"I just did another interview, I have no concept of time and I think we ended up talking for like 30 extra minutes and I thought somebody was going to cut me off! But I'm here now!" Ryn Weaver excitedly announces as our call connects.

As we talk, her debut album The Fool (already out in the US) is finally due to be released in a few days and despite already having gone through the experience of releasing the album, she's excited to do it all over again. "It's funny having an album out somewhere and not having it in other places. I know there's the whole "set up" thing but it's still interesting to me, I'm very new to this world. I played some shows in London and Paris and I was like "Oh, the record's about to be out..." and people were yelling out "Not for us!" [Laughs]."

It's been somewhat of an interesting journey for Erin Michelle Wüthrich thus far and she's only just begun. Born and raised in San Diego, she studied a variety of art forms such as acting, musical theatre before moving to New York to study acting at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and changed her name to Ryn because the original spelling was "ordinary and didn't suit" and opted to use her mother's maiden name to complete the new moniker. She lasted two years before eventually dropping out after running low on funds to sustain living in New York City. As a result of this and after breaking up with her then-boyfriend (who first introduced her to super producer Benny Blanco), she moved to Los Angeles and spent two years couch surfing between friends, family and at a few points, found herself living in her car.



One night in March 2013, while out with friends in LA, they started to play around with Weaver's Tinder account. While swiping through the various anonymous faces, she came across one she recognised - Benny Blanco. One of her friends sent him a message and invited them to a party the next day where Weaver came armed with music from her SoundCloud page. After hearing her music, he started his Friends Keep Secrets imprint with Interscope Records and signed Weaver to his label and began working on her debut EP and eventually, her album.

As we kick off talking about the album, her enthusiasm shines right through the phone. She's obviously very proud of her work and very keen to emphasise how much work she's put into it herself. "It's been a joy!" she proclaims when I ask how the creation of the record has been. "I thought it was very important for me that it represented my journey as an individual and finding my freedom before it was about finding the right man or woman. I wanted it to be a story more about my freedom and finding my freedom through leaving a bad relationship. At the end of it I find the perfect person and that's where I was a couple of months ago. 'New Constellations' ends where the record begins; the last song is like 'I found everything I thought I wanted, maybe I am a fool if I'm going to give it up and keep looking and jump without a safety net.' But I feel like that's the only way to keep growing, to be able to make that break and understand that sometimes you have to be self-aware and a bit selfish."

Essentially, The Fool is a concept album "based on the imagery of a tarot card in a deck" with "The Fool" card being the only card that doesn't follow numerology. "It's number is a zero, it's like the wildcard of the deck. The imagery represents a new beginning, joy, a bit of fear, like a baby bird jumping from the nest." She says she wanted to tell her "coming of age" story for her first album instead of creating an album of individual records.

"It's funny because it ended up being my first record but I think I related to it more than it being about the beginning of my career; the story that I wanted to tell was, I guess, a coming of age in a sense but more the story of being a modern woman which, I think the closer we come to actual equality, I think that's pretty much the same as being a modern man. I touched on a lot of topics such as the fear of commitment, a wanting to be free... A lot of modern female pop records - I wouldn't even categorise it as a pop record but people are always so quick to pick which side you play for. I'm definitely pop influenced like anyone in this era that grew up with Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, all that jazz, I think we all had a bit of that pop in us. I wanted to be a bit experimental in form, I feel like there's so many records these days that are a bunch of attempts at a single because we live in times of clickbait society and a lot of people don't buy records anymore so it's easier to try and write a bunch of singles in the short term. But in the long term I want my fans to come with me on a journey and be able to track my growth and movement through a discography and now just the accessibility of a pop song. I was ambitions with it, I'm really, really proud of the results and there's not a lot of record out that I feel have represented me in the sense that maybe I'm the outlier or maybe I'm the new modern rule? I don't really know but I think as a young woman, we're taught so much through media, through society, through cartoons, television shows etc. And the fact that most of the time its men writing those pop songs, there's very few that have represented where I feel I stand which is the antithesis of being submissive, the whole 'I'm just going to wait for you, I'll do anything you want' and 'baby, please stay with me', that's not really my M.O. or really, the M.O. of anyone I know. I really wanted to represent that voice, I made sure not to write any songs like that for this record, I thought it was very important for me that it represented my journey as an individual and finding my freedom before it was about finding the right man or woman."



