Ryan Kinder is making a name for himself in Nashville.
At 29, the musician has already put out several singles — his most recent being the catchy, upbeat love anthem “Close” — and garnered over 17 million streams without ever releasing a full album. The success has been surreal for Kinder, who got his break in 2014 opening for headliners like Zac Brown Band, Tim McGraw and Brett Eldredge,. Looking back on the past few years, Kinder feels like his work is finally paying off.
“It’s pretty unbelievable honestly,” he tells PEOPLE. “It’s so gratifying to have worked so hard behind the scenes, writing and producing and recording, and then finally coming out to do a show and having thousands of people sing it back to you — without you even asking them to sing.”
For Kinder, it’s the camaraderie of a concert that most appeals to him. And while he enjoys performing for audiences, at times he finds it necessary to pull back. With Kinder’s newest “deconstructed” music video, the musician is doing just that.
“From the beginning, when I first started getting into music, I had the idea of wanting to do a marriage between studio albums and a stripped, live feel,” he explains of his deconstructed “Close” video premiering Friday. “We’ll do a very raw, live, one-take recording for stripped-down acoustic and have that paired with the master recording to have something else, something fun.”
The music video is a live performance of “Close” by Kinder and his band—raw, genuine, and real. And this isn’t the first time he has chosen to do this. Kinder has an entire YouTube playlist dedicated to deconstructed sessions from his other hits, including “Are We Doing This,” “Tonight,” and “Still Believe in Crazy Love.” To him, there’s nothing better.
“You can’t take back live, which is the beauty of it,” he says.
The original music video follows a couple — a member of Kinder’s crew with a past flame — from their accidental encounter to a newly flourishing romance. Although the video follows a different couple, Kinder says the inspiration was drawn from his own experiences.
“It kinda fell into place to where I was talking about exactly what I felt when I met my wife Heather,” he explains. “Not wanting to screw it up by moving too fast, just living in that moment and enjoying each other. We might not fall in love but we’re sure coming close.”
Growing up, Kinder was heavily inspired by soulful artists, ranging from Jackson Browne to Keith Urban to John Mayer. Following his success as a talented musician and guitarist, Rolling Stone referred to Kinder as “the John Mayer of country” — a pinnacle moment in his career.
“It’s the ultimate homage of my upbringing because I say that he inadvertently taught me how to play guitar,” he admits. “I ripped apart [Mayer’s debut] Room for Squares when I first heard it and learned it front to back. [I learned] how to really set up the solo and write a song through listening to him.”
Kinder adds: “He was my teacher that I never met. I am very excited and honored for someone to say that about me.”
FROM PEN: Grammy News and Notes: Album of the Year Nominees
As for the future, the “Close” singer is slated for the 2nd Annual Record Store Crawl in Nashville on Aug. 26, performing for fans and music enthusiasts as they spend the day hopping between record stores across the city. He’s also set to perform at the first Nashville House Concert on Sept. 7, alongside Martina McBride and Shane McAnally. But don’t expect to see a full length album from him out in stores anytime soon.
“We’re thinking about just releasing music as it soon as it comes in and we get working on it. It feels right, we’re just gonna release it,” Kinder says. “I feel like more music is a lot better than waiting just to release a full album. Put out what you are and how you’re feeling musically as it comes.”
While there’s many things for the musician to be excited about, his main focus is the fans and their reaction to his newest video in the deconstructed series.
“Enjoy seeing the band in a live setting … it’s like the recorded version but this is raw and real,” he says. “We had a good time recording it. Hopefully they enjoy watching it as much as we did playing it.”