicking every melodic run.

While country music taught me the value of a lyric, pop, and R&B taught me how to feel the words I was singing.

For me, music can be one of two things — truth or an escape. I tend to write about things that are true and experiences I've had throughout my life. If you asked my wife, she would tell you I am very introspective and sometimes overly analytical. If you want to get to know me then listen to my songs. It's all there — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

When it comes to "Woulda Left Me Too," the truth is right there in the title. "I would have left me too." It doesn't get more brutally honest than that. If I had a journal, this lesson would take up half the book. This song was my way of trying to move on and forgive myself for not being the man I wanted to be or the man my ex needed me to be. I tortured myself with that thought, "I would have left me too," for days after she walked out. It haunted me. The words we said and the ones left unsaid replayed over and over in my head. It made the nights seemingly endless and unbearable and the days even longer. It was in that moment I realized I had something to regret and to be sorry for. I'd left a scar on someone's heart that hadn't asked for it, but got it nonetheless ... because of me. "I hope love treats you the way I wish I did," — I still do!

Much like my musical journey, I've come to realize that perspective is only gained with time. Now, looking back, I wouldn't change a thing. I wouldn't unbreak my heart or try to change hers. I wouldn't have said more or wish I'd said less. I had to feel it to know it and I had to know it to shed it. The day she left was the day I started working toward being the man that my wife, Talia, would love. The man that my son, Levi Hart, would call daddy and hopefully want to emulate one day. One line reads: "I understood just in time to be too late." It's been about seven years since the day I wrote that lyric. I see it a little differently now. If I'm being honest, I understood just in time. I wasn't too late. I needed to let her go to find myself. I do wish I could have spared her the hurt that comes with a broken heart, but I wouldn't take back a single tear or sleepless night. She led me straight to where I was meant to be. I hope she's where she was meant to be, too.

So far my story hasn't turned out the way I thought it would or the way I planned. I've had my share of struggles and disappointments. I've also experienced once-in-a-lifetime moments that I will never forget. There have been times I've wanted to quit and times that have left me stunned and wondering what I had done to deserve this beautiful life.

I've played shows in front of thousands and opened for artists that I've sung along to on the radio. I've had a record deal and lost it. I've had friends whom I called brothers that I don't talk to anymore and others that I call family. I've stood on stage and accepted a plaque for writing the No.1 song in the country. I've been to award shows and stood backstage in the halls of the Grand Ole Opry watching friends perform.

It's been a hell of a ride and I wouldn't trade it for the world. Sometimes, most times, life works out differently than you expect it to. That's my truth and I'm thankful for every bit of it ... my family, my friends, and my faith.

And guess what? My music is being heard and I'm one of the voices people can sing along to on the radio. Thank you, SiriusXM, for believing and making dreams come true!

I'll leave you with a simple piece of advice my grandfather gave me that changed my life: "You can't win if you quit."

Love others and always believe in yourself, 

Ryan

Cover image: Morris Higham Management!

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