Ryan Beatty is Music's Newest It Boy

Ryan Beatty is Music's Newest It Boy

The young artist is making big waves with his emotionally bright debut album 'Boy In Jeans'.

The young artist is making big waves with his emotionally bright debut album 'Boy In Jeans'.

Photography: Britt Lloyd

Styling: Maleeka Moss

Text: Devin Barrett

This interview appears in the pages of VMAN40: The New Vanguard Issue, on newsstands now. Order your copy today at shop.vmagazine.com!

Ryan Beatty’s dreamy falsetto drips over the hook in rap collective Brockhampton’s “BLEACH,” cementing the track as one of2018’s most infectious songs.

His trajectory is a coming-of-age story for the digital age. Starting in 2011, Beatty, now in his early 20s, made a name for himself by posting covers of pop songs on YouTube, quickly garnering millions of clicks. The Internet pandemonium ultimately led to Beatty’s first EP, Because of You, which landed at number one in iTunes’ U.S. pop album charts within 24 hours of its release. However, the bubblegum sound and YouTube cachet didn’t stick. “I felt really boxed into that side of the music industry,” explains Beatty. “I remember at 17, I was like, fuck, this is not what I want to be doing. I was still in the closet at the time. I felt like I wasn’t myself in any way.” Beatty came out as gay over Instagram in 2016, posting while stuck in traffic in Los Angeles. “I wanted to keep it spontaneous and not overthink it,” he recalls.

The musician soon found support and friendship within Brockhampton and its frontman, Ian Simpson (known by his stage name, Kevin Abstract). “I heard his record, American Boyfriend, and was blown away. It really inspired me, so I reached out to him over Twitter and we just bonded really well,” details Beatty. “If I never made music with them again, I’d be fine with it as long as they could still be my friends. I’ve learned so much from them.”

Beatty’s first album, Boy in Jeans, which hit airwaves in July, reflects tremendous growth—both personal and musical. It’s a con dent manifesto celebrating the vibrant cusp of adulthood—covering topics like mental health, self-identity, and hook-up culture. The sound is smooth and hallucinogenic. And while it feels like a slow-burning, pop-tinged dreamscape, the subject matter is grounded in self-awareness. “It’s definitely the most personal thing I’ve ever done,” he says. “I don’t feel like a new artist, I just feel like I’ve come into my own.”

RYAN WEARS CLOTHING AND JEWELRY BALENCIAGA
Credits: HAIR BY YUHI KIM (BRIDGE)

UP NEXT

Enlightened Menswear Shines at Boss SS19