Exclusive: Debby Ryan Opens Up About Releasing Her Debut EP & Stepping Into the Director’s Chair

debbyryan-interview-061714Over the years, we’ve gotten to know Debby Ryan the actress, and next week, you’ll meet Debby the singer/songwriter.

Okay, so we’ve all heard Debby sing for various Disney projects and what not, but if you listened to Debby & The Never Ending’s song “Mulholland Drive,” then you know this is a whole new side of Debby and it’s awesome. This isn’t your bubblegum pop with meaningless lyrics. According to Debby, this is her being “honest about who I actually am for the first time in a long time.”

Debby & The Never Ending, will be releasing their debut EP One on June 24 and we had the chance to chat with her all about this new chapter in her life as well as what it was like stepping behind the camera to direct an episode of “Jessie.” Check it out!

You directed an episode of “Jessie” in season 3. Will you be doing more of that in season 4?
Debby: 100%. I think something that’s great about Jessie is she’s my “back pocket girl.” I can pull her out, know the lines and be pretty comfortable in her voice. She was written for me and I feel very blessed to have gotten to the point where I have the character that way and I know my writers well. Because she’s such a comfortable voice for me to play, I always love a challenge so for me, I found that in directing. For me to be able to take something from just being words on a page, the little details, and bring it to life, I found such a beauty in being able to do that and it renewed my love for storytelling in the TV industry. For me, I would love to spend as much time as possible directing and in that kind of world. It was fun and I like getting lost in work. I think that it makes you a better actor and producer, it makes you more aware of little details and more proactive. If anything, it made me a better human being so I would love to continue doing that on and off screen.

Congrats on the release of “Mulholland Drive.” What is it like to finally have a song out there and people tweeting you the lyrics and all that?
Debby: You know, Shine On, more than probably any other outlet I would say, has been tracking my music as I’ve grown, which by the way, thank you, it’s an incredible blessing. The fact that people care, sometimes – this is no exaggeration – is the only thing keeping me from giving up on music. The fact that that time came [after all the work we’ve done] and that song is what we did it with and then, the most important part – the fact that people liked it…to be the voice of that and the writer of that, I fell in love with music as a songwriter. I’m not going to lie and say that I wanted to be this incredible vocalist or that I wanted to be doing diva runs on stage at the Staples Center. I literally wanted to write a song that would move people and if I’m playing that on a corner or playing that at Nokia Live, that’s what’s important to me – the song. People seem to really like it and I can say that we have a lot more upbeat songs coming but I think that it was a really cool thing we started that way and even cooler that it meant a lot to people.

debby-neverendingHow does “Mulholland Drive” set up for the full ‘One’ EP out next week?
Debby: I think it shows you that the lyrics aren’t watered down. I’m not going to sacrifice who I am and what I think is cool about “Mulholland” as a preview to the rest of everything is that it doesn’t ignore the fact that I’m an actress and maybe that’s why people know my face and my name. I’m not trying to coast on the fans that I have. I believe in new fans, but the ones that know me, I want to show them the artistic version of who I am. I want to marry a person who understands my vines and the sarcastic kind of tweets and the poetic posts whenever I’m having a bad day…I want to marry that personality with the girl who creates art at a very high quality. I think that’s what this music is. My actual personality. I’m not a character, I don’t have lines or costumes, but it’s also done in a very high quality way. Chase [Ryan] is the most incredible producer and has a very advanced studio and the boys in the band are incredible at what they do. I think what we’ve found is very special and has a balance to me that I think “Mulholland Drive” is just the beginning of the Never Ending.

chaseryan-tattooYou do have such beautiful lyrics with your songs. Do you have a favorite lyric you’ve ever written?
Debby: There’s a lyric in the song “Waltz When the Dark Falls” and it’s “my heart is a bird and my head is a cage.” It is my brother’s favorite lyric as well and he ended up getting it tattooed and that was very special to me because…I have lyrics that are tattooed on somebody’s arm. That’s a very big thing and for me to have written something for my life hero and best friend in the world to have tattooed on them, that’s a really big thing and he more than anyone in the entire world understands what my mind was doing when I wrote that song. So that’s why I think that it’s very important and cool that he likes that.

Any message for your fans?
Debby: Thanks so much for supporting, it’s been a crazy ride and it’s only going to get crazier. This year, everything that you know and life as you know it and Debby as you know it is going to change for the better. I’m really excited to share this with you. All along the way, I’m not trying to prove anything. All I’m doing is being truly honest about who I actually am for the first time in a long time. I’m very excited and nervous to see where that ends up. If you go on this ride with me I promise I’ll take you every step of the way.

Be sure to get Debby & The Never Ending’s EP One on June 24!