Ryan Cabrera – March 22 at Underbelly

It’s been eight years since Ryan Cabrera released new material and for the singer/songwriter, it was well worth the wait.  Cabrera’s new EP “Wake Up Beautiful” drops this month as he embarks on the national Radio Revival Tour with his friends in Secondhand Serenade. The tour stops at Underbelly March 22 in downtown Jacksonville.

“I am super ecstatic to be playing smaller venues where you never know what is going to happen next. I love the spontaneity and the energy of the crowd and as a performer, I hope to entertain the audience in the same way,” he says. “In a larger venue, you tend to do what you always do. But a smaller venue is such a different experience. The crowd kind of dictates where the show is going to go.”

Cabrera is excited to play his first new music since shedding his post-popalicious persona that earned him a guest appearance on The Hills. The new single “House on Fire” is available on iTunes. The music video for “House On Fire” was shot by acclaimed video director Christian Lamb who has worked with Madonna, Borgore and Tori Amos. The video  features surprise cameos from Efren Ramirez  of Napoleon Dynamite, Dennis Haskins from “Saved By The Bell” and former adult star and Mrs. Gene Simmons, Shannon Tweed.

His new music reflects the way Cabrera lives his life, letting go and being himself, not who people think he should be. Despite his previous success with songs like On The Way Down, I Will Remember You and Take It All Away, he didn’t rush his latest material. Instead, he took the time to grow, experience life and develop a more mature voice.

“It takes time to find the sound you want. To me, it was worth the wait. This record is much more mature and more representative of where I am now,” he says. “As a songwriter, you get to know yourself better. Your songwriting gets better as well. There is a lot more to write about and you have a different perspective. It’s a whole new world.”

Cabrera is much more comfortable with his new sound and his new lease on life. He committed to living each day to the fullest and he embraces any opportunity to pay that message forward.

He created the web series “Inside Ryan’s Living Room” as a way to combine two of his favorite passions; entertaining and giving back. The series features Cabrera and many of his famous friends including Colbie Caillat, Chord OverstreetGavin DeGraw and Mark Ballas hanging out and making music in his LA home. Proceeds from online subscriptions are donated to various charities. So far, he has raised more than $17,000.

“I have always done different charity work and I am so fortunate to do what I do and be able to give back,” Cabrera says. “I love to entertain and have parties. We always end up in my studio around my piano singing. A lot of my friends are so damn talented and this is just streaming a more organized version of what we did anyway.”

Despite his newfound maturity, Cabrera still has a wicked sense of humor and carries proof of that side of him in ink following an ill-advised game of “Tattoo Roulette”. The rules of the game are pretty simple. Go to a tattoo studio with a friend and each choose a design for the other that is not religious or offensive in nature. The results cannot be revealed until the tattoo is complete.

Cabrera commissioned a Hershey’s Kiss for his co-sonspirator who chose a portrait of actor Ryan Gosling for his friend’s leg. Cabrera sports it proudly, further evidence that he is finally comfortable in his own skin but promises that his days of playing Tattoo Roulette are gone with The Hills.

“It’s important to stop worrying about what other people think of you. It’s all about living free and being okay with being yourself,” he says. “After doing this for so long, I appreciate it so much more and I am grateful that I am still able to do it.”

About Teresa Spencer