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On the day Ryn Weaver was born, NASA and CNES, the French national space agency, conjointly launched the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite. It was an oceanographic marvel, providing unprecedented measurements of sea levels, tides and the ocean floor.
To the cynic, this factoid may seem wholly coincidental. But in talking with Ryn, or listening to her music, one begins to believe in things like destiny, the uncanny, the stars. She has French blood. She has a reoccurring dream of orcas. “I was a little mermaid,” she says of her childhood. When she moved to New York City, she missed the Pacific so much she would fill her bathtub with chilly water and submerge.
Some musicians have a fascinating backstory. She was raised on a kibbutz in rural Oregon. Her father formed that LeBron James Cult. Ryn is not one of those musicians. She was born in Encinitas, California, a surfer town with a mosaic of the Virgin Mary hanging ten under a bridge, and raised in perpetually pleasant San Diego. Her dad is an architect. Her momma is, as she says, “just a momma.” This does not diminishes her fascinating character.
In conversation, Ryn leaps from topic to topic. She talks of lunar cycles, ascendent zodialogical signs, the effect of soy consumption on vegetarians’ nipples, the differing eroticism in the art of Gustav Klimt and his protege Egon Schiele, Kate Bush’The Dreaming, love, the symbolism of stone fruit in a Joanna Newsom song, the fantasy MMORPG RuneScape, pre-zipper fashion design, death, the empathetic powers of domesticated rats, gender politics, David Bowie’s groin in Labyrinth, and the ominous allure of the sea in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
The day that Ryn was born is also the Day of the Velvet Voice, according to the numerologists at the Secret Language. Her voice is her instrument, and it is indeed as fleecy and voluptuous as brushed burgundy velvet. Her voice is also chiffon, devoré and nacré. It is cotton and silk. It can be crushed or hammered. When Ryn first began composing songs, she would deeply pile her vocals in a computer, building ethereal swirls, posting them to Soundcloud.
Ryn meets Benny Blanco on Halloween in New York, her first time in the city. She is dressed at Bambi. He is dressed as himself, an impossibly young multiplatinum producer. They hang out in a burlesque club, part ways. Two years later, Ryn is crashing up and down the California coast. “It is the most irresponsible time of my life. I’m trying to wash everything out of my system.” She bumps into Blanco again in L.A. on his birthday. He invites her to a party. She plays him her songs on Soundcloud, like the fingersnap slow-jam “You,” which she has appropriately hashtagged #Fairy Pop. “I show Benny but he was wasted,” Ryn remembers. He listens again sober and reaches out to her.
“Ryn’s music sounds like butterflies in your brain,” Blanco says, “Like if you took dope beats, mixed them with Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush and then attached it to a bungee cord.” After cowriting and coproducing hits for Katy Perry, Maroon 5 and Wiz Khalifa, Blanco has partnered with Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit. It’s an inspired pairing. Both are precocious, twentysomething talents playing left field in pop music, lobbing hooks to the radio that bounce and unexpectedly curve. Working with Ryn is their debut collaboration. “The project didn’t make sense until an hour of us working together for the first time,” Angelakos says. “What makes Ryn so fascinating is this odd straddling between reality and surreality. Someone so innocent, fresh and excited is something so rare that it almost seemed like a facade, but none of it is.”
In Ryn’s songs you can hear the euphoric pulse and summer breeze of Blanco, and the giddy rush and dust-devil synth swirls of Angelakos. Drums pound like fists against the door on “OctaHate,” a slow-jam swing turned earthquake, as Ryn’s voice rises in an anxious trill, building, building, hitting a peakin squeak as she belts, “You shot me down!” When you listen, bear in mind you’re hearing her first take in a studio, ever. Listen more closely and you can hear what sound like drops of water in a tub.
“OctaHate” equals hate times eight, Ryn explains. The day that Ryn was born is the 222nd day of the year. Two times two times two is eight. Her debut EP is being released on August 8. Are you starting to see?
There is something mystical about this Fairy Pop. So, no, there is no grand, juicy backstory. Ryn is a young woman who busted her ass waiting tables and sleeping in her car. That’s cool. Once you tell an interesting origin tale, what is left to say? Ryn may not be a story, but she is filled with them. Stop chasing the white whale and observe the ocean before you.