Nashville Music Guide’s Artists to Watch 2024

Artists to Watch #15

In the energetic lanes of Nashville’s music scene, Ryan Larkins stands out as a beacon of authentic artistry, his journey one of dedication, passion, and an undeniable talent that has seen him transcend from a local church performer to an emerging country music sensation. Growing up in the heartbeat of America’s musical capital, he immersed himself within its rich tapestries of sound, embracing influences that have formed the bedrock of his distinctive style. His early days at the church not only honed his skills but brought forth his deep baritone voice, one that resonates with the kind of warmth and depth only found in classic country music.

In 2009, Ryan competed in the television singing competition show on CMT, Can You Duet, where he and his singing partner finished in third place. Memorably, the duo stood out when they surprised judges by singing the classic “Tennessee Waltz,” while other groups opted for contemporary selections.

Two years later, Ryan released his original EP, Follow Me, and followed up with an acoustic project in 2013. In the spring of 2017, Ryan competed and won first place in WSM’s Road Show Talent Competition. As he did in the television competition, Ryan performed country classics “That’s the Way Love Goes” by Merle Haggard and “When You Say Nothing At All” by Keith Whitley.

The hard-earned recognition from Nashville’s discerning music industry was testament to Larkins’ songwriting prowess, culminating in a coveted publishing deal with Sony Music Publishing. Ryan’s ability to weave traditional country elements with splashes of gospel, pop, and R&B has given him a blend that is unique yet familiar—captivating enthusiasts and industry titans alike. With a pen that has drawn interest from across the musical world, he has written alongside Tony Lane, Tom Douglas, and other luminaries, with his work being brought to life by artists of renown.

In 2023, the winds of fortune blew favorably for Ryan as he inked a deal with Red Street Records, setting the stage for the next epoch of his burgeoning career. His commitment and artistry bore fruit in October with the release of his debut EP, Meet Ryan Larkins. His debut work came on the heels of two warmly received singles, “She’s the Tough One” and “Man That Holds the Beer,” signaling the birth of a spellbinding voyage for the musician. Fans of Ryan were also treated to his masterful storytelling in “The Painter,” performed by Cody Johnson, which was steadily climbing the Country radio charts.

Meet Ryan Larkins is a carefully curated anthology of five tracks, celebrating Larkins’ full-circle moment from a songwriter for others to a star in his own right. Joined by producers Jay DeMarcus, Pete Good, and Ilya Toshinskiy, the EP showcased the complete spectrum of Ryan’s musical identity, from the heartfelt lyrics of “Dream Baby” and the anthemic vigor of “Paid For It” to the defining single “King of Country Music.” Such compelling songwriting, brought to fruition with collaborator talents like William Duval, Carlo Colassaco, and others, offered a fresh yet timeless appeal that fans old and new could appreciate.

Amidst the bright beginnings of his solo career, Ryan Larkins has already etched his name in the annals of country music with his songwriting credits. Works such as Tim McGraw’s introspective “Hold On To It,” the soul-stirring “Someday It’ll All Make Sense,” a collaboration between Dolly Parton and Bill Anderson, and the infectious “The Painter” serve as a testament to Ryan’s depth and versatility as a songwriter. His trajectory is not just a testament to his own talent but also an inspiration for aspiring songwriters navigating Nashville’s vibrant, competitive landscape.

As the echoes of his debut EP continue to reverberate, Ryan Larkins’ name is sure to be murmured with increasing frequency among those who cherish the rich, storytelling tradition of country music. With an undeniable ability to capture the human experience through his music, Ryan is well on his way to becoming, perhaps, the songwriting King of Country Music he so boldly heralds in his debut single.

Ryan is currently a special guest on Priscilla Block’s 2024 Hey Jack Tour.

Label: Red Street Records
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee
Current City: Nashville, Tennessee
Hot Release (s): “King of Country Music”; “Man That Holds the Beer”; “Paid For It”
Musical Influences: Church Hymnals, Rascal Flatts, Randy Travis, Don Williams, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson
If You Like: Tim McGraw, Cody Johnson, Lainey Wilson
KEEP UP WITH RYAN LARKINS: Instagram/TikTok: @ryan.larkins

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