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EXCLUSIVE COVER STORY: Ryland Lynch

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“I’m like a paper airplane – nobody ever knows where I’m going to go.”

A lot can happen in two years. Perhaps no one knows this more than 19-year-old Ryland Lynch, who’s gone from standing behind a table selling merchandise for his siblings’ band to taking center stage as a solo artist. But while he only recently stepped into the spotlight, the Littleton, Colorado native has been performing throughout his entire life.  “As a little kid, I was definitely crazy,” he laughs. “I had a lot of energy. I used to take ballet. My turns were killer!”

When Ryland was eight years old, his family packed up and moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of their collective dreams. “My mom and dad sold a lot of their things,” he explains. “It was a big struggle and it was a big move.” As the family settled into their new home, Ryland’s siblings became more and more passionate about music and launched their band, R5. “I couldn’t really keep up with them because I was too little,” he shares. “I was behind the scenes, selling merch. Every single night, I would sit there at the table and watch my brothers and be like ‘I wish I was up there with them. I want to do that.’” 

Eventually, a Christmas present from his mom, a DJ table, would help Ryland discover his passion.  “One day, I was working on something in my room and Riker and Rocky walked in,” he explains.  “They said, ‘You should open for us, it would be the coolest thing.’ Once I started DJ-ing up on stage, it all just hit me.” 

It hit audiences, too, and Ryland amassed a fan base, one large enough to start hosting his own pre-concert meet and greets. “One of the coolest moments was doing my first one,” he says. “I sold one and I was like, ‘I sold a meet and greet?!’ I don’t care about the money; it all comes and goes. But meeting this girl was the coolest experience. A few weeks later, I sold out my first meet and greet and was like, ‘No way! People are coming to meet me!’ They’d be so happy to see me and it was the coolest feeling in the world to be there for them.”

And while Ryland genuinely cares about his fans, he doesn’t worry about his social media numbers. “A lot of people get caught up in that world of how many followers you have,” he says. “If you look at my brother, Ross, he could care less about all of that. He doesn’t care what people think of him. If he had ten followers, he wouldn’t care – he’d still be making music. And it’s the same with me.”

This summer, Ryland will hit the road on his first concert tour without R5. And after that? “You know when you throw a paper airplane and you never know where it’s going to go?” he asks. “That’s pretty much me. I got a paper airplane tattoo because nobody ever knows where I’m going to go. For anyone that’s trying to figure out where they want to go in life, do whatever makes you happy. You’ve just got to get out there, try different things, and see what you like.”

Ryland’s tour will kick off in Salt Lake City, Utah on July 28. Click here to find out if he’ll be in your city and purchase tickets. 

Photos by Joe Magnani

Story & Video by Colleen Broomall

Styling by Robiat Balogun

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