Over the last 30-plus years, VA-based musician Todd Wright has worked hard and successfully built a fruitful career for himself as a multi-faceted player, performer, and most notably, a wonderfully talented songwriter.
Many of his songs have been lauded and listened to both nationally and globally, including one that was co-written with DC-area stalwart Mary Ann Redmond and recorded in a duet by French music legend Johnny Hallyday and international superstar Celine Dion; it has sold close to a million copies. Another successful song of his was covered by dance pop star Terri B and the electronic duo Cazzette. Not necessarily musical genres Wright thought he would find such success in, but he will certainly take it. Several of his tunes have also been featured in multiple TV shows and films, all as Wright continues on his successful path, including with his current band, Every Echo.
But perhaps his greatest achievement, and one he never really forced into happening, is the impressive growth and early success of his uber-talented 18 year-old daughter Ryan Wright, who not long ago not only released her own song, but had a tune of hers appear on the TV series “Cruel Summer,” and has a series of songs coming out on Handwritten Records in the coming months as well as a likely string of EPs and live shows. She is clearly a Wright force to be reckoned with as she starts to mold her own music career, all with her doting musician father diligently yet comfortably at her side. Todd and Ryan talk about their relationship and perform for host Steve Houk on Living On Music this Monday at 7pm on Z-TV.
Even though Ryan’s singing talents have been evident throughout her childhood and enhanced by her close relationship with her multi-talented father, this crazy last year, despite its worrisome and exhausting ramifications, has proven to be a welcome bonus as far as nurturing the ongoing and special bond between the Wrights as well as Ryan’s overall chops.
“Our collaborative partnership has really forged itself over this pandemic,” Wright, 51, said before he and Ryan performed a song on Living On Music called “Unlucky Stars” that he wrote for her when she was three, and performed with her at The Hamilton a few years back. You can see that classic moment by clicking here. “We’ve really dialed in her sound and figured out what she sounds like, and listened to alot of music together like old records and new records. I wouldn’t trade the time together we’ve had, even though it’s been terrible in other ways.”
“I’ve just been kind of like trying to write as much music as possible,” said Ryan, a senior at Woodgrove High School in Purcellville, VA. “And also learning Pro Tools, and just trying to expand my musical intellect and build off of what we have already created. Really just trying to get better, which I think we’ve done given the music we’ve been working on.”
“Yes I have felt bad for Ryan and her fellow students being robbed of their high school experience,” added Todd. “But musically, it has been an incredibly fertile time, the songwriting faucet for her was turned on just before the pandemic, and now she’s writing stuff I can’t even keep up with. It’s been an incredibly creative time for us.”
As mentioned, Wright never dictated what his daughter’s path should be, but his natural existence as a working musician began to open up doors early on for his daughter, and seemed to have brought her both joy and burgeoning fulfillment.
“I always wanted her to be in the studio with me,” Todd said, “and record things and have fun, ya know, do covers and what not.” “Yeah, I think we did a cover of ‘California Girls’ ” Ryan added. “Yeah, ha, we did,” Todd said with a smile. Seeing a father and daughter mesh like these two is a moving experience to say the least.
A unique part of Ryan’s vibe is her often emotional and sometimes even dark songwriting, a contrast to her playful, fun and even self-described goofiness as a teenager, and it’s that mood that bleeds heavily into her singing style. “There was a time around ten when we did a cover of ‘Call Your Girlfriend’ by Robyn, I actually just popped it up on You Tube,” said Todd. “I have a good friend, who right now plays guitar in Taylor Swift’s band, and he called me up after he heard it and told me, ‘Dude, there’s something in your kid’s voice that is heartbreaking.’ And that’s the only way I can describe her voice.”
“It’s really funny, all of the songs that we write together,” Ryan said with a smile, “I always say, ‘Can we please put a curse word in all of them?’ But really, my songwriting is heavily influenced by the heartbreaking love songs that I grew up with. Like Roy Orbison, who has that kind of heartbreaking voice.”