The theatrical undertone of The Fool stems not only from her previous acting and artistic background but also from her musical influences. David Bowie plays a big part as well as other musicians who believe in the art of storytelling. "I feel like a lot of my influences were very theatrical; I love [David] Bowie's and the Kate's [Bush], artists that have their own flair, their own style but they play within the genre to better tell a story."

In many cases and much of her early reviews, Weaver has quickly been labelled a pop artist, but when I question her on this title, she's a little hesitant to agree with the label. "I'm on my own route and I hope it doesn't put people off. As a female artist, they really want you to be... Like, I've seen reviews like 'well, she's not quite a pop star then, is she?' and I'm like, 'Did I ever claim to be?' I've only ever claimed to be an artist, not even an artist, just a songwriter; someone who really want to push the envelope of things, not fit the mould perfectly. That's not who I've ever wanted to be."

Still, she's a huge fan of pop music and agrees that much of her early influences include many '90s/early 2000 pop stars such as Britney Spears and the Spice Girls. But believes the term "pop music" has changed so much over the years that its current term doesn't correctly represent her and her music. "Over the years, something about it became very formulaic about it when a lot of the people that wrote the songs were all the same people, all the same co-writers etc. creating a sound and I think that was the '90s/early 2000s. I think pop took on a different tone, it was a lot more formulaic and about, you know, the age of "the product" - a lot of young, beautiful, talented performers who didn't write their music. There was this Disney-ish machine and I think pop music on the radio since then has changed."

The changing economy over the years has also contributed to much of pop music's shifting format. "People who used to sell 23 million record are now selling 1 million, then you think about the people who are just starting and it's a very different current. Economy is very indicative of why things are the way they are for a while and even now... I still listen to pop music, I like it; it's fun, it's catchy but I think sometimes people would rather get a home run hit than push the boundary and see if people buy into it. The people who are buying music are young, at least in the US. Little kids are like, 'I need to go to this concert' or 'I need to buy this record'. A lot of people who are making really cool alternative or music that's pushing an envelope of some sort, most of their fans are going to illegally download or stream and then come to a show. It depends on the demographic that you're targeting. I do believe pop became a dirty word because of the state of the music industry... It's far more difficult to make a living as a musician unless you're going for that world and I think there's a very big separation these days between the two."

Even now, she describes finding new music as "being in a relationship" with them. "That's a funny way to describe it but it's kind of like that, it's like, you have to win my heart in that sense if you're going to stick around." The staples include Joni Mitchell, Joanna Newsom and "Bowie, Bowie, Bowie" but there are some new artists among the mix. "I have my staples and it's difficult for someone to become one but when they do I'm a big fan; I'll play that same record thousands of times and people will just want to murder me. One of the new ones I'm obsessed with, spinning it non-stop is Wolf Alice; I really like the record. I also love the Jane's Addiction influence, there's so many of my favourites growing up I heard in the record but it's still so fresh and so exciting. I've also been listening to Mac DeMarco a bit. I've spun the life out of that Caribou record; I'm a big fan of that, I did just listen to the new [FKA] twigs EP, I thought that was great. I like listening to her stuff coupled with the imagery, I think it's so nice."

But while she's in creation mode, Weaver tends to stay away from what's already out. "I feel like when I write a record, I don't listen because I just want whatever my brain have in it to show itself instead of needing to use someone else's music to have to spark that. Over the course of writing the record, I wasn't really listening to anything at all and I'm still getting back into the music search because I've been out of the game and I've been more focused on being in my head and creating than listening to other people."

