Before America's Got Talent introduced us to Grace Vanderwaal, there was another child female singer, who won, not only season 1 but the hearts of America and Simon Cowell. Bianca Ryan, now 22 years old, is coming back into the music business, under her own label, after years of setbacks and living her life.
If you are from Philadelphia, this article may be more personal to you, like it is to me, because Bianca has lived in Philly her entire life, and has lived a normal life in a big, but not so big city (in the music business anyway).
Back in 2006, Simon Cowell, who executive produces AGT, said that Bianca is "potentially one of the best singers" he has ever heard "in his entire life!" Coming from Cowell, that is a HUGE compliment.
I had the pleasure and opportunity to talk with Bianca, and ask about winning AGT, her setbacks, how she is preparing for her comeback, and even what her favorite Starbucks drink is.
Bianca took the time out of her busy schedule to talk about her life with me.
Her inspiration to audition for AGT came from her dance studio. When Bianca was little, she heard the parents and teachers talking about a new talent show called America's Got Talent, that had no age limit. She went with her dad to a New York audition. Little did she know how much one show would change her entire life...
Winning the show changed Bianca's life completely. She wouldn't be able to do what she has been doing and to the extent that she is doing it without having the title of winner. Holding down that title really helps her to be active in parades and local concerts. Winning the first season has opened a lot of doors and opportunities for Bianca, and she is thankful for every one of them.
When asked how winning AGT has impacted her life, Bianca said "It is still changing my life. It has changed my life tremendously, musically, artistically, how much I've learned over the years, and how much I've grown as an artist, and learned in this business because it is a very, very hard business to learn, and I'm 10 years into it. I'm only 22 years old, and I still have so much more to learn. It has really, really impacted me creatively, and knowledge wise."
"It literally feels like yesterday. It's crazy how much time flies," Bianca said on her time on AGT.
For her, it also is flying by because she is not with a major label or management anymore. Bianca has turned down many offers and is doing it all on her own. "Because I'm doing that, it makes time go quicker because I'm not doing as much. If I was with a major label, on tour constantly, it would be amazing, but I wouldn't be singing my own songs, so it wouldn't be worth it. I'm literally living a normal life while trying to do this at the same time, and time is flying by."
Bianca has had the opportunity to have a normal teenage life in the outer city part of Philadelphia. Living in Philadelphia has had a negative and positive aspect of her career. Bianca thinks that the one negative part of the music business in Philadelphia is that "There are not many people here, my age, doing what I'm doing to the extent that I want to do it. It's not just a hobby for me. I want to pursue this for a lifetime, and career. And it is hard to find that in a city like Philadelphia."
But at the same time, living in a relatively small city (on the music business scale) has made a positive impact on Bianca's life. "Being here has kept me humble, and having my family around me has definitely been really great. They made me stay grounded, and help me remember where I came from. Living here has helped me come up with songs because I am living a normal life."
Living in a scarce major label city, and wanting to write her own songs, Bianca decided to start her own label Bianca Ryan Records. Bianca stated that "developing my own label helped me take a stance on my creativity and originality. I am happy doing it myself and love being involved." Under that label, she released her first independent song, Alice, in 2015. Helps people believe in her on a major scale.
Bianca knows that if she wanted her songs to be major, radio hits, she would have to strike a recording deal with a label, which would make things easier, but for right now she's happy doing it on her own because it lets her keep her creativity and originality and helps people believe in her on a major scale.
After Alice was released on iTunes, Bianca made an official music video that featured Dance Moms, Chloe Lukasiak. With the help of her dedicated fans, the video soon reached over 1 million views on Youtube.
The inspiration for that song was her grandmother's struggle with Alzheimer's disease. Although she would forget things and people's names, and her memories were gone, the person inside was still there. Bianca was so intrigued by the concept that she wanted to write about it. "I wanted to write a slow song because I had been in contact with Chloe Lukasiak, whose favorite dance genre is ballet, so I hit up my favorite producer, and we reworked it. It was slow, but it still had that pop music, Katy Perry-like power to it."
Bianca is really proud of that song because it was the first song she released that she wrote on her own.
As for future music, Bianca exclusively told me that her first single, "One Day", will be released in May. A lot more songs are on the way. After "One Day" and the official music video (which is being worked on as you read this) drop, Bianca will be releasing a new song every three to four weeks up until the Fall.
"One Day" is a pun on what Bianca would always say to her fans, friends, and family. It is about her journey throughout the last few years, finding herself as an artist, and going through the struggles of the average teenager/ twenty-year-old. It's about living her life and looking forward to that one day when things will finally happen.
