IF YOU GO
• What: Kidz Expo
• When: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, April 27
• Where: Chattanooga Convention Center, 1150 Carter St.
• Admission: $7 per person, $25 for family four-pack, available at timesfreepressevents.com and local McDonald's
Debby Ryan acts.
Debby Ryan sings.
Debby Ryan plays instruments and writes songs.
She's combining those talents for "One," her debut album recorded with her band, the Never Ending. It is set for release on June 24. Ryan wrote all nine songs on it.
"Choosing to do this on our own has taught me that it starts with a song," she says. "If you're not the product of some label spending tens of thousands of dollars to make sure you're perceived as talented and successful, be talented. Be successful. Write a good song, have a good producer service that song with good instrumentalists, and the rest will follow. Above all, people know when something feels real. So we've gone about this entire thing in a way that feels real to all of us."
Ryan, the star of the Disney Channel sitcom "Jessie," is the featured guest at the Kidz Expo, set for Sunday, April 27, in the Chattanooga Convention Center. She will be at the expo from 12:30 until 3 p.m. Those who want to have a photo made with her will be assigned a time based upon their arrival at the event. The assignments are designed to keep people from standing in line for several hours, and as many photos as possible will be taken during the 2 1/2 hours.
The Kidz Expo, produced by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, is a daylong event for families and includes more than 100 vendor booths, including summer camps, schools, dentists, toy stores and clothing stores. Tickets can be bought at timesfree pressevents.com or at local McDonald's. Proceeds benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Chattanooga Times Free Press Foundation.
After "One" comes out, she and the band -- guitarists Kyle Moore and Carman Kubanda, bassist Edwin Carranza, drummer Johnny Franco and keyboardist Harry Allen -- plan to tour to support the record.
"Every track has been recorded from a live instrument or player; even our synths are analog," she says. "Maybe that's my theater background or the boys' rock 'n' roll roots, but it's about that live adrenaline to us. More than anything, we want to get these songs into people's backyards and have them sing with us. That's when it'll really come alive."
At the Los Angeles premiere of the film "That Awkward Moment" in January, Ryan said the album was pretty much finished several months ago, but they held off putting it out.
"We thought about releasing it last year, but the closer and closer we got to releasing it, the less it felt like me, as I was growing," said Ryan, who turns 21 on May 13. "You grow so much when you're 20. And I was like, I just have to be super, super candid and honest about where I am and where I'm going. Some of it is songs I wrote a year and a half ago, and some of it is songs I began three years ago and finished last week."
The stories she tells in her songs range "from insomnia to getting out of a destructive relationship, to commitment issues, to really falling in love for the first time, to fighting to hold onto what's real in Hollywood, to how a rainy day affects your mind."
"I think, just as important is the stories we're telling with the sound: We're radio kids; some of us cut our teeth on rock 'n' roll, some of us only play rap and R&B; there's a little doo-wop and some unmistakable folk," she says. "This sound is our crossroads, and it's just been about servicing the songs we're writing in our personal styles.
Ryan has been the title star of "Jessie" since 2011, playing a girl from Texas who moves to New York and becomes the nanny to four children. She starred in "The Suite Life on Deck," a spin-off of Disney's popular "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" sitcom, from 2008 until the start of "Jessie."
Contact Shawn Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6327.