Life begins at 30, or so they say.
Maybe by then youthful vigor is balanced with maturity. Or perhaps the angst of young adulthood has diminished and life is settling into a steady rhythm. In many ways, the third decade can be a new lease on life.
Ask Ryann Lecklider, and she most certainly will tell you that 30 rocks. In the weeks right before and after the big 3-0, the singer-songwriter from Indiana had some fresh starts: On Nov. 1 she married her sweetheart Mat (“a true southern gentleman”), auditioned for Idle Tuesdays in mid-November, turned 30 on Dec. 6, and was notified she was selected as the IT new performing artist right before Christmas. To say 2013 was a big year for her would be an understatement.
“I got an email right before I got married that I had been selected to audition, but I was going on my honeymoon so they were flexible and I auditioned when I got back in mid-November. Then I found out I was selected on Dec. 21, my husband’s birthday. It was so amazing,” she shares over a cup of coffee.
For Ryann, the happy news of her selection came at the perfect time. She was ready to let go of some of the self-imposed fears of her early 20s that had held her back vocationally. She was ready to embrace what the 30s had in store for her.
She grew up in Indianapolis with a supportive family: her mom who is a professor at Butler University and her dad who is in sales. She played sports year-round and would kid around and be competitive with her twin brother, Chase, also a natural athlete. She was an excellent student in high school, working hard and graduating as an honors student. After high school she earned a degree in communication from Chicago’s DePaul University, which later led to work in marketing.
Yet, one of her strongest passions since childhood was singing.
“One of my earliest memories is I always wanted to sing. In fact, I don’t ever remember wanting to do something else as much as music,” she recalls.
Even though she knew her parents would support whatever career path she chose (“I was the one holding myself back”), she quelled that passion. She felt she should enter a more practical field.
“I was scared to do music. What if it didn’t work out? I just had this idea that it wasn’t responsible to want to be a singer, maybe I should try to be something like a doctor. It is such a short list of people who are really successful in this field. I let that fear keep me from going after music,” she confides.
A Leap of Faith
Even after leaving Chicago and moving to Los Angeles, she pursued acting instead of singing, thinking that was a little safer, more normal. She also started attending Oasis in Los Angeles, a church with lots of entertainment professionals. She met Dennis Lamar, who became her voice coach. With Dennis’ mentoring and wisdom, her self-confidence as a vocalist and composer grew. When she heard about the Idle Tuesdays program she felt ready to “take a leap of faith.”
“I was a little nervous, but it was so cool” she remembers, “This was really the first time I was sharing in a semi- public setting my own original music.”
As she writes more of her own original music she is inspired and influenced by classic artists Mariah Carey and the late Whitney Houston. She also gets a modern vibe from Marc Brossard who she discovered in Chicago, (“an incredible singer”) British pop artist James Morrison (“he has that old school vibe), and Tori Kelly (“young, but an artist to watch”).
Connecting with Music
Her faith also shapes how she crafts her art, resulting in the kind of positive music that Idle Tuesdays seeks to promote.
“When I am writing music, I try to be very honest with myself and that is where my faith comes in. At Oasis I have been shown that we really don’t have to do things the way our culture says we do: there is so much more happiness to be had,” she says.
Ryann adds she wants her music to not only sound good, but to also connect with people and “communicate that there is so much more to experience musically as a culture.”
Now, a few months after her selection, she is busy getting ready for the EP she will cut in Idle Tuesdays’ recording studio. These days she splits her time between her day job working as the development manager with the Chessher Group and tightening things up with the band and the producer, Matt Bang, before she starts recording in March. With husband Mat, a professional photographer, she hopes to redesign her website and get some covers up on YouTube.
When she isn’t composing, singing or at the office, she is going to the movies, reading good books, and watching HGTV (Mat got her hooked on renovation shows).
Life as a newlywed is pretty good, too.
“I have an incredible husband,” she shares with a sweet laugh, acknowledging they have only been married three months and it’s still one long honeymoon, “I think how wonderful he is and how lucky I am.”
Indeed, for some, life does begin at 30.
Next month: Ryann shares about the songs on the EP and her experience in the studio.
by Maria Cowell