Growing up outside Toronto, Alt-R&B crooner Eric Ryan admits that his soulful lo-fi swagger was molded in part by the sounds of Boyz II Men and D’Angelo, which his dad would regularly blast and belt along to, and in part by the musical video game Rock Band.

“I would also practice singing in my mom’s walk-in closet so no one could hear me,” he admits. While Ryan spent his childhood learning guitar via YouTube tutorials and recording covers, his low self-esteem prevented him from truly taking his craft seriously. “I took a little hiatus,” the singer said. “I had some growing up to do.” He went through multiple jobs, ended up in the military reserve for three years, and even started his own social media marketing business. “I ultimately realized that music was something I’d always loved; it never felt like work whenever I was doing it.”

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