I love seeing people I know follow their dreams, make a breakthrough and find success doing what they're most passionate about. That being said, I was beyond excited when I heard that Matt Ryan, "Ducky Duke", was going to be on NBC's hit tv show, The Voice. Matt and I go back to the high school lunch tables and he has always been a creative guy who cares about his friends and marches to the beat of his own drum. You can't help but respect that. Over the last several years, Ducky has been hard at work, creating music and playing shows with his band, Ducky and the Vintage, in and around Harrisburg, PA. Not only that, but he is a supremely talented painter with an affinity for creating imaginative murals that reflect his personality (click the link to his official website below to see more of his work).
A big break came when Matt did a blind audition for NBC's The Voice. Ducky was featured as the first performer on Season 2's third episode, airing on February 20th, 2012. Before stepping out onto the stage, Ducky, dressed in black, tested his moves in his red cowboy boots, tipped his fedora over his shaggy jet black hair, smoothed the ends of his iconic mustache, and prepared for his big moment. On the stage, he performed "Tighten Up" by The Black Keys for host Carson Daly, judges Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, and millions of viewers across the US and beyond. Ducky's high energy, real grit and irresistible stage presence blew the crowd and judges away. Although no judge pressed his or her button, it was apparent to all watching the show that they felt as if they'd made a mistake, with Blake Shelton saying, "Ducky's one of those that I'm probably gonna look back on this and regret it a little bit." And Carson Daly launched the #whattheheckhappenedtoducky movement on Twitter by saying, "I think, tomorrow morning, when we wake up, there's gonna be a big internet buzz, like the 'what the heck happened to Ducky' movement."
Now, after the airing of his episode, Ducky is playing more and more shows around Pennsylvania, making radio appearances and has been set to perform on Last Call with Carson Daly. I was lucky enough to get a tidbit of his time to ask a few questions about his experience on the show, as well as get the 411 on what's to come.
Photo credit: Snapp-shot Photography
NK: How long have you been writing and performing music?
DD: I've been writing lyrics and music since I was 9 or 10. Been performing since I was around 7 years old.
NK: Wow, you've had a lot leading up to this point! What made you decide to audition for NBC's The Voice?
DD: My manager just let me know I had an industry invite to audition, so I did it!
NK: Tell me about your experience on the show-- preparing, performing, the judges and your interactions with the other musicians.
DD: Well, it was amazing being on the show! There was a lot of running around, practice and networking. But mostly good hangin' out and havin' a good time with all the other contestants. Lots of partying in our down time. Performing was easy; it was hard to stay still after 6 cups of coffee. Overall, the whole experience was awesome!
NK: Ok, I have to ask-- the mustache. It's become your trademark! How did that all start?
DD: The stache. I actually grew it for a music video that ended up getting postponed cuz I made it on The Voice. I left it grow for a Halloween party too. I've trimmed it up and gotten a hair trim since the show. It got a little out of control there for a while.
NK: Another must-know. Where did you get the name, "Ducky Duke" from?
DD: The name, "Ducky", is completely random, it came from my best friend, Alison, in high school. I was trying to get a duck hat or plush duck out of a crane game machine at a diner. She said, "you got it, Ducky Duke", and there it is. "Ducky" became a stage name after I moved to Harrisburg and everyone started calling me that. So I stuck with it. I still go by Matt too, though.
NK: Haha, I love that story! It's so cool to see you trending on Twitter! How are you feeling about the #whattheheckhappenedtoducky movement?
DD: I feel great about the whole trending thing! I've definitely gained a shit ton of fans from it, which is a blessing in itself. Gotta thank Carson for starting the movement.
NK: What can America expect from Ducky Duke in the near future? Are there any television appearances coming up or tours with Ducky and the Vintage?
DD: Well, I'll be in LA this week to do an interview for Last Call with Carson Daly, the late night show. I'll be performing a few original tunes acoustic from my band on the show as well. Then I'll be playing The Whiskey in LA too. We'll be releasing an EP soon and hopefully starting to tour. There's a lot coming! So stay tuned!
NK: Tell us one thing we don't know about you that we should know!
DD: Something that ya should know is I'm A.D.D. I'm lucky I have friends and my girlfriend, otherwise I wouldn't get anything done! Haha. I do have trouble paying attention 90% of the time and remembering names.
NK: Thank you so much for your time! I look forward to seeing your career skyrocket from here on out!
If you want to learn more about Ducky Duke or stay in touch with him, here are some useful links:
Ducky Duke Design
In the meantime, check out the video below and KEEP IT QUACKIN'!
