Ryan Kinder has landed a few songs on the radio in the last few years, with his most recent hit coming in March with the playful, electric guitar-tinged “Close.” But the country singer-songwriter’s latest single, “Still Believe in Crazy Love,” has taken his career to a different level, one that’s deeper than any radio hit could provide.
“[My] older songs were more to the point and had a certain feeling in mind that was very focused into one idea, and ‘Crazy Love’ means something different to every person,” Kinder tells Billboard. “I think that’s why it resonates with so many people, because it means something painful, joyous, redemptious, heart-aching, whatever it is that they experience, it’ll bring that emotion back and make them feel it in three and a half minutes.”
Although the song has only officially been Kinder’s single since late August, he’s been playing the track on the road and seeing an immediate reaction from the crowd, whether they know the words or not. It’s similar to what Kinder felt when he first heard the song himself at a writer’s showcase for Ashley Gorley’s publishing company.
“I had one day off, and all I wanted to do is go home and go to bed. But Nick, my manager, convinced me to go,” Kinder recalls. “Jerry [Flowers, one of the writers of the song] got up and picked up an electric guitar — the first lick of ‘Crazy Love,’ I just woke up … Immediately after that song, I probably was just delirious enough to walk up to Ashley and told him right then and there, ‘Don’t you send that to anybody else. I want to record that song.'”
Following advice from Keith Stegall to never record someone else’s song unless you’re mad you didn’t write it, Kinder acknowledges, “I was so unbelievably mad I didn’t write that song.” Despite the songwriters’ remorse, he’s since made the track his own, and is now unveiling a moving visual for the meaningful track (which was written by Flowers and late songwriter Andrew Dorff).
The video sees a series of people holding up an object that means “crazy love” to them, with some speaking to the camera to explain the item’s significance. As Kinder alluded, there’s both heartwarming and heartbreaking stories featured in the clip, but everyone is tied together through the crazy love they feel – and the fact that they all know Kinder in some way, like the woman he’s married to.
“My wife was in there, and she held up a picture of the aftermath of a tornado on Tuscaloosa, where we lived,” he explains. “We weren’t together when the tornado hit, and obviously the phones went out, so I had no idea if she was alive or dead. But I knew where she was, so once the tornado was over I immediately packed a bag and started running to try and find her, to find out if she was alive. That was one of the most powerful moments that I’ve felt of crazy love, not knowing if the person you love is alive or not.”
It’s stories like these that make the video so powerful, and Kinder plans to release full interviews with everyone involved in the coming weeks. One of the most bittersweet moments comes when Andrew Dorff’s father, Steve – also a famed country songwriter – came on with a picture of his late son (Andrew passed away in December in an incident on vacation). “I know he was always in search of that crazy love that he wanted and pursued and unfortunately never found,” Steve said in the clip, “and yet, he could write about it to what he new in his heart it would be like when he found it.”
Kinder knew he had to include at least one of Dorff’s family members in the video since he was one of the reasons the song exists – but almost more importantly, because he was one of the greatest of his craft to exist.
“I felt like it would mean something very special to them after his passing knowing their son wrote such a powerful song that means something to so many people,” the singer says. “He was the gentle giant. Such a quiet person, but so unbelievably intellectual. His ability to go from a fun pop song to heart-wrenching ballad and not miss a beat was impressive. He was one of the best songwriters I think Nashville’s ever had.”
Along with Steve and Kinder’s wife, the singer is also in the video with his two siblings, his sister in person and their brother on FaceTime. No matter the story or item, everyone ends up holding the same object toward the video’s end: An origami camellia, the state flower of Alabama, which holds a special place in Kinder’s heart.
“The street I grew up on was Camellia Circle and I have a camellia tattooed on my wrist,” the Birmingham, Alabama, native explains. “I just felt like that was something that means so much to me, family and home, and something that I felt like would be a cool thing to tie everybody together.”
But while Kinder has been touched by the “crazy love” stories in the video and beyond, what does the phrase ultimately mean to him? “Everyday, with my wife putting up with me,” he laughs, “that’s crazy love.”
Watch the video for “Still Believe In Crazy Love,” premiering on Billboard below.