Bianca - Biography
Bianca Ryan is the second of four children of Shawn and Janette Ryan, and is part Irish from her father's side of the family and part Japanese from her mother's side. Ryan has an older brother, Shawn, and two younger siblings, Isabella and Jagger.
At age eight, Bianca Ryan developed a preference in the rhythm and blues and gospel music genres, and recalls practicing in her family's basement only to hear her father ask, "who is that black woman who just got into my daughter's body?"11/22/2006 Neighbor Denise Bauchens told the News Gleaner that she was sweeping her patio one day in 2004, heard Ryan's voice, and "just dropped everything and started to listen."
Ryan counts Yolanda Adams, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Holliday and Patti LaBelle among her favorite singers. Adams was her voice coach for the America's Got Talent finals.
In 2003, Ryan (at age nine) persuaded her father to allow her to compete on Star Search; her participation ended when she earned 12 stars from the judges to 13 stars for Spensha Baker. When young Tiffany Evans won the competition, Ryan's father decided to send her to Evans' coach, Sal Dupree, for vocal lessons. Ryan also has appeared on Showtime at the Apollo and The Tom Joyner Show.
Ryan has performed at several notable venues, including Madison Square Garden and Lincoln Financial Field. Since age eight, Ryan has been the regular anthemist for the semi-professional Philadelphia Growl inline hockey team. She also has sung the national anthem for the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, New York Rangers, Philadelphia 76ers and Philadelphia Eagles professional sports teams.
Ryan's television work includes commercials for the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant chain and the Philadelphia Zoo. She also played "Singing Girl" in the Michael Cuesta-directed feature film 12 and Holding.
When Ryan auditioned for America's Got Talent, she chose the Dreamgirls showtune "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" (originally performed by Jennifer Holliday), surprising the audience and the judges with her powerful voice. Brandy gave Ryan a standing ovation and called her "my favorite contestant in this competition." Piers Morgan, critical of Ryan's appearance, told her to change her hair, dress and shoes, "and you will win this tournament. … You came on this stage, and you blew us away!" David Hasselhoff called Ryan "a star" and called for the audience to "get on your feet for this girl!"
Ryan's first appearance on Talent became one of the most popular videos on YouTube, an online video archive that was, at the time, partly owned by NBC.
Ryan sang "Piece of My Heart" (barefoot, a` la Janis Joplin) at the semifinals, but none of the judges was impressed with Ryan's musical choice; Brandy said, "You were born to do this, (but) I liked the song selection better the first time," while Hasselhoff felt that style was "not going to get you through (the competition)." Morgan was tougher still, telling Ryan that she "nearly blew it tonight … play to your limit, don't try too hard, or it will show." Still, she was announced as the viewers' choice that week and moved on into the finale round and a chance at the US$1 million prize.
For her finale song—coached by gospel singer Yolanda Adams, who said there was little she could teach Ryan that she did not already possess—Ryan returned to Dreamgirls and the Holliday number "I Am Changing". Following the performance, Morgan praised Ryan for her appearance and song choice, saying "I think you're going to win the competition." Hasselhoff said she reminded him of Liza Minnelli and how she "affects people, and makes them get up and makes them feel things," and told Ryan, "you truly are the best in this competition."
The show's finale results aired on August 17, 2006, during which Ryan was announced as the winner of the first season of the show. The announcement left her in shock (when asked by host Regis Philbin how she felt, Ryan said, "I don't even know!"), brought Hasselhoff to his feet and moved Brandy to tears; Morgan later told WCAU (NBC10, Philadelphia) that "the most talented person won."
On August 24, 2006, Ryan announced on her website that she had flown to New York to meet with representatives from a "major record label" and some of the recording industry's top songwriters. The Northeast Times reported that same day that Ryan met with Grammy Award-winning producer David Foster and was being managed by Peter Rudge.
In her official journal posted September 13, 2006, Ryan wrote that she was in Los Angeles, California, recording her first CD, which was released two months later. Bianca Ryan includes cover versions of "The Rose" and "I Believe I Can Fly" and original songs like "I Wish That" and "Pray for a Better Day". "Ryan's debut self-titled album showcases her gargantuan chops and sweet charm," wrote Matt Collar of All Music Guide. Though he called the arrangements "somewhat over-the-top pop creations" and "grandiose given Ryan's age, her musical aspirations are more than matched by her truly impressive vocal talent." Los Angeles Daily News reviewer Sandra Barrera went a step further, calling Bianca Ryan "an album filled mostly with really bad covers." Still, she wrote, "Ryan tackles these kinds of has-beens like the old pro that her big, powerful voice makes you think she is."
Bianca Ryan is the first of a five-record deal signed on September 18 with SYCOmusic, run by Talent Executive Producer Simon Cowell as part of Columbia Records (SONY BMG). Ryan is the first U. S. artist to sign with SYCOmusic.
As of fall 2006, Ryan is a sixth-grader at School Lane Charter School in Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania. "I'm in school most of the time and keep up on my work when I have to go on the road," she says.
On the eve of her CD release, Bianca Ryan lost her grandmother. Marie Ryan had struggled with Alzheimer's Disease for five years.
Mayor John F. Street proclaimed November 13 "Bianca Ryan Day" in Philadelphia. The proclamation included a key to the city.
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