Hell has no fury like Ryn Weaver trolled on the internet. Within hours of releasing her summer 2014 smash hit “OctaHate,” the singer/songwriter eagerly started scrolling through comments sections only to find haters declaring that she was merely a pretty-faced, manufactured pop star with big name connections and a one-hit wonder on her hands. “OctaHate” was not Weaver’s first song; she’s been writing music since she was a child, and on the day “OctaHate” caught fire on SoundCloud, she was in a Nashville writing session for a country act. Within hours of being posted, the song had jumped by thousands of listens and retweets. But despite its instant success, Weaver was furious at the online criticism, and unlike most, who would skulk away in devastation or open a fake account and try to defend herself, Weaver gave the trolls a virtual tongue-lashing in an attempt to obliterate their false assumptions.
“I was like, ‘this is mean and they don’t know me,’” she says, munching on olives in a hotel suite in Toronto. “I’ve been songwriting my whole life. The fact that I have one song that starts to do well doesn’t mean that I popped out of nowhere. I feel like there’s a stigma around female pop artists.”
Though she’s now a rising alt-pop star, expected to accept anonymous keyboard slings and arrows on the daily, she refutes the advice to grow a thicker skin. “You’re a sensitive person if you write,” she acknowledges, “and you’re exposing yourself to a very insensitive world.”
However, now being hailed as one of 2015’s breakout artist, she is learning to ignore the hate.
Nicknamed “songbird” as a child, everything was a potential song to the California-raised Erin “Aryn” Wüthrich. Folding napkin melodies. Putting away the dishes jingles. And even peeing tunes. None of this is surprising when you learn that Weaver was born to an artistic family: her father is an architect; her uncle was once an animator for The Simpsons; her mother and grandmother were singers, and her grandfather, Ned Weaver, co-wrote the Etta James record “Trust in Me.” (He was also the original radio Dick Tracy.) Weaver herself also paints—her childhood artwork appears on the “Promises” cover).
Often referred to as a singer-slash-actress, Weaver did attend theatre school in New York, but it was sort of a ruse. “The real reason I even went to theatre school was because I wanted to be in New York,” she says with a grin. “I wanted to start a band and drop out of school.” Which she did, going on to work with musician-producer Benny Blanco on her auspicious debut.
Today, as she prepares to release her first full-length, a concept album called The Fool (Mad Love/Interscope Records), Weaver’s taking a page out of her musical hero David Bowie’s book. “He’s never been married to form,” she says, paraphrasing one of his famous quotes. “He’s much more about telling the story.”
The Fool reveals an enchanting and multi-faceted quality to Weaver’s life, her artistic expression, and her unique voice, which flutters from pop to country and even has a Gaelic Dolores O’Riordan quality.
“Some people are very calculating. I’m just shooting in the dark, and people can draw any comparisons they want,” she says, affirming that the album is the album she wanted to make. “I don’t listen to music when I’m writing, you get too close to your contemporaries. I just kind of let my brain speak for itself. I sit there and start humming, and if you’re feeling really emotional that’s the best place to start from. That’s what soul is: it’s letting whatever you’re feeling come out. Making music is kind of a selfish thing because it’s all very much your own ego and where you are. But, by being selfish, and being about yourself, you are creating something that’s human that other people can relate to.”