Part of Ryn Weaver's appeal is her honesty, be it through her music on record, on stage or even through her social media interaction. The Fool is a brutally honest depiction of her life up until this point and highlighting its honesty has been one of her goals for the record. "We're in an overly marketed market, to say the least. People play up all of their 'anything' in order to sell records and make it more about being the poster child of something than being a human being. I had the opportunity to make a record that would have been 11 'OctaHate's and that could have been my M.O. but I wanted to go the other route and I wanted to play with the genre as a storytelling method and I wanted to create something that was self-completing in the same sense of... I think I said I'm a big fan of Stephen Sondheim as a lyricist and a composter. There's elements of playwriting, when it's done right where you bring those pieces. There's always a clever little trick with a lot of those that I feel are sometimes glazed over by pop music; the ability to really fulfil a story. That was my real goal with the first record."

She's knows that she's not perfect and that she won't appeal to everybody and quite frankly, I think she's ok with that. "I just turned 23; I don't owe anyone my heart. I'm still learning it myself and I think sometimes you need to make selfish decisions in the short term in order to really live your truth and live a long, happy, full life in the long term. I guess that's where I was coming from with this record, I hope I pulled it off." Is "pop" still something of a dirty word? More recently, musicians have been launching themselves as "pop" instead of labelling it as some other weird offshoot of the word. Take Hallie Steinfield or Grace Mitchell; both championed by Zane Lowe on Beats 1 in recent month and both proudly labelled as "pop" artists. Weaver believes to some, the term can still bring up those negative connotations. "That was the hardest part for me; being labelled a popstar right from the very jump but songwriting is my... that's what I'm good at, that's what I believe in and that's what I like. When people take that from you or start to question your validity as an artist, that's when... I don't know, I'd much rather make a record I want to make and follow my own advice, my own artistic career trajectory than become another piece of the machine and that's where I was coming from. I have nothing against pop! Technically, all of our favourite artists were pop artists. Even Pink Floyd has a moment; they were on pop radio. Things were pop. It's only because the masses, for one reason or another, latched on and it was popular."



Touring is where the Ryn Weaver experience comes full circle. Admittedly, she's still trying to refine her live experience after being thrust into festival dates and spot tour dates over the last 12 months including Lollapalooza, Coachella, SXSW and many more. "Playing [the album] live is so great because any record is polished to some degree, you're not going to be screaming over the track on every song but the live show, at least the mentality, its very punk rock and it's definitely a rock show."

I bring up her recent show in London at the Notting Hill Arts Club - a venue that has played a part in launching the careers of the likes of Lily Allen, Rita Ora and Mark Ronson. Many famous faces have passed through its doors through the years including Courtney Love and Mick Jones of The Clash. Seeing her on that tiny stage seemed rather bizarre; her performance style should be filling out stadiums and arenas. "I was so nervous, oh my Gosh!" she recalls. "I hadn't done my first tour yet and I've just finished my first big tour. In the beginning you're still working it out and figuring it out, I was so nervous and giggly! But now I think I've honed in what the meaning of it is."

During the shows closing number 'OctaHate', she's known to invite her fans on stage with her to sing and dance with her. Alongside my fear of the venue's tiny stage collapsing, I noticed the variety of faces in her fan base. It's something that she's noticed as well. "I've also found that my fan base, you'd expect a lot of the kids to be pop fans and I have a lot of those but it's a lot of rebellious youth and surprisingly a lot of men who relate to the ideas because it is coming from a woman. But there are a lot of men, it's really diverse. I guess that's why I feel very lucky. That means it touches something that's human verses just playing at a trend and developing a scene. I think the scene will come. I wanted to do something that was really genuine to my situation. It's so interesting meeting fans after shows; it's like divorces, young girls, college students, it's not too one sided, it's whoever is touched by it. I've had a lot of fun touring. I miss it!"

