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Phoebe Ryan Talks Burrito Smoothies, Sexuality, & New Single 'ICIMY'

Phoebe Ryan Talks Burrito Smoothies, Sexuality, & New Single 'ICIMY'

Phoebe Ryan Talks Burrito Smoothies, Sexuality, & New Single 'ICIMY'

PRIDE sat down with the pop singer-songwriter ahead of her new single and debut album How It Used To Feel.

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"What am I supposed to do in case I miss you?"

Singer-songwriter Phoebe Ryan's latest track, "ICIMY," is a sweeping pop reflection on a past lover's departure, giving us all the synthy dance-cry vibes of acts like Carly Rae Jepsen and Sigrid layered with MUNA's lyrical punches to the gut. The music video is a nostalgic glimpse of the comfort that an ex provided, pensively played by non-binary trans actor Joey Rose.

This past October, Ryan feasted on vegetarian tacos with PRIDE ahead of her first single release and had a very candid conversation about her sexuality, the existence of ghosts, touring with Carly Rae Jepsen, and burrito smoothies. 

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PRIDE: When did you become a vegetarian?

Phoebe: Oh my gosh, like, 18 years ago. Or maybe more? I always lose track, but I started in fourth grade.

So you were young, and you just knew, "This is it, I'm going to be a vegetarian."

Yeah. My mom was babysitting a chicken and we had chicken nuggets for dinner, and I love birds. So I met this chicken and I was like, I love this animal. Then we had chicken nuggets for dinner and I was like, never again. It scarred me for life. And then I watched a bunch of PETA videos when I was really young and I was just like, no, never. Meat, no way.

It weighs heavily on me whenever I do eat chicken. I do think about that. I'm working on it. My sister's a vegan now. She's holding me accountable.

I'll never want anybody to feel bad for doing what they want to do, but just for me, I was like, I can't.

Let's talk about your music. I first heard about you through a collab with James Young "We Won't" and I was like, "Who is this? She's cool."

I was such a little baby.

How did that come together? 

We literally just set up on a writing day together and we wrote that song that day, first thing we worked on. And I remember it felt like a real connection. But I also remember being like, "I'm going to order a Domino's pizza while I'm here." And that was one of the details that I remember, he was cool with me just ordering an entire pizza for myself.

It felt like a really special song from the get-go. And I think it's probably one of my most streamed songs online, which is amazing. I still really love that song. I love James.

How was it working with like Tove Lo and Sebastian Paul? You have all these really awesome collabs out. Clearly, you like to collab.

Yeah, I love it. I love when it's with friends especially. But the Sebastian Paul thing was funny because I've never met him. I just heard his music one night I was driving in the car and it came on like some station or some Spotify playlist and I was like, "Oh my gosh, I love this person." I found him on Instagram. DM'ed him and I said, "Who does your production? Who writes your songs?" And he's like, "I do everything." I was like, "Oh my God, let me be on the song with you." And he sent me that song, and I was just like, perfect. 

And I think the song is great. And his new EP that's out is everything. He's just so cool. Like, he's seriously a pretty cool person and I can't wait to meet him. 

Do you think margaritas are smoothies?

Now that you say that, it makes sense. The science adds up to me. Is anything blended a smoothie?

I don't know. What defines a smoothie?

What if you blended up like a burrito, would it taste the same? Or is it more about the texture? I'm asking a hard-headed question.

Would you drink a burrito?

No. Maybe?

Noted. So I read that you identify as bisexual?

Oh. Well, I'm kind of...I'm still just in this place right now where I identify as just like everything. Like I think identifying, it's important to like have that base and you're like, okay, I'm bisexual. But also, I just feel so open to anything. I think it's because I have a very supportive family and very supportive friends that I've always felt very comfortable just being myself and being anything I want to be. So, it's also been kind of interesting being like, "Oh, you're bisexual or you're straight." I'm kind of just open to the world.

Like walking through the world being open to experiences, not necessarily worried about your label. It's how we should all be honestly.

I'm glad you agree. I think it's important to talk about that.

We're all just out here trying to find love and find connections. Not worrying about "where do I fit in" is ideal," I think?

But I also understand that a lot of people don't have the luxury to just be so free and open. Like I know that there are some people that it's really important to have, "I'm this and I'm that," and that's amazing.

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Was there like a moment in your life or a movie that you watched and you were like, "I like girls now?" 

