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Check Out Ryan Marquez’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ryan Marquez.

Hi Ryan, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
Music picked me from an early age. I have patiently explored its call my whole life to understand why. It started with a love for singing and piano that I was blessed to cultivate from an elementary level while attending Gladstone Academy Performing Arts School in Northeast Kansas City. Music was always on at our house and some of my favorite memories are going to the public library and borrowing the max limit of CD’s with my mom week after week. My dad has an excellent ear for good music and steered me towards styles/bands that have influenced my sound like jazz, Steely Dan, Chicago and Santana.

Early on, I gravitated to jazz/blues due to its creative spirit and epic of emotion. I spent many nights in my youth practicing and listening to countless hours of Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Miles Davis & more masters, aspiring to eloquently speak the same language and embrace their path as innovating storytellers.

I always wanted to be a professional musician/artist/creative ever since I could remember. It’s been my haunting dream and desire. I’ve formed countless bands that have come and gone through the years. It’s taken a lot of willpower, pursuit of experience, and faithful persistence in perilous moments of vigorous testing. I’ve made a lot of happy accidents that in hindsight have been the sweet spots that have shaped my career’s work.

Each step of my life has been defined by the path music has laid out before. Many teachers, guides, and master jedi’s have aided my understanding and supercharged my belief in self to realize a life as a full-time artist.

As I’ve matured, I have nurtured my love for songwriting, arranging, and re-imagining classic pop material.

Today, I enjoy my dream life of creating, performing and recording music full time in the great city of St. Louis, Mo! With strong roots and frequent visits to Kansas City, I represent team Missouri in the musical ecosystem.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t believe it’s possible to have a smooth road when you’re the one that’s building it. I’ve had to be creative and ask for help many times along the way to continue my dream. There’s been the obvious challenges that any artist/entrepreneur faces with finding work, disciplining self to practice, and finding my voice as an artist. Ultimately I had to learn that to practice music it must become your whole way of being. It’s not just a skillset you do on an instrument. That’s only one part of it. There’s a lot of hats you have to wear. You have to become a student of so many languages/skills that in the past were represented by a specialist. In today’s market, it’s a DIY world. I have had to learn to be my own manager, booking agent, public relations, journalist, graphic designer, marketer, and much more. Now, every experience is an ingredient stewed in a pot of imagination slowly simmering in anticipation of cooking up new magic!

The biggest challenge has been discovering who I am as a human and how that relates or expresses through my work. I really had to go deep into the dark places of my own mind and struggle with finding myself spiritually in a material world. I’ve studied much philosophy, religion, metaphysics, history and sciences that have ultimately led me back to understanding my purpose: Spread Love and Feel Good Energy through music/art.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am an artist/producer/songwriter but mostly identify as “Creative.” Instrument-wise, I primarily play piano/keyboards/organ but also have a deep love for the bass. I always tell people I’m a bass player trapped in a keyboard player’s body. I think that’s why I love the organ so much, especially when I’m responsible for key bass.

I am a conceptualist. I have many worlds that I have created through the years. I’m known for being a jazz/pop/hip hop artist. I like to do things big or stay at home! Currently, I’m super excited about a new collaborative jazz/pop album I’m releasing in September called “Saint Unity”. It features 20 vocalists/musicians from STL, my original compositions and jazz covers from the world of rock.

People have called me prolific, but I like to say persistent. I think that’s what I’m most proud of, my ability to finish what I start.

Some might know me for playing around town with my bands Fresh Heir, The Belief Cycle or The People’s Key. Others may have seen me in St. Louis through the years supporting some of the top music acts like Willie Akins, Anita Jackson, Janet Evra, Lola Kristine, Joe Mancuso, Feyza Eren and many more. I’ve had the opportunity to perform in some of STL’s finest venues like: Edward Jones Dome, The Pageant, The Sheldon Concert Hall, Jazz St. Louis, The Dark Room. Old Rock House, Off Broadway, BB’s Jazz Blues and Soups, Broadway Oyster Bar, The Blue Strawberry and so many more!

In the name of Saint Unity, Even Now Until Forever, I AM RAM.

Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
I acknowledge that there is a force greater than myself that is inherent in the nature of all that is and thank it for blessing me unconditionally with vision and resources in all ways.

My mom & dad really set my foundation and compass in music and life. They gave me the best possible chance to succeed as an artist while cheering the whole time even and especially when I fall down. They made sure I was well cultured and experienced in music nonstop from an early age. I owe the majority of my success to their work ethic, unconditional love and generous support.

I’ve had a tremendous amount of mentors throughout my life. One of my greatest from KC being the late Joe Miquelon whom I owe the credit to for ripening a lot of the green off of me at an early age. He would give me recordings to check out and made sure I knew all the pro tips/secrets before I even knew what to do with them. I met an entire community of musicians through following him and now stand as a torch for his massive contribution to music education. The energy that Joe transferred to me through life advice or antidotes continues to open doors and keep me into the good kind of trouble.

I also got a chance to play in the legendary saxophonist Willie Akins’s band in STL and really got schooled in the jazz tradition under his direction. I also owe a tremendous amount of growth in discipline and sharpening of skillsets to my STL piano teacher Carol Beth True.

Also, have to mention all of my bandmates through the years and best buds Drew Mantia (The Belief Cycle) and Nick Savage (Fresh Heir). They say iron sharpens iron, and these two (as many others) cut me up good and pushed me to grow in ways that I’ll forever owe them credit.

Also, everyone who’s followed, supported and cheered me on. Your love is my reward! I was raised by a village of people ranging from family to friends or musicians who have become my family. Each unique and with a story of their own. I could go on for days but if they’re reading this, in their heart I know they can feel how truly grateful I am for their contribution to my dream, no matter how intense or casual our exchange.

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Image Credits

Faye Morosky, Phillip Hamer, Donna & Rebecca Marquez

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