Like a normal person trying to make it in the world, Bianca said that she would tell herself all the time, "One day this will happen. By the time I'm 18, this will happen, and this will happen when I'm 20. One Day. I'm getting older and it's now or never. I need to put 100%, nothing less, and I just need to make it happen and release the music."
"I want people to live for that," Bianca said on giving it her all. "Make it happen, dream big!"
Check out some local online magazines, radio shows and podcasts for the promotion of her new songs.
Also, if you live in or around Center City, Bianca and her PR team are planning to have a billboard, or bus stops promoting "One Day." Keep an eye out for Bianca in your neighborhood.
"One Day" was supposed to be out in October, but Bianca had some setbacks. After having TWO vocal surgeries, her doctor told her that she also needed stomach surgery. She kept pushing it off because it would be a long recovery, but eventually, seven years later, after her doctor told her that she was at high risk for esophageal cancer, and may never sing again, Bianca decided to get the surgeries and release her music later.
"I have had more setbacks than anyone I know of in this industry," Bianca said of her surgeries. "I just have really bad luck. But you know, everything happens for a reason. I looked for the positive in the situation, and it shaped me into not taking anything for granted or missing any opportunity."
Getting her through all of this and every day is coffee. "I need my coffee. Haha. My favorite Starbucks item would be the java chip frappuccino."
As for what else fans can expect from Bianca in the next coming months: the singles and music videos, Kickstarter campaigns with exclusive prizes and merch to support the music.
Bianca is really excited to get the fans involved and is giving away some awesome prizes (guitars, new shirts, exclusive posters) to promotes her songs. These prizes though can only be obtained through her Kickstarter campaign.
We can all expect some behind the scenes videos from the recording studio and photoshoots, a revamped website, more videos on her Youtube channel, (Expect vlogs and more collaborations sometime soon!), more appearances on the Q Show (Philadelphia fans), and appearances in a few parades during the summer.
Here is one of those pictures! Who doesn't love bubbles?!?
Some of her dream collaborations would be with Michael Buble, Sam Smith, and Mariah Carey. Hopefully, we see those on her Youtube channel in the future!
Lately, you could catch Bianca listening to "Issues" by Julia Michaels, and old school Vanessa Carlton. Her favorite song of all time is probably Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. Maybe we will see some covers of these on Bianca's Youtube channel.
Her guilty pleasure is old school Aaron Carter (Who doesn't love "That's How I Beat Shaq"?)
When I asked Bianca if she would tour after her songs were released, she told me that she would like to open for someone rather than do a full-fledged tour. "I would want to open for someone and get out of there. I would want to put on a perfect show, and I am so afraid of letting people down. Someday, I will go on tour, but not right now."
Artists she would love to open for would be Julia Michaels, Alessia Cara, Haim, and Lorde because they are fit her style of music.
She has toured throughout Europe, but one place she has never been to that she would love to go to is England. "They have such passion for people's music. Plus, I have always wanted to go there." Watch out England, Bianca Ryan may be coming your way very soon!
To some people, this may come as a shock, but after her season Bianca has never watched AGT live. She has seen clips here and there but has never watched a full season. Bianca is not much or a TV watcher, but she does admire season 2 winner, Terry Fator. "I've done some shows with him, and he is probably the most successful winner. He takes every opportunity he can get."
Bianca is also a fan of the most recent winner, Grace Vanderwaal. "She does remind me of Taylor Swift. Simon was on point when he said that."
"In the new age of social media, I hope she has a better opportunity than I did back then. I am really happy for her and so hopeful for her career."
Comparing her career with Grace's, Bianca believes that if she has won today instead of ten years that her career would be totally different. "It is insane with the new age and social media. Fans can hit follow and automatically have a personal connection with someone. The fact that she was allowed to come on stage with a ukulele and sing her original song is incredible. That would have never of happened 10 years ago."
"Back in 2006, the judges would say, ‘That was a great performance, the end.' There was no connection back then." Bianca is hoping to be more active on social media and regain her old fans back.
When I asked Bianca if she wasn't a singer, what would she want to be she responded with a manager or a vocal coach. "I would love to manage kids and point them in the right direction. Tell them what to look out for, how to meet people, and help them find a clean path."
Bianca has coached some of her fellow students in singing and has even started teaching her siblings.
One thing Bianca would like to tell her fans is that she appreciates every retweet, share, like, and comment on her social media pages. "You don't even have to buy my music, lol. Just be active on my social media accounts. It means the world to me!"
Stay caught up with Bianca, her appearances, her life, music, and Starbucks runs and more on her social media.
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