“Contemplating whether I can keep my Netflix. My card declined today just tryna buy my breakfast” might just be one of the most relatable lyrics you’ll hear right now. Taken from Ryan Mack’s appropriately titled single ‘Broke’, the Irish singer-songwriter has turned his financial struggle during the ongoing COVID pandemic into a viral song. Blowing up on TikTok, listeners are connecting with the humorous approach of this cold reality for a lot of people right now. 

The catchy track is a 2010’s influenced pop banger that is reminiscent of Hot Chelle Rae, MKTO, and Jesse McCartney. The euphoric hook is one that is ready to be screamed along to during a live show, and provides an interesting contrast to the lyrical inspiration of the song. He’s taken his broke status and turned it into an anthem that will see you embracing it in a big and playful way. 

Along with the steady inclining trajectory of ‘Broke’, Mack has recently released his new single ‘She Wins, I Lose’ which continues the playful and cheeky exploration of his artistry. With these releases he’s really leading the way for the pure pop comeback that we severely need, because I low key miss mid-2000’s/2010’s music.

I recently chatted to Ryan Mack about the relatable lyrics behind the viral hit ‘Broke’, found out what his favourite TikTok video to the song is, and also explored the lyrics behind his new single ‘She Wins, I Lose’. Check it out BELOW;

THOMAS BLEACH: Your track ‘Broke’ is popping off online and on streaming platforms at the moment, and it’s such a deeply relatable track about being broke and struggling to pay your bills. And look, we’ve all been there. So can you explain the creative process behind this track? 

RYAN MACK: Of course. As you said we’ve all been there, and especially with all that is happening over the last year. I basically came to a point during this pandemic where I was highly considering getting a 9-5 job instead of music because I couldn’t earn money through gigs. Literally the next day I turned all the feelings into this song and released it.

TB: “Contemplating whether I can keep my Netflix. My card declined today just tryna buy my breakfast” is a lyric that felt like it personally attacked me. So what is one of your favourite lyrics in the song? 

RM: *Laughs* Apologies for that. I have to say that is one of my favourites also. Reason being is that I had written the whole song except that verse and I was on my way to record some vocals in the studio and I stopped off to get diesel and some food along the way and my card did in fact decline!

TB: On a deeper level, this track touches on the struggles that are faced with following a creative dream like music, and the mental health affects of this is something that needs to be spoken about more in the music industry. So how do you personally try to balance your career and mental health? What is something that helps you take a step backwards sometimes?

RM: Yes I 100% agree. Something I love to do is exercise. I don’t go a day without it. I run a lot, literally everyday. It helps clear my mind and get away from music for just enough time to reset and unpack my thoughts. I train Jiu Jitsu mainly but I haven’t been able to with the Pandemic at the moment.

TB: What is one of your favourite TikTok videos you’ve seen of someone using the song?

RM: A girl called Aine actually did a cover of the song which I thought was nuts! She got a tonne of views too which was cool, and I was very happy for her! She really made the song her own. It’s just cool to see everyone relate to the lyrics.

TB: A lot of people are discovering you and this song through TikTok, so who is an artist or a song that you’ve discovered through TikTok that you’ve fallen in love with?

RM: I’ve discovered many artists through TikTok. It really is an amazing app! Clinton Kane, Rosie, Jonah Kagen and BLU EYES are a few that I’ve discovered through it.

TB: You also recently released ‘She Wins, I Lose’. What was the inspiration behind that story lyrically?

RM: ‘She Wins, I Lose’ is based on a conversation I had with a girl in a nightclub. She was playing very hard to get, which for many becomes more attractive in a way *laughs*. So yeah it’s basically about playing hard to get!

TB: How did the creative process differ between ‘She Wins, I Lose’ and ‘Broke’. What song took longer?

RM: They were both very different. ‘Broke’ was basically finished in 1 day whereas ‘She Wins, I Lose’ was a couple of months before the chorus came to me. But that’s just how it goes sometimes. 

TB: You released your debut EP ‘Someone Else’ in 2019. So reflecting back on the creative process behind that body of work, what is something you learnt about yourself as an artist that you’ve taken on board while working on ‘Broke’, ‘She Wins, I Lose’ and this future new music?

RM: I learned that there will always be more songs. I tend to overthink songs a lot, but I’m learning that my best work is ahead of me. Most of time I overthink something, then change it and end up reverting back to the 1st way again so I’m learning to analyse better. 

TB: Recently we’ve seen a lot of newcomers have an old song have a resurgence on TikTok, so what song from ‘Someone Else’ would you wish would get re-discovered by listeners and why? 

RM: I think ‘Sofa’. It was one of the first songs I had written that everyone felt was a strong pop song. I love playing it live to this… well, not this day because there’s no live shows in Ireland right now but ya get me *laughs*!

TB: Lets play a quick game of rapid fire questions…. You ready?

RM: Absolutely!

TB: The emoji that best describes ‘Broke’ is…

RM: The smiley face with the sweat drip.

TB: The colour of my toothbrush at the moment is…

RM: White with some blue and purple on it.

TB: When I think of Australia I think of…

RM: Blake Rose, and Married At First Sight *laughs*. I’m watching it during lockdown!

TB: A new hobby I’ve had during lockdown has been …

RM: Running!

TB: Pineapple on pizza is…

RM: Not for everyone *laughs*

‘Broke’ is out now!