Her fans are hardcore. Some have her lyrics tattooed on them, including some who have simply copied her writing style ("Someone asked me to write the name of my record on a piece of paper; after a show I'm adrenalined up, I'd been drinking but I wrote it out and the next day I got a personal video of them getting it tattooed on their arm and I was like "Oh God! I wouldn't have written it better, I would have gone home and made it look really cute!" It was just a scribble on a paper!") And one look at her social media replies and you'll find a barrage of "ILY" or "MOM!" and even comments perhaps a little more extreme for public eyes. She doesn't want to be seen as a "role model" for anyone because she's still growing with her fans. "I don't think it's my job to play anything other than myself. People are flawed; I am extremely flawed and I make mistakes all the time. My record is a bit indicative of that, I think at a lot of points but I think that's what people relate to it. I don't claim to be some self-help Barbie. I think I have a black sheep syndrome and a bit of a rebel's pulse. I think a lot of people are unhappy with the way things are or believe that they can be better, a lot of my fans are dreamers and a lot of them are artists and writers, which I've been very thankful for."

The Fool had been streaming on iTunes prior to its release in the US, with 'OctaHate' first gaining its notoriety after being posted on SoundCloud (It had gain over 1 million plays in two weeks and was shared by the likes of Jessie Ware and Charli XCX almost immediately). As a child of the '90s, Weaver identifies herself as the "generation of Napster" and finds the idea of streaming an interesting one. She's clearly in support of it because it helps reach a generation of people who may not have the means to always buy music. "I'm working class. My parents didn't give me cash to spend on things, I didn't get to go shopping; I'd go shopping for school clothes so it wasn't like I had disposable income. So at the same time, as much I can, as an artist now, say "you wouldn't steal something from a store!" Some people get so irate about it. But for me, at the same time, I wouldn't have been able to have the access to music in that sense."

The issue of streaming is deeper than how much a service pays out. The issue is with share and rights holders who are taking a piece of the pie that they're not necessarily entitled to. "I think what they're attempting to do, in a way, which they haven't maintained yet because the truth is, things like Spotify do pay out, the issue is shareholders. There are people who own stock in a lot of these publishing companies and they cut back deals where they're like 'Oh, sure!' and didn't care about anyone else as long as they were in on it from the beginning in making a large profit. A lot of it is trying to work out the logistics. I think what it's trying to do, in the same way as a Netflix or a library, is just make music more readily available to the masses, like information. People being able to tap in and learn about different genres and not only listen to record that their parents bought them. It opens a world of knowledge, it really does, it just needs to be monitored better, I think."

Once a supporter of free music, Weaver now understands it's important for musicians to be compensated for their work but thinks there's another model that can work - one that hasn't quite been achieved just yet. "I used to talk about that all the time, how I almost believed that music should be free because it's such this coping mechanism. It teaches people so much, there's so much poetry to be found, it's apathetic, there's so many good parts of it. I was raised in a top 40 family when I was young and then my dad gave me all his old records, but the way I found my own record tastes was having the freedom to download things like that. It's hard for me to speak on it when it's actually shaped my ability to form my artistic identity. It really is a tricky situation, I really do believe streaming is the future because we're not going to get rid of it now, it's already there. I think it's more about being able to really crack the rules on it and figuring out how to make it work because there's still people going to see movies in movie theatres, there's still people renting movies but there's people who all have Netflix. I feel strange about it only because it's a lot more of a strain on the modern artist who's not doing it for money. If you want to do it for money, you can find the right people and they will make you a superstar. Of if you're trying to be on your own journey, you're betting on people appreciating what you do so it's more of a risk. Through touring and developing fan bases, that's kind of how you really are going to make your money but we're going to figure out this streaming thing soon. This industry is full of marketing genius' - if they can't somehow figure out a spin to make people feel like they should pay for things than... the biggest marketers are probably in entertainment so if they can't find a spin, then I don't know who can."

"As much as people got mad at people like Taylor Swift or the TIDAL people, they're intentions are good. Whether or not their intentions were more for themselves or they were for the up-and-coming artists, which is how it was discussed, it is true. New, young artists aren't making any money off of albums or album sales and a lot of those artists came from a time where that was your main income really. You were doing well as far as sales were concerned. I think it's actually important they speak up and hopefully things change but I don't think we'll see any immediate change, I think it'll take a good five years or somewhere around that time. But I'm ok with it - it's the prime of my career, do I give a fuck? No, I care about making cool music and developing a fan base. I'd rather be able to break even and tour for the rest of my life than sit pretty in some mansion and forget my artistic drive because I'm so comfortable."



