With a very personal approach to his music, Nono Ryan is a slam poet and rapper from Regina, Saskatchewan. As a past Muay Thai Fighter and a Theravada Buddhist Monk, Nono connects his South-East Asian influences and brings his words into a contemporary rap setting. As a member of Trifecta Artist Collective, he has toured through Ontario and Germany, and just recently he released his first solo album Flow Tank. Currently overseas, Nono is revisiting temples from his past chapters, performing poetry in Thailand, and shooting a music video. Nono's chapters are as unique as his music.
Where did you get your start?
Recording tracks with Savan (Jeah) in our parent's basements for fun ten years ago. I remember being amazed that Savan knew how to make songs and I would just always want to work on music. He’s naturally musically gifted and I could write for days. He really encouraged me to start recording my own music, he believed in me for some reason when everyone was telling me to stop, like actually telling me I shouldn't rap. When I was away in the temples I really started writing seriously as I was more connected to my emotions and spirit, and that lead me to take music as a career pursuit when I came back to Canada and then that lead to my solo career as Nono Ryan.
Are there moments in your journey thus far that still resonate with crystal clarity?
Performing my slam poetry in Berlin at one of the most amazing poetry events I’ve been part of. The level of poetry from all the poets was incredible and when I was performing I felt completely at home and in the zone. I remember during my poem “Ocean” I paused after a pretty intense line and could see people in the crowd crying. I knew I was on the correct life path because I was making people feel emotions with clarity while on the other side of the globe. It was honestly a dream come true.
What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
While I was a monk living in a temple in Northern Thailand I was given so much guidance and advice, but the main thing that my master taught me was that life does not have to be so serious, and we can get caught up in emotions and expectations but ultimately our suffering is all relative and you can and will be alright even if everything seems like it’s falling apart. It helped me become connected with my emotions and pursue my passion without fear.
What kind of person do you have to be to pursue an artistic driven profession?
Anyone can be an artist. Personally I believe that it’s the ability to be in tune with emotions and feelings and being able to capture and recreate that feeling in artwork. I personally don’t care what people think about my art, as long as I can make them feel something. When I write, I’m creating a feeling, and when I perform I’m inviting and challenging the audience to feel.
What is the biggest pain in the ass in pursuing something creative as a career?
Balance, keeping a balance with life, I’m so lucky to have people in my life that understand my creative passion and support me even when I just write poems for eight hours straight. That’s a major shoutout to my amazing girlfriend!
I could write all day, but dealing with the important but non artistic side of a creative career is hardest part is doing the management side of art that can be mind numbing like application and grant writing. I am so grateful to have people in my corner like Marvin and Savan and Trifecta that help so much with the trials and tribulations of this creative process
Check out Nono's most recent music video Night & Day on Youtube
For ALL of Nono Ryan's work find him @nonobamryan
To keep in the loop with Trifecta artists and events follow @trifectayqr and check out their website
Photo Credit - Jon Chan (athirdtime Photography) and Taylor Ross-Robinson Photography ©
Video Credit - Act1 ©