welcome to the gospel choir
Growing up in the small community, Ryan was the youngest of five siblings. He describes his home as a melting pot of all types of music, “You would hear Persian music one day, Motown the next. My parents, brothers and sisters exposed me to every kind of music out there throughout my entire childhood.” He found himself drawn to his brother’s R&B classics: Boys II Men and Jagged Edge were at the top of that list. But one type of music eventually made him take notice enough to get up out of his seat to sing. He attended private school and went to church regularly. One day, he was invited to go to church with one of his African American friends who attended a Baptist church. “He wanted me to hear what the music was like at his church,” he explains. That’s when he discovered the gospel choir. Moved by the feeling in the music and by the passion he saw emanate from the congregation he fell in love with it. He remembers the feeling vividly, “This electricity went on inside me. It was so soulful and emotion filled. The voices were filled with passion!” He took that passion and energy and transferred it into his own music.
a boy with two loves
Ryan was constantly in his room singing along to his assortment of various Pop, R&B, Soul and Motown tapes. “I would push myself to hit the notes they were hitting. I’d sing until I didn’t have a voice left. When my voice would come back it would get easier and easier to hit those notes. Eventually, the note just came.” It was that same dedication to perfection that Farrowtone displayed while he played football in high school. Football was his second love, and he was often described by people as having the body of a football player, standing at 6 feet tall and over 220 lbs. He was built to play and he enjoyed playing as a fullback. After high school, he attended the University of Oregon. Although he wasn’t given the opportunity to play football his freshman year, he was selected as a walk on for his sophomore year. During practice and prior to the start of the season, he suffered a concussion. After the injury, he was forced to resign from football forever. “Something was gone and I couldn’t get it back. So, I threw all my focus into my other passion - music.” Ryan left college in pursuit of real world experiences and to follow his dream of becoming an R&B singer. While home for the summer, Ryan recalls two important experiences. He met Gaetano Lattanzi, a New York Native living in La Jolla at the time who would eventually become instrumental in his career. He also met his first girlfriend. “We only dated for a few months, but I fell for her.” The relationship ended and Ryan experienced his first broken heart, but he used that emotion to fill his writing. He also took that inspiration to New York where he and Gaetano worked together to write and record several ballads. Gaetano, being a little more seasoned in the industry, knew that Ryan needed some more time to define who he was as Farrowtone. He and Gaetano eventually lost touch and life took them both in different directions, but his guidance at a key moment was never forgotten.
The arts can be an extraordinary vehicle for education and multi-cultural understanding, as well as a source of beauty and inspiration. Cove...