Ryn's journey hasn't been without its hiccups. There's been some creative changes along the way, perhaps most noticeably she pulled the original video for 'OctaHate' a few weeks after its release and changed the album artwork a few weeks before release. "It's just important to really be in control of things. I think it's different from a machine, I think in my life I need an extra three of me to put a treatment together. Conceptually, I have a lot of ideas and it's the same with my songwriting. Some people just write the very first thing that comes to their head. I choose every single word for a reason. For me, it's the same with my visuals, I want to put out quality content and I don't want to feel rushed or anything. My label have been nothing but understanding and loving of me, they just believe in me so much and it's so crazy. They believe in me as an artist and love what I'm doing. It's very encouraging to have that from the label, I'm sure a lot of people don't have that and I'm very blessed."

She only had one week to find a director for the original video of 'OctaHate', which she says was rush-released to coincide with the quick rise in the tracks popularity and the original stylist she wanted wasn't available so were forced to go with an alternative option. "They've given me free reign and they've been so wonderful to me but also, there were a lot of deadlines, there were things just because my song popped up so quickly and these plans happened. I never expected 'OctaHate' to really blow up like that, I thought it would be a much slower moving thing and with that I really wanted to strike while the iron is hot but a part of that can sometimes be things are done haphazardly." In the end, the video wasn't executed the way she wanted it to so she decided to speak up about it rather than half-heartedly support it. "I don't feel the need to save face and be like 'Oh, no that's exactly what I wanted!' it's like, if I didn't like it and we put it out, if I feel like taking it down, I'm going to take it down. I don't feel like I owe anyone any explanation other than 'I changed my mind' or 'I just never liked it.' The album cover, that was its own little thing too [Laughs]."

Now that much of her touring commitments have been completed, Weaver has decided to clear the next two months while she works on "setting up shop" which includes working on her own merchandise and online store as well as finding time to get back to some of her original passions which have been neglected and putting out more content in relation to the album. "I'm getting a new space because I was living with friends and couch surfing and now I'm getting my own studio space where I can paint amd draw because I haven't had my own space to do that. I'm just really setting up shop." Fans will also be excited to learn that she's also in the very early stages of her next record. "I'm also working on a new record actually, surprisingly, I'm already in that head space." She's also getting back into photography and will also be filming new content. "I'm getting a nice little back screen, a great camera and lights and I'm going to start setting up my own photo room. I want it to be very self-contained. But that's the focus right now, putting out more videos and things that I feel are worthy of the project. I understand that everyone lives on their plans but plans change and I really just want to make sure my creative is so squeaky clean because so much of it has been 'Oh, film this video, you have a week to film it and two days to edit.' Then it's like, 'You need to fly back here, do this, do that...' and I'm like 'I'm just setting up shop.' These next couple of months are just going to be output. That's the goal for me right now."



It's been just over a year since 'OctaHate' debuted online but Ryn believes this is the beginning of her career. "It's been a long, fast, crazy year and with that I'm also learning to be my own boss, everything is so brand new, I'd never played shows and suddenly it was like "run a business" and of course I trust people but I want to be in creative control. So along with that comes, as with the beginning of your journey, things are... they're done right but they're not done... I don't think I'll ever be completely happy with something I do and I think that's why a lot of people continue to create because once you finish one thing you want to keep going. I think it's been just a year since my first show and I'm in a place right now where... we can talk about this past year was the beginning but I feel like the beginning is now! That was such a whirlwind, it was so wonderful and I've learned so many things."

With her now able to set up shop, the next year is looking really exciting with no compromises. "I'm looking forward to this next year, more touring and after that I think more records. I understand cycles and how things go but I don't see why people can't just constantly be putting out content. I know there's different plans for different kinds of projects but I just want to be in constant creation mode and constantly touring. That's where my head is at."

The Fool is available now on iTunes.