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Live and Up Close: Ryan Hopkins

“I hope that when people see me perform they realize how much my heart is in it. I'll put on the same show whether I'm playing to five people or 300.”

HAILS FROM: Born and raised in Davie; lives in Sailboat Bend, Fort Lauderdale

FIRST GUITAR: “Music was always playing around the house. My dad was a total audiophile. My parents gave me a guitar for my seventh birthday and basically told me I was going to take lessons until I was out of high school. The guitar became like an extra limb. My dad started playing guitar when he was 23 but never followed through so when he started me, I think he was saying, ‘Don’t give it up like I did.'”

THE SOUND: Americana. “Not quite country, not quite rock and roll …”

FAVORITE VENUES: “Crazy Uncle Mike’s in Boca Raton is really fun. They have a good scene. I think it helps that Oteil (Burbridge, the bassist for The Allman Brothers Band) pops in there from time to time. That venue is a great in-between spot for us. Right now, it’s Tin Roof in Fort Lauderdale. (It) brings out a really big crowd and people are so excited to be there for the music.”

SOURCE OF PRIDE: “In about 2019 or 2020 I really started writing music and the record I have out right now is called ‘Twenties.’ I recorded it when I was 30 — so last year. It is a collection of songs written in my 20s in the order they were written. They were songs I always found myself coming back to. We are about to record another EP called ‘Artemis’ at Rain Cat in Jensen Beach, the same place as the first one.”

DAY JOB: “I was playing out about four or five times a week right before COVID hit. And, so, in 2019, I was at a point where I probably could have done music full time. Then 2020 came around and it kind of knocked that back. I’m working in yacht management and focusing on better gigs. I did the bar and restaurant circuit so long it kind of led me out of why I loved playing music; it was becoming a grind. I play out maybe four or five times a month and every gig is fun because of that.”

SET LIST MUST: “Velvet Underground’s ‘Rock & Roll.’ It’s just such an f’in good song and we play it really big.”

BAND SOULMATE: “Drummer David Nordstrom. We are just so connected and coordinated as a duo.”

PRE-PERFORMANCE RITUAL: “Maybe I’ll go for a run or workout to get my brain right. And then I do a vocal warmup because the vocal thing came so much later than guitar for me so I’m still just trying to learn how to build my voice out properly. Maybe a shot of tequila before we go on.”

THE LAST WORD: “I hope that when people see me perform they realize how much my heart is in it. I’ll put on the same show whether I’m playing to five people or 300. I just want to keep plugging away at my music, to keep writing new stuff and keep recording new music.”

CATCH HIM LIVE: Tin Roof, Fort Lauderdale, Saturday, March 9 and Saturday, March 30. “We’re hoping to go out on tour before the end of the year to promote both ‘Twenties’ and ‘Artemis.'”

FOLLOW: Instagram: @RyanHopkinsMusic

WATCH FOR: “Artemis” out this summer.

LISTEN: On Apple Music, Spotify, iTunes, Pandora

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