If there’s an artist whose songs have aged like fine wine, it’s Ricky Montgomery. Anyone who’s on TikTok has probably heard two of the indie-pop star’s songs on repeat – “Mr. Loverman” and “Line Without a Hook.” The former is a softer, more gentle track that builds up to a rousing sing-along chorus, while the latter is a more upbeat narrative on coming of age paired with power-pop riffs.
Both songs were actually released in 2016 as part of Ricky’s album titled Montgomery Ricky, but it wasn’t until recently that they became certified hits. Today’s listeners have clearly found his sound to be equal parts comforting, relatable, and timeless. These songs, particularly “Line Without a Hook,” propelled him into TikTok stardom and earned him over one million followers on the platform.
"'Line Without a Hook' was a song that I had for a few years, starting when I was 18, and eventually when I would put out the song later on, it kinda' documents a bunch of different things like romantic relationships in my high school experience that kinda' taught me that I actually don't have to be in a relationship the entire time to feel good about myself. It also taught me a little bit about individuality. More than that it has become more about personal freedom, being on my own for the first time outside of high school, college, just the experience I was going through at the time the song came out. As an artist, it was about experimenting with different sounds and using orchestra stuff for the first time and being a little bit more ambitious and not being afraid to take chances and experiment," Montgomery said about his breakthrough song in an exclusive online interview.
Filipinos were quick to use Ricky’s songs on their videos, even creating their own storylines for them. One that has been especially popular is using “Line Without a Hook” for POV skits where the school nerd practices for a singing audition or talent show.
Filipino content creator Feby Villar made a TikTok for this trend, and it has garnered over five million likes and 30 thousand comments, one of which came from Ricky himself. Another content creator, Spencer Serafica, also joined in on the fun and his creative take on the popular POV skit didn’t go unnoticed. Ricky ended up doing a duet video with his video.
@frnzlynfby #pov: the nerd takes a practice for her upcoming singing audition (ib: @Jeremy ♬ original sound - Feby
@rickymontgomery #duet with @spencer_serafica Just woke up in the tour van in Louisiana. here’s a tiktok i liked but don’t understand #linewithoutahook #talentshow #talent ♬ ZOOM - Jessi
This shows not only the appeal of Ricky’s songs, but his gratitude toward anyone who supports his music. His TikTok page is filled with countless other videos of him duetting with people who have used his songs as audio.
The virality of his songs on the social platform was a turning point for Ricky, who nearly quit being a musician just before his songs’ new-found fame. But with a little assurance of his music’s impact, especially during the pandemic, he decided to continue doing what he loves.
Ricky is currently doing a massive tour across the US, and has recently released an EP titled It’s 2016 Somewhere. It shares his genuine feelings about the whirlwind journey of his career and his life in general. It also serves as somewhat of a catharsis for him – one last look at the past before he moves toward what’s ahead.
"The old 2016 premise talks about how these songs that have done well on Tiktok, particularly this song called 'Mr. Loverman', they're from 2016 when they first came out. I'm no longer in 2016, no longer putting out songs that sound like that, so I've wanted to bridge the gap for the new fans between that era and the new one where I'm working on my next album. It's a collection of songs I've written at the same time, some of which I consider on the orginal album I finished to celebrate and at the same time put a cap on that era of my career as an artist, to give people that side of myself, and also carry people to the new side of things and the new modern sound I'll be working with from now on," Ricky elaborated.
"Two of the songs are kinda' new. 'Talk to You' is the newest one. 'Settle Down' is a song I almost put on the album. But they talk about things that were happening at the same time as the original album, so that's how they're tied in to that. 'I Don't Love You Anymore' is an acoustic version of a song from my side project The Honeysticks which is also about a relationship I had in 2016," Montgomery added.
Aside from including acoustic versions of his songs “Mr. Loverman” and “I Don’t Love You Anymore,” Ricky’s EP highlights key moments in his life, whether it’s heartbreak from a romantic relationship or the grief behind his dad’s death. Fans will be delighted that the EP is the best of both worlds: Ricky staying true to his sound while being a breath of fresh air to today’s indie-pop scene.
Check out this playlist to discover the best songs from Ricky Montgomery!