Ryan comes from The Moy in Co. Tyrone in Northern Ireland. Although he studied accountancy at Queens University, Belfast and is a qualified Chartered Accountant by trade, music and theater have always been Ryan’s true passion. He first began singing in public at the age of seven and has won many accolades and awards for his performances, including SCOR 2007, a national Irish Singing Competition, and the BBC’s Country Cool competition in 2003. In his solo career to date Ryan has performed alongside Westlife, Girls Aloud and Simply Red at the televised “Children In Need” Charity Concert. Ryan’s love of musical theatre has also let him to perform the lead role in the Willie Russell musical “Blood Brothers” and the role of Judas Iscariot in “Jesus Christ Superstar”. In December 2010 Ryan released his debut CD, In Time. Ryan is also a fanatical sports fan and has also played Gaelic football and basketball at national level. One of the highlights of his Celtic Thunder journey so far was the opportunity to perform the US National Anthem in the Bank North Garden in Boston for his beloved Celtics.
Ryan’s love for drama made him the perfect pick for the role of the “rogue” or “Dark Destroyer” in the Celtic Thunder Show. Nothing could have prepared Ryan however for the momentum surrounding Celtic Thunder. “It’s great fun being the bad guy,” said Ryan. “For me, there’s no better role, and they’ve given me great songs to do it with. His musical theater experience has led Ryan to more song and dance routines in Celtic Thunder’s shows to date and he is delighted to return to musical roots with “Celtic Thunder-Heritage”. He has not left the dramatics behind however, as his “rocked up” version of the traditional Black is the Color will prove. Ryan slows it down for his duet with George of the Phil Coulter original song Gold and Silver Days, which is a nostalgic recollection of days gone by.
Celtic Radio Review:
What lies beneath the surface of a broken man’s tough exterior? With his debut album, County Tyrone’s Ryan Kelly (formerly of Celtic Thunder) provides a glimpse. Showcasing husky vocals and strong lyrics, In Time portrays a depth of masculine emotion not often given voice. At times, this feels intensely personal, as if the listener is trespassing in areas usually forbidden.
Accompanied by whistles and an Irish lilt, fan favorite “The Village That They Call ‘The Moy’” is certainly the most Celtic-sounding track on the album, chronicling an immigrant’s lifelong homesickness for his homeland. Poignant ballads “In Too Deep” and “Get Over You” convey the pain of broken relationships. There is a raw emotional pull to “In Too Deep” that resonates with anyone who has loved, lost, and had to move on. Ryan plays up the rasp in his voice to give hard-edged performances in the rockier “Go If You Want To” and the smoky “Perfect Man.” “Secret Bit of Right from Wrong” and “Make You Proud” are both lighter tunes that provide a respite from the heaviness of heartbreak that fills a good portion of the album. Though often sad, In Time’s strengths lie in well-written lyrics and Ryan’s signature emotive vocalizing, and are well worth a listen.
Celtic Radio Contributor