There are too few female producers in this industry. Sure, a few names readily come to mind when one thinks of “songwritresses” who took control of their creative projects, such as Emilie-Claire Barlow and her collaborator Steve Webster, who were nominated at the 2016 JUNOS for Record Producers of the Year. Or Grimes, whose Art Angels was one of 2015’s most critically-acclaimed albums.
Enter a newcomer in the select club of female singer-songwriters, beat-makers and producers, but, strangely, she has a man’s name. RYAN Playground, née Genèvieve Ryan-Martel, launched her first EP Elle in February on then Secret Songs imprint, which is run by another Canadian electro beat-maker, Ryan Hemsworth. This first effort highlights Playground’s impressionist writing, which turns on finely crafted rhythms and atmospheres, rather than your typical A-B-A-B-C-A pop song structure.
“I don’t limit myself to any given structure.”
“I don’t limit myself to any given structure,” says the Montréal-based artist. “When I finish one part of a song, I build the next according to how I feel at that moment. I really don’t mind if, in the end, it sounds like several songs rolled into one. Weird structures are inspiring to me, and I hope they’ll inspire those who are seeking something new.”
Even though Elle is largely self-produced and the result of sterling work, Playground did, however, also tap Hemsworth for the production of “Folders,” the first single. It’s a song that has a very special significance for the artist. “Those lyrics mean a lot to me, and I really wanted to work with him, so it was the perfect time to do so,” says Playground. “I’ve always been a fan of Secret Songs, so releasing Elle on that label was the only logical thing to do.”
Judging by her incredibly busy schedule in the coming months, RYAN Playground is about to become a household name in the Canadian electronic music scene. “I’m working on a new project that should come out in late summer, early fall and include many collaborations,” she says. “And people all across the country will be able to catch me live in May!”