It's not often that I do this. Come to think of it, this is only the second time in the brief history of this blog that I've featured a "mainstream" artist. Well, when that artist happens to be Ryan Star (Ryan Star: From 11:59 to Stay Awhile), you can see why I choose to break from the "norm"!
My love for Ryan Star's music goes back to his stint on the reality television show Rockstar: Supernova back in 2006... has it really been over seven years now? It was the release of his 2006 album Darkhorse - A Live Collection that led me to his 2005 album Songs From the Eye of an Elephant that led me to discover his band Stage, which he started at the age of 14, which carried me forward to his 2010 major label debut 11:59 recorded with Atlantic Records and his 2012 self-released Orphans EP. All the while, I patiently waited for a chance to get to see him live in concert. I finally got my chance in 2012 when I had the pleasure of seeing him not once, but twice at the Brighton Music Hall just outside of Boston. It's a small venue like BMH that allowed me to meet Ryan after his sets and have the opportunity to talk to him one on one for a few minutes at each show. It's that interaction that Ryan gives of himself to his fans that endears him to us in a way no other artist can.
I'm going to put this out there to give you an example of what I mean. I'm also a fan of Chris Daughtry... yes, that Chris Daughtry from American Idol fame. My wife and daughters are also big fans of Daughtry, and we've had the pleasure of seeing them in concert three times. One of those times, we decided to give our daughters a "treat" and splurge for the VIP experience. While it was nice to get a preview of the show and get to sit on on their sound check and stand in line with 96 other people who all paid a premium, the only interaction we got one on one was a brief handshake and roughly 20 seconds with the band to snap a photo... then off we went and in came the next person. My two show experience with Ryan Star? Two of the most intense performances I've ever seen followed by nearly 10 minutes of talk time with one of the most humble artists in the world. He took the time to thank me for coming to his show. He snapped multiple photos with me and my wife and even autographed my copy of his Stage cd that has been a long-standing favorite of mine. There wasn't a rush to move me along so the next person could have a turn. He was genuinely interested in my opinion of his music and his show. He was even more humbled by the fact that I was enough of a fan to bring that Stage cd in hopes that he might sign it for me.
So this brings us to today. Today marks the release of Ryan's new EP Animals and the video for the first single Impossible.
Yes, I pre-ordered the EP, and even missed out on sleep so I could listen to it at 12:02 this morning when it downloaded to my iPod. It's been on repeat all day, and I can't get enough of it. Clocking in at just five songs, Animals is what happens when an artist is able to release their music the way they want to without the constraints of a record label. I'm not sure of his status with Island records, who he recently signed with and was able to release his single Stay Awhile with in August of last year. What I am sure of is the passion that he put into Animals. For me, it takes him back to his days as a non-stop touring indie artist. Animals is raw emotion and 100% heart and soul from an artist who knows what he's good at doing.
If you're not already, now's as good a time as any to become a member of the #RStarArmy. Go out and download your copy of Animals on iTunes or Amazon. Check out the official video for Impossible on FuseTV. But most important, spread the word. Remember, this is yet another self-release, so Ryan fits right in on this blog with the other indie artists I've featured.
And for those of you fortunate to live in and around New York City, you have to make it a point to join in the RStar New York City Takeover. Starting tomorrow, August 6th, he returns to play at some of the venues where it all started for him.
For the complete list of NYC shows, click here: RStar New York City Takeover show schedule
And check out the official video for Impossible here: Ryan Star- Impossible official video
The official Ryan Star website
Download Animals and all of Ryan's music on iTunes
Download Animals on Amazon.com
Follow Ryan Star on Twitter
"My name is Ryan Star. My whole life I have been getting ready for a
moment that might never come. I never slowed down to understand who I
really am or what life means to me beyond music and beyond performance.
The lyrics I have written since I was a kid have all been trying to tell
me what I am just realizing. Life is RIGHT NOW. We are in it already.
Make every moment count." - Ryan Star