Ryan Cabrera was an hour late for our interview, but I didn’t mind. When they told me to meet him at 11:30 AM last Saturday before he began DJing at the Palms pool in Vegas, I calculated a 90-minute grace period. I know this town and it’s evil, yet seductive (soo seductive) ways of allowing you to disregard all responsibility and YOLO. His friends told me they were out the night before. When he arrived, he was slightly disheveled but apologetic. Because he only had less than 15-minutes before he had to start, we conducted the interview walking to the venue (he admitted he just woke up). I started off easy.
You’re DJing today. Do you prefer this?
“I prefer touring and playing, obviously. The thing is [today’s] gonna be a party and I can play whatever music I want and I get to watch my friends have fun. That’s really what it’s all about. Just hanging out and having fun and celebrating."
Ryan’s releasing a single in August.
“We’re still going back and forth with the actual single. I don’t know exactly which song it will be yet, but the record in general is a very upbeat, positive record. It’s very fun. You want to be in a convertible, with the top down, fuckin’ hanging out and just blasting the record.”
He’s releasing an EP in the fall to warm up his audience before releasing a full-length studio album later this year.
“We’re going to put out five or six songs first,” he says, admitting “it’s been so long” and wants people to become familiar with him again.
Ryan says he has ideas for the lead single’s music video, but nothing concrete yet. Basically, it better be chicken noodle soup for the soul.
“As long as it’s positive and happy and upbeat and has the right mission… that’s the way this record’s gonna go.”
I’m about to inquire where Ryan bought his yellow and green banana-printed button-up shirt, but I focus back to the interview. Instead, I asked him who are his dream collaborations.
“Who’s out right now who’s my favorite is Sam Smith. I got to watch him from when he was at the Troubadour (club in West Hollywood) playing for 400 people. Now, we’re going to see him at The Greek in a couple months; it’s fun to watch that birth. I love the birth of an artist. I’ve been doing this for a long time, I know how this works and how long it takes. So to watch that growth for him is really special.”
I interjected because I needed to know if he’d ever collaborate with Hilary Duff, who’s releasing her single, “Chasing The Sun,” next week.
“I know Hilary.”
She has new music coming out.
“Does she?! Good for her,” he said. He genuinely didn’t know. “I’m a fan of hers. We had pool parties. We’re all friendly. We never really talked about music. It was more just on the friendly level.”
I immediately imagined Ryan and Hilary Duff canoodling at one of these said parties, and remembered he dated Ashlee Simpson.
“Me and Ashlee are still friends,” he says casually. “All my ex-girlfriends and me are still friends. We were friends when we were dating and we’ll be friends hopefully til the day we die.”
Audrina Patridge appeared in mind, amongst other things.
At this point we’re walking to the pool where Ryan’s DJing. Amidst the interview, security was frisking me with a metal detector. I assure the 6-foot something guard my recorder is not a bomb. As this is going on, Ryan tells me something not many people know about him: he enjoys painting Disney characters (I didn't ask him to specify). I’m cleared and we walk through the double doors and into the Vegas heat towards his DJ station.
What do you consider success in the music industry? He tells me that’s a very important question, before diving into a story about him and Gavin DeGraw discussing that subject back in 2006.
“We’ve done something .001% of people in the world have ever done yet the world doesn’t make you feel successful. It’s hard in this business because everyone wants to not make you feel successful. People feel like they’re doing better if you’re not doing well. We can’t measure success the way other people make you feel. Success is measured by you and if you’re happy.”
Then, the man with the banana shirt tells me something invaluable, priceless, optimistic:
“I think the positive energy, and loving people will start to spread. It sucks because people feel threatened if you’re doing well. Let’s all work together. Love life, and help each other.”
I was intrigued. What has fame taught him? Could he offer me some advice from his experience?
“Remember what you’re doing. Be in the moment. Don’t just let things happen.”
- Jordan Miller, BreatheHeavy.com