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You Are – Randy Ryder

Some say there is no such thing as perfect timing, but if you were to ask Randy Ryder, I would say he’d disagree. After deciding not to pursue music in order to be a single dad, it was his now-grown kids who encouraged him to get back into the studio a few years ago. When he released his first single, “You Are,” his proud daughter Krystyn used the ever-popular social media platform, TikTok, to share her dad’s talent. It did not take long for this touching story to be seen and heard well over 2 million times!

When I first heard this story, I could not shake how amazing it was that so much unconditional love and support was pouring in from so many people. After learning more about Randy and Krystyn’s lives, it is clear that the success that has been reached and hopefully will continue to be reached is well-deserved. I wanted to write about what led to this perfect storm and keep the momentum going for future projects. 

Growing up, Randy was enamored by the machine-like aspects of songs – how notes on paper and lyrics could fit so perfectly together and somehow produce emotions and memories. His mother was a gifted storyteller, so naturally he was drawn to story songs written by some of the greats, including The Allman Brothers, Kris Kristofferson, Ray Wylie, and Holly Williams. Today, he is inspired by artists such as Ashley McBryde and Eric Church, who have preserved that same endearing writing style. Although he began dabbling in a music career early on, he went to college at Northwestern State University to study Electronic Engineering Technology and Radiologic/Nuclear Medicine Technology. When he became a father, later, he decided to pause his musical dreams to focus on his children.

“The greatest joy in my life has been being their dad and seeing them grow into wonderful human beings. It was necessary as a single father, for me, to put those aspirations on the back burner and be there for my babies. Again, for me, I gained everything and lost nothing doing it that way. We always had music, movies and charity stuff that allowed them to be exposed to the arts, and some of my buds in the business were around to let them see how cool being creative is.”

While it is a cliche, the saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” could not apply more, here. Being raised in such a loving and creative household, Randy’s daughter Krystyn developed the same passion for the arts as her dad. A Music Business graduate from Belmont University, she now writes songs and stories, paints, does photography, and has a knack for modeling and acting. She says “If it’s a medium I can create in, I’m probably doing it.” One of those mediums, as mentioned before, is TikTok. She first started making videos as a way to create freely on a platform where no one knew her name. After having one video go viral last year, she gained a considerable following. The moment her dad decided to take her and her siblings’ advice to record and release his first song, she saw an opportunity to give back.

“I have a very specific memory of having the opportunity to take my dad to a Chris Stapleton concert. I looked over and he was just mesmerized like a little kid. That was the moment I made the decision to do whatever I could to get his songs heard. He writes from the heart, and it’s beautiful and painful. He’s able to take you through every emotion. He sacrificed so much in order to send me to Belmont, and he cultivated creativity constantly when we were kids. He gave me the world and I wanted to give it back. TikTok was the only way I knew the song could reach the masses. So many people have been touched. I never dreamed of this reaction!”

Randy was initially unaware of the rounds his song was making on the internet and was surprised, to say the least, once he learned what his daughter had done. The words he used to describe his reaction were “completely overwhelmed and grateful.” Perhaps “You Are” resonated with so many people because of its meaning’s ambiguity. Themes of loss, gain, heartbreak, unrequited love, and joy all ring throughout the song. Randy purposefully has not shared who or what exactly the song is about because he wants the listeners to put themselves in the lyrics and figure out what it means to them – the mark of a true artist.

Sustaining a lifelong love of music, Randy is finally able to live out his dream of writing and recording his own songs, thanks to the support of his children. He hopes to continue gigging, to one day have a publishing and/or record deal, and to hear others record his songs. Currently, he is working on some videos pertaining to new music, as well as some more upcoming opportunities that he is waiting to share. It always feels good to know that so many people are cheering you on, and for Randy, he considers all the folks who are doing so, part of his already supportive family.

You can find Randy Ryder’s social handles and streaming links here:

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