When Ry Lucia’s Sound Off! 2020 acceptance phone call came, she immediately began to cry.
“I didn't expect to get in,” the Seattle-native singer-songwriter admits. “I put in the application and I was in school and I forgot about it. All of a sudden, there the call was, and I was hearing that I was going to be a part of this amazing thing. It was a really cool moment.”
As an 11-year veteran of Rain City Rock Camp, the self-empowerment music program is where Ry Lucia first discovered the Sound Off! scene. Her friend Celeste Felsheim, another Rain City Rock Camp alumni, was part of Sound Off! last year, and her involvement encouraged Ry Lucia to enter.
“She did really well and I always wanted to have a chance to work with other young artists and to plug myself into this community,” Ry Lucia says. “So I decided to give it a shot.”
Before she takes the Sky Church stage for her Sound Off! 2020 semifinal performance on Saturday, February 15, we caught up with Ry Lucia to hear what she had to say:
What does it mean to you to be part of Sound Off! 2020?
Ry Lucia: I just can't believe I'm here. I've been sitting on these songs for five years. I've been writing since I was 14 and I've never had a chance to perform by myself. I’ve never had a chance to connect on this level with other artists in this community, and to be here and to be surrounded by so much talent and so much enthusiasm is just, I go home every day and I have this huge smile on my face because I know that this is the start of something really amazing. I just get to be here. That’s super, super cool.
How would you describe your sound?
RyLucia: I've been struggling a little bit to come up with a brand. But I am very influenced by songwriters, lyric-heavy kind of people — Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan. But I'm also really inspired by Regina Spektor. I'm a classically trained pianist. I trained for 11 years and that's what I went to college for originally. So Regina Spektor also as a classical pianist and a word nerd really has influenced me and I'm super inspired by her. I try to convey really raw and honest emotion in my music. That's my main goal. I often start out with lyrics and just really try to turn my brain inside out. That's the trajectory that my songwriting takes.
Why do you make music?
Ry Lucia: I couldn't not make music. It's just a part of my daily life. I'll be walking to the grocery store and have a snippet of a song come into my head. Oftentimes music came out of when I was practicing my classical studies. So I'd be practicing at least an hour a day up to maybe five hours a day. Of course, you're going to fool around a little bit during that time. I'd come up with a little riff; maybe something that I'd been thinking about, maybe something that had been bothering me, or something that I'd written in my diary earlier, whatever. That's where it started to come together.
How does writing music make you feel?
Ry Lucia: I feel most like myself when I write. As a young adult, you can have a lot of trouble being in your own skin, that carries all throughout your teen years. I have a panic disorder and I dissociate a lot. I feel out of my body a lot. When I write music it's a way to connect what's going on inside of my head to the physical world. To be able to share that is so validating to me as a person and it really just puts me on the map in my own mind.
If you could describe your sound or your music as an animal, what would it be and why?
Ry Lucia: I feel like something quiet but powerful. So maybe a panther, that was the first thing that came into my head. Maybe like a big cat. Also nocturnal; I write a lot of my music at night. So yeah, I'd say maybe a panther.