Everyone’s got their own Kanye West story. Mine was that crazy time I was eating Pringles in bed watching a sketchy livestream of the VMAs on my computer, and a tipsy Kanye leapt onstage to give his “Ima Finish” speech to a dumbfounded world. That shit cray. Ryan McDermott‘s Kanye West story is the time Kanye flew Ryan out to Paris, signed him to his G.O.O.D. Music record label on the spot, and took him shopping. So same thing, basically. Anyway, here’s the official premiere of McDermott’s video for the single “OVERFLOW,” followed by a question and answer session that will help you better to go know the guy Kanye calls “a soulful dude.”
Tell me about the song. What inspired it?
I try to write my songs to mean what they’re supposed to mean to whoever’s listening. Yeah, that’s the vague mysterious answer, so let me give you something better. OVERFLOW is about wanting someone or something you care about to come into the fullest expression of who or what they are and who or what they were made to be. I think this is what it means to love, whether it’s your girl, family, a dream, the world at large, or a sexual experience. It’s the desire for everything to be the fullest, most truest expression of whatever it is.
Where did you shoot the video?
We shot it in a couple different locations which all had meaning for the video. The desert scenes were shot in this incredible dry lake bed where they film all those car commercials. The desert is where we start from. The ocean scenes are in Malibu. The ocean is where we’re trying to get. And with the exception of the pool, everything else was filmed in a Hollywood studio, and that part represents “us” trying get “there.”
How did Kanye first discover your music?
I think my name had been in his ear as far back as 2008 through a designer friend of mine named Tracey Mills who messaged me on Myspace, where at the time I had over a million and a half plays from stuff I had thrown up there. Long story short, years later I get introduced to a guy named Che Pope who had recently been brought on to help run things at GOOD. I played one song for Che (“Paradise”) and a couple days later I was in Paris with Kanye, who offered to sign me on the spot after meeting me and hearing my music.
Describe the first time you met Kanye?
They day after Kanye and I met, he invited me to come check out new stuff he was working on for his fashion line and wanted to take me shopping around Paris. When I get there he’s working out of Marie Antoinette’s room with this incredible view of the square, which was a moment for me. He called me over away from everybody else and said that he had been thinking since the day before about what he wanted to say to me. He said, “I want to tell you the same thing Jay Z told me when I first met him: You’re a real soulful dude.”
What has being signed to GOOD meant for your career?
Autonomy, which can be a blessing and a curse. One of the things Kanye told me in our first meeting is that he understood what I was doing musically, promising me the freedom to do me. With that being said, as much as I have the freedom to do things on my own, I really am doing things on my own, with the help of my team of course. I’m very blessed to be signed to one of the most respected artists and label families in music. That association brings its benefits and it’s really what you make of it.