“I fiiiinally got to play Nashville,” Rhyan said, stretching out the word to emphasize how long she has waited.
She was all of 12 at the time.
Yes, she is a precocious young woman. All of 13 now, the homeschooled teen started singing as a 5-year-old, wrote her first songs when she was 8 and performed with an adult band when she was 9.
And she’s been performing ever since, currently with All the Little Pieces, which features 20-somethings Chris Jones and Billy Thomas, and Thomas Suggs, who’s in his 40s.
Is it weird performing with people more than three times her age? No way.
“For me, it’s cool because I get to learn from them,” Rhyan said. “I’m comfortable and they treat me well.”
Like a little sister, according to Rhyan’s mother, Toni.
“Rhyan can be very mature for her age but also very silly,” Toni said. “Band practice is fun and the guys look out for her.”
And they’ve had plenty of opportunities to do so. The band plays regularly in the area, including Natasha’s, SEC, Minton’s at 760 in Lexington, and Cosmic Oasis and Café Meeples in Richmond.
All the Little Pieces also has performed at the Richmond Center Concert Series, the Georgetown Kite Fest, the Gallery Hop and, of course, the gig in Nashville.
Rhyan has been the pre-show act at Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour, and even sang two lines from “Chasing Pirates” to one of her heroes – Norah Jones. Rhyan was 10.
Earlier that year, Rhyan had dressed up as Jones for Halloween.
Rhyan’s musical tastes also reflect her maturity. When she recorded her first original song (“Do You Even Like Me?” with Derek McElwee), she said, “I don’t want it to sound like Hannah Montana. I want it to sound like Nirvana.” She was 9.
Along with Jones and Nirvana, Rhyan lists as influences Patsy Cline, Cyndi Lauper, Brenda Lee, Bobby Darin and Jack White, whom she met in Nashville coming out of a record store.
“I was frozen, speechless,” Rhyan said.
She’s not so stage struck with a microphone in her hands. She sings and writes all the songs for All the Little Pieces, who have cut a CD (“If You Fall”) and made a music video.
Rhyan is taking guitar lessons with local teacher David McLean, plays keyboard by ear and looks forward to every performance.
“I love being on stage and sharing music with people,” she said.
Said Toni: “She’s so free and joyful on stage.
“Her songs don’t sound the same, and she puts her emotions all out there.”
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