Out singer/songwriter Ryan Nealon drops his latest single, “Bring You Home,” a deeply personal ballad about suppressing who are you for the happiness of others.
The intimate guitar-driven track has an undeniable emotional tug from the downbeat. And as the artful production builds with an almost cinematic sweep, Nealon’s achingly vulnerable vocals reveal his fears of being rejected if he were to bring a romantic partner home to his family.
Cause I’m not done learning how to be proud of who I am
And where I come from they don’t take the time to understand
I would rather hide than let them know, it’s easier for me to be alone
I’m not ready to lose someone when I bring you home
Nealon co-wrote “Bring You Home” with Matt Romagna, and the track was produced by Romagna and Bret Paddock.
After relocating to Los Angeles in 2013, Nealon has performed across the United States and has been included in over 100 publications such as Earmilk, San Diego Union Tribune, Instinct Magazine, and American Songwriter, and has had his music placed on both Apple Music and Spotify editorial playlists. The rising indie artist has scored over 5 million streams of his catalog. And his acclaimed single, “What Makes A Man,” (one this writer’s top 2022 tracks by an out artist) has already garnered over 350,000 streams since its release in February 2022.
Prior to the new release, Instinct had the chance to explore the creative genesis of the track with Nealon, as well as the emotional journey of sharing such personal material with the public.
Instinct Magazine: What was the inspiration behind “Bring You Home?” Was there a specific person or memory?
Ryan Nealon: “Bring You Home” was honestly inspired by a realization that I had in my late 20’s–I was the reason why I wasn’t in a relationship; I was self-sabotaging every opportunity because I was subconsciously afraid that people wouldn’t accept me even after coming out as queer almost 6 years ago.
IM: In your past songs I’ve covered, you’ve utilized full-on, confident, pop production. But “Bring You Home” is an airy, guitar-led track with sweeping emotional strings. Was that a specific choice?
RN: “Bring You Home” is the direction that I was always afraid to go as an artist, because I was constantly told to make a certain style of music – more pop/up-beat – and this whole record that I’ve written is mostly the polar opposite. I wanted to make an album full of incredibly personal material that had elements of pop, folk, and singer/songwriter, and I think “Bring You Home” falls more into the latter category. So to answer your question, yes it was! haha.
IM: “Cause I’m not done learning how to be proud of who I am, and where I come from they don’t take the time to understand; I would rather hide than let them know, it’s easier for me to be alone…” You really hit on some pretty vulnerable stuff about families that we lock away.
RN: As a queer person, even if your family is supportive (mine is ridiculously supportive) it doesn’t make the fear of being accepted go away. When I was first figuring out who I was and what my overall identity was, I was very afraid to tell my family because I’m the last person in my family to carry on the last name, and I know my parents also really wanted grandkids among other things.
I was also nervous at how the rest of my family would take it because they’ve never had someone in the family be queer and I felt like it would be overwhelming for them which is why I kept it to myself for a very, VERY long time. I think this line hits home differently for each person who can relate to it depending on their situation, but I wanted to express not only how hard it is to come out but to openly be in a relationship with someone of the same gender. Even after telling my family, I’m still a little nervous to bring someone home because I have no idea what kind of reaction would come from it.
IM: Was there any personal catharsis for you in journeying through the creation of the track?
RN: When I was writing this album, this song came out of nowhere. I had already come to a decision with a track list, and I ended up writing “Bring You Home” around the holidays in 2021 when I was really feeling the weight of this topic because I felt so alone and never understood why. Writing this song gave me more clarity than I’ve honestly ever had in my entire life, and things just started making sense. It almost felt like a second coming out, because admitting that you’re holding yourself back from being with someone is a whole other level of self-realization haha. There are 12 songs on my record, and this one is an absolute gut punch that I have never been able to replicate. I think people will have their personal favorites on the record, but this one will always have a special place in my heart.
IM: What is it like during the lead-up to releasing new music? Are you chill? Anxious? If so, how do you cope with or release that?
RN: It absolutely depends on the song for me! My last release was honestly ruined a bit because of anxiety and stress, so I went into this release knowing that I have literally NO control over how a song performs and all I can do is put out the best possible product and trust the universe. I don’t have boujie management, a pub deal, a record deal, or a large team to rely on which makes releasing music stressful no matter what, but I’m hoping that something has gotta give which is why I am so determined to continue releasing these songs.
To any artist that’s thinking about releasing music, know that it’s not for the faint of heart and a lot of people will not like what you create, but the people that love it will make it worth it.
“Bring You Home”, available now on all major music streaming and download sites, is the fifth track from Nealon’s upcoming album Losing Sleep and Losing Friends scheduled for release in late 2023.