85085 Magazine - January 2020

Page 20

A Musical ‘Triumph’ Ryan Michelsen is living life through his songs By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski


veryone has a story, and musician Ryan Michelsen is one of them. An aspiring architect in high school, Michelsen left college after he found out it wasn’t accredited for the degree he was pursuing. He hit the road with the band 29 Needles and hasn’t looked back since. Music is Michelsen’s life. He released the orchestral piece, “Triumph,” to be followed by “Camaraderie” on January 4 and “Magical” on January 18. “I am in the process of releasing a large volume of music, which started with the album I released in May,” says Michelsen, who lives in the North Valley. “A fusion of several genres, I used it to pave the way for my creative expanse into the market. I have posted music online for a long time before this, basically since I started playing piano in 2001. I wrote by ear and memory until I figured out soft ware to enhance my pia-

no’s potential. That’s why my album, ‘Pursuit of Happiness,’ has so much piano featured in it. Piano was what drove me down this path.” To Michelsen, music is personal. “Camaraderie is an orchestral instrumental that envisions a group of adventurers who set out on a quest with high hopes, encounter a tribulation, and therefore must rely on each other for survival,” says Michelsen, who works as a graphic designer/production assistant for an automotive parts company. “The ending is uncertain, and leaves room for additional movements.” “Magical” is requiem. He penned it in honor of his father who died in 2008. “It begins with a musical illustration of his funeral,” Michelsen says. “His ashes were cast into the sea, so there is a notable change of pace and direction in the song as we follow those ashes across the oceans. We see the world as it evolves through time and culminates in a crescendo embodying the grandeur of the universe. The ending brings the listener full circle as a newly sprouted plant blows in the wind.” Born in Arlington Heights, Illinois, Michelsen moved around as a child, living in Nebraska, Maryland and New York, before spending the majority of his school years back in Illinois. His family moved to Arizona to be near his maternal grandmother and her husband. Music has always been in his life, having taken up piano at age 8 and violin a bit later. Despite his talents, he tried his hand at architecture at university. “I studied architecture for four straight years in high school,” he says. “I was in honors architecture 2 by the time I left. It was just endless architecture stuff. “I think I’m pretty creative when it comes to pursuits I like to go for, but I arrived at the university and I found out the degree I wanted doesn’t allow me to become an architect. It wasn’t accredited. I thought, ‘This isn’t for me.’” That’s when he joined the now-defunct rock band 29 Needles. “It was the first touring band I ever played A former member of the rock band 29 Needles, Ryan Michelsen is recording orchestral music but often crisscrosses genres. (Photos courtesy Ryan Michelsen)


85085 | JANUARY 2020

with,” Michelsen says. “I joined two weeks before their album release. I had to learn their whole album to tour with them. That was an experience.” Michelsen’s strong suit is he can move in any genre. “I don’t try to do one specific type of music at the same time,” says Michelsen, 26. “It’s my way of relaxing. It’s cathartic. I don’t try to tunnel vision it. I’m trying to express myself. Every time I sit down to write music, I keep an open mind. I may start a piece that’s a beautiful orchestral piece, but then it may turn toward electronic or new age. It can go anywhere. It depends on the story I’m trying to tell.” His fluid songwriting process will help with his goal of creating soundtracks for movies or video games. “One day, I hope to write for fantasy movies, video games, nightclubs, rock festivals and have the infrastructure to support the musicians who make it possible,” he says. Michelsen just simply wants to live life to its fullest and share his music with whoever wants to hear it. “I want to live the best way I can for myself,” Michelsen says. “It’s the best story I have. I want to enjoy doing what I want to do.”

Ryan Michelsen pombrah.com