Oh my gosh, watching Baywatch. When I was younger and I saw Pamela Anderson, I was like, "Okay, there's something about this." And Baywatch wasn't even on TV when I was a kid, it was a rerun on Lifetime. I just remember seeing it and being like, "Whoa." That's a silly thing. But it was funny because I never felt like it was wrong. Maybe it's weird that I'm meowing as a young kid. That's just how I've always been. I've always just been open and down for whatever.

Were your parents supportive?

They never really sat me down and were like, "What's up with you?" Which I think is amazing. I think that it's so cool that my family has never tried to pin me down. They just are so supportive, which I definitely don't take that for granted. It's like a huge thing and I know a lot of people don't have that.

You toured with Carly Rae Jepsen.

The queen.

Did you get to touch the sword?

Somebody gave me a sword! Somebody gave me a sword but I was also like, "I don't deserve this right now. Do not give me this sword. This is Carly's, I could not accept this, this is too great of a gift." She has her fan base and they have their own kind of relationship with her that I was just like, "Wow, I would love to have that someday." That intensity and then some. It was seriously such an amazing tour, and getting to see her perform every night. I was just like, okay, this is why she's the queen. 

Who else have you toured with?

I've worked with Charlie Puth years ago. I toured with Charlie years ago. Yeah, baby Charlie. We were literally babies. And then I toured with Tove Lo, which was super fun because she's a close friend. I was on the Ladybug tour with her, which was really, really epic. Being on the road with friends is always makes it easier, everything runs a little bit more smoothly when you feel like you're in good company.

Do you believe in ghosts?

I know that my mom really believes in ghosts. But I don't know really where I stand on that. There was one time where I was really stoned and I thought I saw a ghost, but now that I think about it, I don't think it was a ghost. I don't think it was actually a ghost.

I don't believe in them but I'm open to the possibility.

If I ever encountered a ghost, I really want like...you know the movie Ghost where they have that sexy pottery experience? [laughs] I'm open to sexy pottery experience. But I don't know. I've never seen a ghost while not stoned, so I'm not sure how that goes.

What is your go-to shower song?

Usually, when I'm in the shower, I'm either singing songs that I've just written or I'm working on. The shower's a great place for me to work. I'll sing songs that I'm about to release, or I don't know. I feel like that's more like practice, this is like workout songs so. Or I sing opera.

Just casually?

Just bust out some opera. Yeah, why not?

Which song? 

I always sing "Bella La Luna," which is my favorite one. It's just one that I learned in high school, but I'm just always singing that.

Where you a choir kid?

It was fun. Just a drama nerd, stoner, nerd, like drama geek. I don't know what I was, but yeah, choir. I was in choir, definitely. I was a full-on Shakespeare nerd. I competed in Shakespeare competitions, that was my jam. 

Tell me about the new single. 

So it's called "In Case I Miss You" and I mean that's literally what it's about. It's like that moment where you're just like, "Oh my God, this person is not about to be around anymore, and how am I supposed to deal with that? Who's going to take care of me?" It's just that like the moment where you're just panicking almost. And I think that really comes across in this song. And I remember when I wrote it, I was coming from a place of missing somebody so much that I was having trouble functioning. It wouldn't have been that weird if it was like, a month or two after the relationship, but it was like six months later. And I was still just like, how am I supposed to deal with this all the time?

Luckily, it's something I've moved on from, but I felt it so intensely that it was really helpful for me to write about it in that song. I think a lot of the album that's coming out at the top of next year, I think touches on a lot of relationship stuff. There's a lot of stuff that didn't pan out for me. And it's a lot of me growing up and trying to navigate through stuff that just isn't working out. Which I think is something that you can embrace. I think you don't need to be scared of it.

I just try to be like, "How am I growing as a person from all this chaos?" A lot of the songs are kind of sad, like love songs, or just sad, reflective songs about "Who am I? Who does this person make me?" It touches on a lot of things like that. 

Can you tell us anything about the album!

Okay. So, I have the title of the album, and I have the album artwork, and I'm so excited about it, but I'm just incubating. You know, sitting with it. Listening to the songs and making sure that it's just what I want completely. So far, but...

I've heard some bits of it, and I'm already in love.

Oh my god, thank you.

Phoebe Ryan's debut album How It Used To Feel is due in 2020.

Photos: Ron Dadon

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Taylor Henderson

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one! 

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one!