Interview with Hip Hop Artist Ryan Gratil

by Mike Lightner on December 4, 2014

IMG_5918Ryan Gratil, 22 from Phoenix, Arizona is an aspiring hip-hop artist and musician. His music brings an alternative hip hop feel, mixed with technical rhyme schemes, witty wordplay, and his sense of humor. He’s an honors student at the local community college and is majoring in Business which will probably change. When he’s not writing music, he’s busy with school or work, hanging out with Delores, his DSLR camera or his friends. He love sports, namely basketball and football. He skateboards and snowboards and will one day learn how to wake board. He’s got a deep love for LoLo’s Chicken and Waffles and when it comes to Girl Scout Cookies he is the biggest thin-mint enthusiast.

Where are you from and how did your upbringing influence your music?

I’m from the Phoenix, Arizona area in a little suburb 20 minutes east called Gilbert. It’s pretty rad. It’s like the Shire in comparison to Middle Earth, if you’re a Lord of The Rings fan. My upbringing wasn’t anything special. I didn’t grow up in the projects or the slums and I didn’t get everything handed to me with a silver spoon on a golden platter either.-Basically coming from the lower-middle class I’ve had a lot of experiences that a lot of other people have had. For example the good and bad of relationships, financial struggle, family issues, regrets and aspirations, all the good times and memories, experiences in my life of divine nature, and anything with a positive outlook. If the vibes inspire and uplift then I’m digging it.


How did you first get into writing songs?

Honestly it all started in elementary school. I was and still am very passionate for reading and books so I remember in 5th grade I asked my teacher to set aside some time after lunch for an ‘open mic’ type ordeal. I would write short stories and then read them aloud for the class. In Junior High I started freestyling for the fun of it- you know rap battling with the friends and just making up lyrics. I wrote my first actual song I think my senior year of high school, and then a year after a group of friends specifically Brady Norman, Skyler Hittle and Dru Dalgarno made this rap group called Locally Famous. I bought some cheap mic and downloaded some cheap editing program for my outdated mac and we made music from there. We made this song called “Four Ate Hoes” which is probably one of my worst songs but people liked it so we kept making music. Now I just rap on my own and I have some talented friends who sing that make my songs a lot better.


How would you describe your sound?

That’s a good question. People have told me I’m similar to Eminem and Childish Gambino. Obviously Eminem as phenomenal lyricism, passion, wordplay, and flow. Childish Gambino puts a lot of personality into his songs and has some of the wittiest punchlines I’ve ever heard. I’d say my sound is a mix of Em and Childish. I’m a huge fan of alternative rock and indie music so a lot of my choruses and hooks are organized to those similar styles so it’s a funky alternative hip-hop sound.


Who are the recording artists that inspire you the most and why?

I’d definitely say Tupac, only because I’ve been fascinated with his life in general. I even did a research paper on him in high school. I think I scored like a C+ on it haha. His overall love for music is huge and legendary. He lived in Baltimore for some time and I actually lived there for several months during my LDS mission so it was cool to walk the same grounds has him. Biggie Smalls is another one, being another hip hop martyr. His raw flow and thickness in his sound is just unbeatable. Childish Gambino is so much of himself and creative and I identify with his music. Michael Jackson is another huge one, because the talented musician that he was. Their all unique and added personality to their music which is big when it comes to creating any form of art.


How did you hear about the Jee Juh contests? How has Jee Juh helped you?

I think I stumbled across it on Youtube one day. Other than providing me with some great beats to make music with, I think this contest itself is a great way to connect with artists and gain exposure.


What is the most important piece of advice you have received as an artist?

Work my guts out and don’t get offended. It takes a lot of work to be an artist. I’m an Honors Student at this community college taking 15 credits and I work about 30 hours a week so I really learn how to value my time and how hard I need to work to get a song done when I need it to. As for not being offended, for the most part everyone is in control of their emotions so as an artist I can control how I feel when someone doesn’t like my music or gives me feedback. I can see it as an opportunity to grow and become better or let my ego get in the way and get upset. Basically just be optimistic, work hard, and make things happen.


Do you have any advice for other up and coming rappers like yourself?

I’d say network with people, talk to everyone you know about your music. Be patient with yourself and understand if you want to be good you’ve got to practice and put the effort it. Hip hop is competitive so you’re responsible for your work and what you make it. Have fun making music and be yourself- don’t try to be like another musician. Be creative and just do it. I like to think Nike is the greatest philosopher in the 21st century.


What do you have planned for the near future?

I’m looking to connect with other artists, grow my fan base, and make more music people can feel and vibe to. I’m working on my first album. Also, I’ve have a guy who managed and worked with Genesis, Kiss, and Elton John who’s going to be connecting with some producers and labels in London in the next several weeks and he’ll be showing them my music which will be way cool and will hopefully lead to some more opportunities and point me in the right direction.


Are there any special thanks or shout outs you would like to give?

Let’s see. God for my God-given talents. My parents of course. My friends and their friends that dig my music and my girlfriend Aubrey who knows my music better than I do. James Linton, my audio engineer who owns Soundwave Studios is a straight boss and knows how to make great music. I’d also like to give a shout out to the future Shi-Tzu puppy that I want, Churros, and to the Jamba Juices around the Nation. They make the best smoothies.


Follow Ryan on Twitter: @Anamolicious
Check out his channel:

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