Before becoming a singer in her own right, Phoebe Ryan crafted hit songs for the likes of Skizzy Mars, Bea Miller and Britney Spears. Last year, though, the 26-year-old Texan — who grew up in New Jersey and recently relocated to Los Angeles — stepped up to the mic. She first released a mashup of R. Kelly’s “Ignition” and Miguel’s “Do You,” which has garnered over 1.8 million views on YouTube, and followed the track up with two originals, “Mine” and “Dead.”
Now, Ryan — who rocks striking electric green hair — is riding the wave of her first Hot 100 hit for her feature on The Chainsmokers “All We Know.” She spoke with Billboard about what she has learned from having a successful song, how she first met The Chainsmokers and what she has in store for 2017.
What was it about “All We Know” that made you want to be part of the song?
Phoebe Ryan: I can’t remember exactly the day or what I was doing, but when I sat down and listened to that song it really made me feel something. It’s so honest. It says everything in a poetic way, while still being very straightforward and to the point. I recorded the demo, and they called me, saying, “We need to record the vocals for this tomorrow.” That’s how fast they work.
How did you first connect with The Chainsmokers?
I met them in New York when I was living there two years ago, back in the day when they were out there too. They’re pretty hilarious — I just liked their vibe. We’ve partied pretty hard together.
How does it feel to have your first Hot 100 hit with “All We Know”?
Is it? That’s funny, I didn’t even realize it was. I don’t know! It’s amazing. It’s weird. I heard it on the radio for the first time maybe two weeks ago during an Uber [ride]. There’s a lot to learn from having a song be successful, but I just try to focus on what’s important. It’s all about the music, about the song itself.
What would you say is your personal songwriting process?
I’d say it’s pretty different everyday. Some days I want to dive into a concept and some days I’m just wanting to do melodies. It’s kind of hard for me to talk about the process now because I have been on a break for a few weeks from writing, just because I wrote everyday for four months, so I’m taking a really long break just to restart everything. I’m trying to forget everything I know and think about what I can do better.
You’re about to head out on tour with Tove Lo, what’s the best advice she has given you?
I’m really excited. It’s really cool, she’s amazing and we’re both really pumped for this tour and it means a lot for both of us. She’s literally walking wisdom in my eyes. Whenever she tells me a story about the business or whatever is going on I’m just like, “Wow, I should be taking notes.” She’s just super smart and on top of her s—.
Looking ahead, what else do you have in store for 2017?
A lot more music, I think it’s time to put some more music out. It’s kind of refreshingly a mystery to me at this point right now as I’m on my couch looking at the wall … I would say it’s going to be an interesting year.