June 2015 - Turn it Up - Ryan Montano
New Mexico’s own Ryan Montano is creating a pathway for himself in the music realm. Montano, a trumpeter, is turning up all over the country, showing folks why he’s making a name for himself. He took a moment to speak with me about how music entered his life and the future it will bring.
Where did your love of music come from?
I guess I can't really describe exactly where my love of music comes from. I've been performing ever since I could remember so it's something that has been as much a part of my life as school and family. I started singing when I was 5 and picked up the trumpet when I was 11. 16 years later, it has become the single most important facet of my life.
Why the trumpet? What is it about this instrument above all others?
I originally picked up the trumpet because my older brother told me that it "gets the girls", which is actually not true. Girls like guitar players and lead singers. But again, I don't really look at it as if I chose the instrument...In the bigger picture, it's just something that was meant to be. I play piano and guitar but there is something about the trumpet that make me come back to it every single day.
What are your musical influences?
I love ALL music. Folk, salsa, latin jazz, smooth jazz, funk, R&B, country etc...If you attend one of my shows, I don't play the same style throughout the evening. I'll literally start with a reggaeton beat, transition to a funk song and close out the set with a folk number. I love that I'm able to have the freedom to mix and match musical styles according to whatever musical mood I'm feeling at that time.
When it comes to songwriting, what is your process?
For me, every songwriting process is different. When I first started writing music, I would come up with the chord progression, add a beat and then compose the melody last. Recently, I've been writing music according to whatever form of inspiration crosses my path, and it's not just musical. That inspiration can come in the form of an ex-girlfriend, a bad experience on stage or a podcast to which I've listened. There are no rules to writing a song. Finding the most genuine kind of inspiration is always the toughest part.
Tell us about your upcoming performances?
On July 3rd, I'll performing in Old Town Plaza at the gazebo as part of the City of Albuquerque's summerfest. We start at 7 pm. On September 4th, I'll be performing with Grammy-nominated saxophonist Mindi Abair at the Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid. I've dreamed of performing with Mindi for many years. Now that the opportunity is here, I couldn't be more excited!
What is your goal when it comes to your career?
I have so many! My most immediate goal right now is to remove my ego from my playing and performing. And I'm not talking about "ego" in the sense that I think I'm better than everyone else. What I mean is that I want to be able to walk on stage and play completely from my heart - I don't want to worry about my appearance, how many people are in the audience, if the audience will like music, if musicians will think I'm a good player, how many notes I missed etc. I want to be able to give the audience the most selfless and honest presentation of my music. Which is EXTREMELY hard to do. IIn terms of the "big picture", I want to be the trumpet player that was able to play the music he wanted to play, and on his own terms. If that comes in the form of "rock-star" or "pop-star", great. So long as the music is honest and people respond, I'll be a happy guy!