Now that he has written hits for Usher, Will Smith, Mary J. Blige and Amerie, Ryan Toby is ready to come from behind the scenes and bask in the spotlight. Having been a member of the group City High for years, he's ready to branch out into a solo project. With a sound more mature than his years, and a style unlike others, the debut album entitled "Soul of a Songwriter" will make you glad Toby decided to do his own thing.
MVRemix: After such a positive experience as a group with City High, why have you decided to go solo?
Ryan Toby: Actually, all of us had intended to be solo artists. But when I met Wyclef, he wanted to put together another group, like the Fugees. That's how City High was born. But my original plan was to come out as a solo artist.
MVRemix: How do you describe your style as an R&B singer?
Ryan Toby: Well, I've been influenced by Sam Cooke, Lionel Richie, people like that. But my style is that I don't have a style. I like to sound different on each track so that my CD doesn't sound like the same song to different music.
MVRemix: What day does the CD drop and where can we find it?
Ryan Toby: The CD drops in the first quarter of '07. We were gonna put it out at the end of this year, but a lot of stations will be playing all holiday music at the end of the year.
MVRemix: What's playing in your ear right now? Which 6 CDs are in your CD changer?
Ryan Toby: Umm…Let's see…Gnarls Barkley. The Idlewild Soundtrack. I did go out and get that new Beyonce. Chaka Khan. LTD. Otis Redding.
MVRemix: You have acting and songwriting background, how does that help you in your endeavors as a solo singer?
Ryan Toby: It helps me because it allows me to put on a different face – give my fans a side of me they haven't seen.
MVRemix: With so many gifts and talents, how do you decide where to focus your efforts?
Ryan Toby: First of all I pray and ask God to lead me where He wants me to go. And for the first time in my life, I can actually say that I'm focused. Before, it was all about doing what others wanted me to do. But now, I'm choosy. Now, I'm focused.
MVRemix: Now that we know about Ryan Toby the Artist, I'd like to know about Ryan Toby the man. What do you like to do when you're not working?
Ryan Toby: I have three kids and I love to just spend time with my kids and my wife. My kids are free thinkers! They haven't been told by the world that they can't do something so they feel they can accomplish anything. Just the other day, my son said "Look dad! I'm a rocket!" as he was running through the house. And that…that kind of stuff really inspires me.
MVRemix: You're the father of a young son. How do you handle it when he objects to your being away, or being busy so much?
Ryan Toby: I take my kids with me! Everywhere I go! My wife and I have already come to terms with the fact that we are not going to be the traditional-type family. And we take our kids with us everywhere.
MVRemix: So many of us have dreams to be singers, can you give some words of wisdom on making it in this industry?
Ryan Toby: Yes! I want new artists to know that they make the music industry happen. Without them, big name record labels would only be companies with money. So they should realize who they are and know their value. They need to have confidence! Another thing I would encourage new artists to do is create their own record label and put their CD out that way. If they do, they'll keep a whole lot more of the profits. I mean, when you sign to a major record label you only make pennies off of each CD you sell. But when you create your own label, you'll be keeping all the money.