Yes, Ryn Weaver does pose tastefully nude on the back cover and inside jacket of her debut CD The Fool. But there's more to the rising pop star than meets the eye.
Raised in an artsy intellectual San Diego household, Weaver quickly took to oil painting, musical theater, and eventually acting. She dropped out of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts to try her luck in Hollywood and — using her real name Aryn Wuthrich —wound up appearing on television (CSI, The Adventures of Lewis and Clark) and the silver screen, including the wistfully titled splatterfest Kill Her, Not Me.
Weaver has drawn considerable attention for her debut single, "OctaHate," co-written and championed by Charli XCX, the British artist best known in the States for her collaboration with Iggy Azalea on "Fancy."
At only 22, the indie-pop musician has already covered a lot of ground, on a decidedly uneven playing field. But even though she co-penned all of The Fool — again credited under her birth name — Weaver says she's still having a tough time being taken seriously for her songwriting,
"I think people try to discredit female artists with a pop-leaning sensibility," says the musician. "As in: Just because you want to sing, you're a puppet. And it's frustrating, even heartbreaking, when I read something that is purposely trying to discredit me. They'll just pass me off as a singer."
And while Weaver's unusual, violet-hued vibrato is distinctive, so too are her songs on The Fool. The stomping "OctaHate" is a defiant leave-that-bum-in-the-dirt breakup song that went viral last year.
The carnally inclined "Pierre" runs down a list of beaus she's loved and since lost, while "Free," "Traveling Song" and the title track lean more toward Zen-like ruminations.
But Charli XCX isn't the only impressive believer in Weaver's talents. OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder co-wrote "Pierre," while rapper/producer Benny Blanco and Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos were involved in every track. They were among the first to recognize a protégé who was teetering on the brink of potential fame.
"So they pushed me off the ledge, I guess," laughs Weaver. "They let me run free with my ideas and helped me build a soundscape. And I think they just really liked my voice and the way I wrote. They really believed in me as a presence, as a career artist, more than a pop star. If they wanted me to be a pop star, they would have written all my songs."
Through it all, Weaver has kept in mind the advice of her friend Charli XCX, with whom she's authoring material for Gwen Stefani's next album.
"Charli will say, 'That's just the game, let it feed you.' So you just keep going, and you remember the people that said these nasty things, and hopefully you'll wind up with a lovely discography one day. And no one will be able to deny that you were the creative force."