Interview: 'The Voice' star Ryan Innes talks music roots and debut album
Courtesy of Ryan Innes

Fans that rooted for Ryan Innes during his stint on “The Voice” have something new to cheer about. The soulful pop singer is about to release his very first full-length album, an effort entitled The Inbetween. Featuring the recently-released single “I Need a Lover,” The Inbetween is set to drop on April 13.

We had a chat by email with Innes and besides talking about his time on “The Voice,” where he was mentored by Usher and Pharrell Williams, the singer also told us about charity work he’s involved in and his penchant for cooking. His commentary below is given exclusively to AXS.com.

AXS: Of all the amazing interactions you had on “The Voice,” what would you say is your main takeaway from the experience and how did it affect your creation of The Inbetween?

Ryan Innes: My main takeaway, as interesting as it may seem with a show that kicks people off, is that there is room for every independent artist who is working their ass off, who is really invested in creating authentic musical moments, and who is willing to be vulnerable enough to understand the cost of true artistry. The Inbetween has been an exercise in all of that for me.

AXS: Before your involvement with “The Voice” and the acclaim that it led to you were heavily involved in the music scene in Provo, Utah, and you now live in nearby Salt Lake City. Do you have time these days to perform at or visit any of your old haunts?

RI: I haven’t been as “tuned in” as I’d like simply because I’ve been too busy most of the time on weekends playing some kind of show of my own. But I do make it to some of my local favorites/staples. I always look forward to being a judge for the semi-annual Battle of the Bands at Velour in Provo.

AXS: As a kid you were kind of forced to learn how to play the piano, and that ended up working out nicely for you. Do you have any desire today to learn how to play any non-keyboard instrument?

RI: Yeah, I couldn’t play football in high school unless I played the piano, but yeah, it pays my rent now. I’ve always had the smallest itch to learn acoustic guitar but apparently not big enough to really scratch. It would be so much easier to bring my instrument along with me. I did play trumpet in the high school marching band. I’m gonna find a way to resurrect that and somehow include it in my show.

AXS: Your PledgeMusic pre-order campaign for The Inbetween is supportive of Operation Underground Railroad. Tell us a bit about what the organization does and why you chose them.

RI: Operation Underground Railroad is a non-profit charity organization dedicated to “providing law enforcement and governments around the world with technology, tools, and training to dismantle criminal networks and eliminate the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children.” I think the cause is one of the noblest endeavors I’ve come across and after playing one of their fundraising galas I was able to hear (Operation Underground Railroad founder) Tim Ballard speak personally about the awful reality of child sex slavery. It really moved me and I knew I’d love to support them any way I could.

AXS: The Inbetween is being released on vinyl. Do you personally have a record collection or like to listen to music on vinyl when feasible?

RI: Oddly, I only own a few records and don’t have much personal experience with vinyl. I do own a huge stand-alone record player but it sits in storage because I have no room for it in my tiny cabin. I’m really looking forward to one day being able to really delve into vinyl in a bigger space.

AXS: You recently called out to your fans on Facebook for foodie recommendations for New York City. What and where was the best meal you ended up having there, and do you cook when you are home?

RI: Best meal was at Blue Ribbon Sushi. We had an appetizer that was the best piece of fish I’ve put in my face: thinly sliced amberjack with yuzu pepper on top. A close second was the infamous Peter Luger Steakhouse. I’ve started cooking more at home lately and seriously love it. I just got a Sous-Vide for Christmas and I’m a precision cooking fool now.

Follow Ryan Innes here.