Two eggs over easy. Hashbrowns-- scattered, of course. OJ. Whole wheat toast.
OH baby, this is the recipe for romance on Valentine's Day! As a silly joke, my date and I kept saying that we were going to go to the Waffle House in celebration of Cupid's favorite day. Of course, everyone looked at us like we were crazy and laughed, thinking we'd give in to the pressures of Hallmark's marketing techniques and go somewhere "special"... but fear not! I'm no high maintenance chick. Our plan got much more serious when I got wind of the WaHo's special plan for their customers on this occasion. On the radio, they were saying that, by reservation only, select Waffle Houses in the Atlanta area would be dressing up their restaurants with white table cloths, dim lights, flowers and candles in honor of Valentine's Day! I'd never heard of this before, but apparently 2012 was their 5th year doing it, and not surprisingly, it gets more popular every year. So, we donned our traditional Valentine's Day red and headed out to celebrate my love for eggs at the south's favorite breakfast joint, Waffle House. Upon arrival, the door was held as we walked in to the balloon-filled restaurant, there was a maître'd awaiting our names for reservation, the waiters all had on black bow ties and the spherical lights hanging from the ceiling were covered with candy heart stickers with sayings such as "be mine". Needless to say, it was fun to see my late night hangout all dressed up and a fantastic low-key way to celebrate... plus, you can't beat a lovely dinner for two for less than $20 -- including tip! Happy Valentines Day!!
HA! Our WaHo escapades made the news: http://projects.accessatlanta.com/gallery/view/entertainment/wafflehousevday021512/#sldr_hm
Several months ago, I started seeing billboards around Atlanta, advertising the High Museum of Art's newest special exhibit, Picasso to Warhol. Being a loyal fan of both of these iconic artists (I mean, really, my cat is even named "Picasso"), I knew I simply HAD to go to this exhibit. I couldn't help but wonder who made up the "to" between the names, "Picasso" and "Warhol", so I started doing my research. The exhibit consists of the works of 14 contemporary artists, all from the 20th century: Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, Fernand Léger, Marcel Duchamp, Constantin Brancusi, Giorgio De Chirico, Romare Bearden, Alexander Calder, Jackson Pollock, Joan Miró, Louise Bourgeois, Jasper Johns and last but certainly not least, Andy Warhol. I was surprised that I was only familiar with just less than half of the aforementioned artists, so I did a little homework, diving into their works of art-- I wanted to know what I was looking at before I showed up. It's funny, because I recognized many of the pieces, but never knew the artist behind them. Walking into the exhibit, I was greeted by Picasso's Girl Before a Mirror (above), a vibrant abstract-- what a perfect way to set the tone. This was followed by breathtaking pieces by Jackson Pollock-- what really pulled me in with some of his pieces was the fact that I could see his hand prints around the edges... I could really envision him standing over his canvas, stretched across his studio floor, dripping paint across his work and getting down, closer, to add his personal touch. Oh, to have been present for such things. Matisse was next. The High Museum had an impressive collection of his art on display, many pieces I recognized were present, but the one that I loved most was a collage of cut paper in stripes of bright colors with black cutouts of a woman's eyes near the top. I believe it was a cover he did for a catalog or magazine... called Exhibitionist, maybe? If they'd had a print of it for sale, I would have bought it in a heartbeat... I can't even find it online now... kills me (so keep an eye out for me, will ya?). I was later greeted by the brilliant mobiles constructed by Alexander Calder. His work was one which I referred to earlier-- I'd seen pieces before, but never took the time to learn who had made them. Now I know and I'm so glad I do. I glided through the exhibits of several other artists (I won't go into detail with each and every one) until I got to the part I was most anticipating: Andy Warhol. An entire room was dedicated to Warhol's creations. Walking in, the first thing I noticed was a set-up in the middle of his iconic Brillo boxes. Looking around, they had all 32 of his Campbell's soup paintings (above), his S&H Green Stamps and of course, his infamous self portrait (above). I was so overwhelmed with joy to see these great works in person and I can see how they shaped our world today. I highly recommend making the trek down to the High Museum of Art to see them for yourself while they're in Atlanta. The exhibit lasts until April 29, 2012.
Visit the High Museum of Art's webpage: http://www.high.org/
I would simply like to share my love for life with you-- be it inspirational music, photography, written word, joyous works by local artists, theatre and independent films, travel, community outreach projects, silly musings and adventures, or little things I've learned along the way. All categories are open for discussion! If there's something you'd like to hear more about, just ask!