Ryan Star Biography
Last updated: 09/06/2010
I was always told that I need a story — a tale that makes people want to hear the music. My belief (although maybe illogical in this crazy business) is the opposite: to have songs that make people want to hear the story. So, I guess you can call this the epilogue to my songs…
CHAPTER 1: A CHILDHOOD RICH WITH MUSIC
It started 30 years ago. Born and raised in Long Island, New York, I have been writing and performing music longer than I have not. The early exposure to music mostly came from my parents who claim they were not hippies, although they gave me the second name "Star." The record collection I discovered in our home became my bible and education: The Doors, The Stones, Janis, Joni, The Who, Simon and Garfunkel, and countless other legends.
CHAPTER 2: PEARL JAMMING AT CBGB’S
All this led me to my pubescent years of learning to play guitar to Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Nirvana. My big brother (the athlete) had a guitar that was collecting dust, except for the occasional one string Def Leopard solo. One day, I picked up the beautiful stringed instrument and instantly played songs by ear. The creative impulse overflowed as I recorded musical ideas on my “high-tech” 4-track cassette recorder. Music was now everywhere and everything to me.
When I was 14 years old I took a page out of Def Jam's book and sold my records at school. When a classmate heard what I was doing, we started a band and I became the lead singer. This would be my life for the next 12 years. Throughout high school, our band Stage played at famous New York City clubs such as CBGB's and Mercury Lounge. (Despite our self-perceived star power, our parents always had to accompany us because we were underage.)
CHAPTER 3: MADONNA, A MAVERICK RECORD DEAL, AND A LUCKY STAR
In college, we continued with our musical pursuit even more seriously. After Stage built enough buzz in NYC to put us on par with The Strokes, Madonna signed us to a record deal with Maverick Records. I left school with no hesitation and headed for Los Angeles.
We toured the country a few times opening for top bands, but when we finally returned home to start our second album I decided it was time to move on to something different. I needed more from life and music. I parted with my band and best friends of ten years to take the leap and follow my heart. I couldn't fight the reality that I feel most myself when the lights are out and it's just me sitting at the piano or lying with my guitar.
CHAPTER 4: BREAKING OUT
The first page of my new journey was the song "So Ordinary":
I'm breaking out it's a tidal wave of everything to come. I'm breaking out, so I'll ride the wave and see what I become ... Stop trying to be so ordinary. Be strong, be brave and begin your story. 'Cause it's all that you've got when you make it in this world ...
These months brought me back home to where I learned about who I was and where my dreams were discovered. It was then that I wrote and recorded 20 songs in 20 days and called the collection Songs From The Eye Of An Elephant. It went on to fuel my indie success in New York and put me on the map as a solo artist.
CHAPTER 5: Smile, You are on TV
I have always played music for the joy I get when people are listening. There was no better way to get out there then in front of millions worldwide once a week on a show called Rockstar. I stayed the course and was true every step of the way to who I am and somehow came out alive and well on the other side. As self-contradicting as it sounds, I was the "indie" guy on an international television show and its success brought me from the small hipster clubs of NYC to stages around the world.
CHAPTER 6: 11:59
From here on out, I thought my audience had grown too big for me to handle on my own, so I signed with long-time believers in what I was doing – Atlantic Records. I lived on the beach, wrote, and recorded my new collection of work in California for the last two years and am more excited then ever to do what I love to do the most. Play music for people. Through this lengthy story of ups and downs one idea has remained constant and that is my passion for music. I have seen a lot and changed my sound for every album I have ever put out but always with one voice of truth. Here we are at the dawn of a new day and although I'm much different now, my dreams are still the same.