"Birthright" & how it was made.

"birthright" is the 18th song in the yearbook series, track 3 of the "march" ep. early on in the making of yearbook, I asked my friend jon foreman of switchfoot if he'd be up for being a guest on a song at some point throughout the year. being the rad dude that he is, he said he would be up for it. at that time, I had no song in particular in mind, so jon and I just kept in touch for the first several months about it. when the chords and melody for birthright came into view, I knew it felt like the right song to invite jon to be a part of. he and the switchfoot gang were in the studio hard at work making their "vice verses" album, so I had doubts that the timing of my invitation would even be doable... but to my surprise, jon was able to make time to record this and did such a beautiful job.

it wasn't until the lyrical theme of birthright came together that i felt like this song was the perfect fit for jon and I to sing together on. I knew right away that in order to do a "duet" of sorts, the lyric subject matter had to feel right.

i wanted to tell small fables about family - little portraits of brothers and sisters throughout the verses, born into different circumstances. the first line that directed this theme was:

"she was raised by wolves, in the warmth of their fur."

that line definitely paved the path for each of the following verses to play with hard and soft images in just about every line. I enjoyed playing with those contrasts in this song.

to me personally, each "character" in these mini fables represent someone I know. without directly saying who, I can say that each of these mini fables do tell a truth. (hence the end lyric, "our fables tell our truths")

for the general fable imagery, I was inspired by the chronicles of narnia.

the resolve of each of these small stories is in the chorus lyric. it was inspired by a thought that I had a while back - although extremely simple and has probably been said an infinite amount of times before, I believe that pain finds us anywhere. to me that means that all pain is valid, no matter what situation it finds us in - rich, poor, healthy, unhealthy, etc. it doesn't matter, pain finds us anywhere and should need no qualifiers to be considered valid. and out of this pain, we can become stronger and more whole.

"Right or wrong, Tension makes us stronger By making us weak When we needed to be.

Privilege and pain When compared look the same. Comprehension begins When we pull back the lens."

although each verse tells a different fable about different brothers and sisters, I also intended this song to be read as one story about 1 brother and 1 sister, telling their stories from different perspectives. I liked the idea of having multiple dimensions to how this story can be read. and I liked the idea of two very different experiences and how on the surface one looks better than the other, but in reality - the pressures of either life presents similar challenges and hurts.

I really had fun writing in this fairy-tale, fable-like fashion.

musically, this song was also a ton of fun to piece together. Dan Perdue did a beautiful job recording piano (on my fav upright piano ever!), some key patches and bass. Jason Toth did a fantastic job on drums. and of course, Jon Foreman did a truly beautiful job as well. truly blessed to have my friends to be a part of these songs that mean so much to me!

for the guitar, if my memory serves me correctly, I recorded my baby Taylor acoustic guitar on this. could be my martin, but i am pretty sure it's my baby taylor. really pleased with the overall acoustic sound here... mr. John Goodmanson's mix work always makes things sound good and right. (he has magic!)

I am really pleased with how this song turned out from recording, to concept, to getting make music with friends that I love.

thanks for reading, gang!

love, ryan




she was raised by wolves, in the warmth of their fur. surrounded by fangs, she knew that she was secure.

language barriers made no difference at all. when you’re truly cared for, there’s no purpose for walls.

his fences stood tall as the shoulders of old. but he dreamt that one day maybe he’d break the mold.

but time shyly stands still when you watch it unfold. from these ivory towers freedom is only a ghost.

privilege and pain when compared look the same. comprehension begins when we pull back the lens.

right or wrong, tension makes us stronger by making us weak when we needed to be.

they made her their queen on the day she was born. they placed on her a crown she wasn’t ready for.

but all impossible odds foreshadow our means, like paving a road to kingdoms we’ve never seen.

he woke up one day, written out of the will. they swore he'd be okay, with lesser shoes to fill.

“what doesn't kill us makes us stronger,” they say. our only birthright in this life is the breath that we take.

privilege and pain when compared look the same. comprehension begins when we pull back the lens.

right or wrong, tension makes us stronger by making us weak when we needed to be.

our fables tell our truths.