“There was a stadium of thousands of people and I made it to the next round."
Between three cups of coffee and a spark of inspiration, Ryan Clark strums his acoustic guitar and hums different note combinations in the “Old” Gartland laundry room singing before his loyal, late-night audience of dryers and washing machines.
Senior student Ryan Clark, from Lake George, New York, has crafted his identity as a soft rock singer/ songwriter, with his upcoming five-song original EP- “Hidden”- his variety of professional produced covers and having played in over 1,500 solo shows in 11 years of playing. His work has now begun to flourish, as talent has led him to large venues and national performances beyond the laundry room.
Beginning as an accounting major and then switching to business, Ryan now stands as a candidate for a degree in media with a concentration in film and television. Ryan has utilized his knowledge in media and filmmaking in order to create his own music videos, self-promote on social media and constantly find ways to receive utmost exposure in the music industry. “If you can learn the industry, you can make it as a musician,” he says.
“If you can learn the industry, you can make it as a musician.”
With working in the studio and among different producers, Ryan’s college years have been spent behind the soundboard, as he has just finished recording his first set of original songs in an EP, being released in January 2017. With learning to be open to outside input while in the studio and learning to fully utilize constructive criticism, his first time in the studio led him to his decision to pursue a life as a singer/songwriter. “You bounce off the producer, and the two of you just make a beautiful piece of art—and that’s my favorite part.”
Ryan Clark’s talent was confirmed by his earning of a golden ticket after auditioning for “American Idol” in Long Island in the summer of 2015. “When I was a kid I used to watch it with my parents, and seeing people get the golden ticket was the coolest thing,” he fondly recalls, as his newfound career began to make its full circle.
“There was a stadium of thousands of people and I made it to the next round.” The general cut in auditionees gave him even greater incentive to work harder at writing and self-branding, as his talent was confirmed at the largest scale that it could in his career thus far.
Ryan performs approximately four shows per weekend at local bars and venues like the Public Parish House in Albany, NY, and Arlene’s Grocery in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
However, aside from his solo performances, Ryan has played with nationally known artists—as he opened a show for Jeff Timmons of the 90s pop band, 98 Degrees, at the Loft in Poughkeepsie during his sophomore year. “It was such a pivotal moment for me.”
Ryan is the founder of Concert for a Cause, a charity event in Lake George, featuring a set of local bands and benefitting a local charity, Prospect Center, a center for disability services. The second-annual event occurred this summer, raising over $1,500 and helping the young artist to further identify his ultimate goal as a musician.“If I make it, I want to be able to give back,” he confirms.
Ryan plans to continue to book shows post-graduation, with the single mission of creating and spreading as much music as he can, as his EP will be up on both iTunes and Spotify. “I want to play as many shows as I can—play on the streets if I have to,” he laughs.
After graduation Ryan plans to play venues across the United States in order to experience music scenes around the country and to learn more about the roots of the industry in general. “I’ve dreamed about traveling with my guitar.”
“With finishing college, I need to really push my music and see where it takes me. I want people to enjoy what I put out and to know that I love what I do.”
By Tara Guaimano