Before talking to Ryan Bingham, I watched some of his videos on his YouTube channel. Several of the commenters pointed out that his singing voice sounds nothing like his speaking voice. And it's true. I couldn't help but think about this when he talked about songwriting as a form of therapy for him, a way for him to get things off his chest. When he pointed out that the lyrics sometimes emerge from his subconscious, that singing/speaking voice dichotomy made sense: perhaps that singing voice is different because it represents something deep inside, a window unto his emotional state.
Bingham calls writing "a very personal act" for him. He's protective of the space he creates to write, both emotionally and physically. His best lyrics come out all at once, because a song that takes too long loses the original, raw emotion. And his writing is cyclical: he soaks in his environment on the road and almost never writes there. Once he's home, he writes about those experiences in a short, powerful burst, "venting and getting those feelings off [his] chest." Once those songs and feelings are out, he stops, and he feels not one once of guilt for not writing for the next few months while he gathers those experiences on the road again.
Bingham co-wrote the theme song "The Weary Kind" for the 2009 movie Crazy Heart. That song garnered him some nice awards: an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Critic's Choice Award, and the 2011 Grammy for "Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media." And in 2010, the Americana Music Association named him Artist of the Year. Read my interview with Ryan Bingham after the video for "The Weary Kind."