Ryan Star’s time is now.
As the title of the New York rocker’s Atlantic debut provocatively suggests, Star’s whole life has been building to this point. The songs on “11:59” play out in real time, the stories spin out in narratives that resonate with urgency and truth. Star’s often stripped-bare vocals give the songs an added resonance.
“There have been a million hopes and let downs to get here,” Star says. ”I don’t think you really choose the time as an artist, I think the time chooses you. This album is who I am.” And now that he’s here, as track “Right Now’ stresses, he is going to seize the moment.
Thoughtfully and meticulously created, “11:59” proves well worth the wait. Throughout much of the album, Star seamlessly melds traditional rock elements with captivating rhythms.
For “11:59,” Star partnered with producer Matt Serletic (matchbox twenty, Collective Soul), who artfully understood how to combine Star’s storytelling style with his modern sensibilities. “Matt and I created something special; we really put our different personalities together to make this record,” Star says. Howard Benson (Daughtry, My Chemical Romance) provided additional production to bring out his rock roots.
For more than half his life, Star has been a fiery performer. Born and raised in Long Island, N.Y., by the time Star was 14 he regularly traveled to Manhattan to play clubs, including the legendary CBGB’s.
As a member of Stage, a band he formed with childhood friends, Star signed with Maverick/Warner Bros. After that brief excursion, Star returned to his first love of performing. Now a solo artist, what followed was a period of tremendous artistic growth as Star found his individual voice, culminating in the self-release of 2005’s “Songs from the Eye of an Elephant.” That 20-song set, recorded in his living room with just piano and vocals, showcased Star’s do-it-yourself, indie ethic with its intensity drawing comparisons to Tori Amos and Eddie Vedder.
As he honed his live talents, Star simultaneously worked on his songwriting craft, often finding inspiration in movies from director/former rock journalist Cameron Crowe that marries music and image. So inspired is Star by film that he often watches movies with pen and pad in hand so he can note the feelings they provoke.
Star continued selling out such vaunted New York venues as Joe’s Pub and Rockwood Music Hall and building an audience through such exposure as a Myspace featured artist, but he knew he needed a national platform to further spread his music.
Enter his decision to compete on CBS’s 2006 reality show “Rock Star: Supernova” as a way to take his music directly to the viewers. And the viewers loved him: Star’s high-octane performances quickly became fan favorites as they highlighted both his stellar musicianship and natural- born showmanship.
“It’s always been about playing for people. That’s when I’m truly myself.”