Ryan Keen – Focus (EP Review)

Ryan Keen continues to prove how unsigned artists can gain recognition with his new EP ‘Focus’ 

Hailed as Zane Lowe’s “Next Hype”, Ryan Keen, the English born and bred singer-songwriter really has come far in the past 12 months. The 24 year old has constantly been touring, supporting the award-winning Ed Sheeran on his latest ‘+’ tour and receiving honours such as the “One To Watch” in 2012 by The Daily Mail and the support of Radio 1.

His brand new EP ‘Focus’ has already been extremely well received, with it hitting the number 23 spot on the pop charts and 49 in the overall iTunes chart, a feat that is extremely impressive without the backing of a major label. This was purely achieved through word and mouth, and extremely similarly to his good friend Mr. Sheeran, this is a story of an ordinary guy using music to make it to the top.

The lead track on the EP, ‘Focus’, is a remarkable inspiring tale of not losing site of your dream and taking a chance with life. This track perfectly highlights Ryan’s songwriting ability, as the skill of telling a story seems to come with considerable ease. The track really has everything you need for a chilled afternoon in the sun with a nice cold beer; it features warm vocals, relaxed guitar and a simple yet effective percussive beat. This track also features Ryan’s outstanding well-known guitar skills, as he showcases a brilliant tapping section in the song. The video for the track was released onto YouTube on February 22nd and has already amassed almost 22,000 views, which shows the impact he is having on the British music scene already. The video itself is an extremely clever stop-motion animation video filmed and produced by Andy Shackleford (most known for his work on Postman Pat), which is bound to be that extra selling point for a brilliant song

But if you think it stops there then you are clearly mistaken. The EP features three other tracks, including the more up-beat ‘See Me Now’.  Once again fuelled by emotion driven lyrics, this song is an extremely easy listen, due to the percussive drum sections and warm guitar tones. The next track on the EP is the deep love song, ‘In My Mind’. Compared to the other tracks on this record it has much more of a folk feel to it, with the focus solely on the warm vocals, thoughtful lyrics and comforting guitar. The fourth and final track on the EP, ‘Orelia’, is my personal favourite (behind the lead single ‘Focus’). This song truly does showcase Ryan’s unique and outstanding skill and technique on the guitar. Never before have I seen or heard this amount of tapping and percussive element on one guitar, it really does have to be seen to be believed.

These 4 tracks on the EP really do show how a large majority of music in the UK is still currently unsigned. He has been able to capture his personality and charisma, which is easily noticed in his live shows, and record them onto this small EP. Ryan Keen’s summer is already looking busy with a whole string of festival line-ups from performances at Devon’s GoldCoast Oceanfest to Festeaval in Suffolk to the well-known Bestival 2012 (which is being headlined by none other that Stevie Wonder!!!). For anyone who is still not convinced then I seriously suggest you go and check out his songs and performances on YouTube, including his session he did with us here at BackToBasicsTV

Written By: Ryan Tinslay

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Posted on 22/03/2012, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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