Ryan O’Shaughnessy has achieved more in his music career then most young Irish musicians dream of in a lifetime chalking up an eight-year role in one of Ireland’s best loved TV soaps, a spot in a signed boyband while still just a teen - and finalist positions in three top-rated UK and Irish TV talent shows including Britain’s Got Talent in 2012, for which his audition piece, singing the self-penned ‘No Name’, has been viewed a staggering 40 million times on YouTube.
‘It started as a dream’
While still only a child, Ryan was already catching the attention of his parents’ showbiz peers and mentors and at the tender age of eight he was invited to play Mark Halpin on Fair City, Ireland’s national television network’s iconic TV soap, a role he held until 2010 when he left to put all his time into music. In the meantime, Ryan spent a year mastering saxophone and by age 11 he was already exploring musical disciplines ranging from Swing to Hip-hop.
‘An immediate TV hit’
For a full year after stepping away off the nation’s TV screens, Ryan took classes in song-writing at Dublin’s prestigious British and Irish Modern Music Institute Bimm (BIMM). With song-writing now his chosen path, Ryan sailed through the preliminary rounds and secured a spot on the final of Britain’s Got Talent. Renowned music impresario Sim Cowell said of Ryan’s performance, one of the most watched auditions in the show’s history: ‘You have a brilliant sense of melody, your lyrics are superb, and I love your voice. I think good things ae going to happen on the back of this audition.’
‘Top of the charts’
In the event, Ryan came fifth overall in one of the most hotly contested finals in the show to date, and was promptly offered a recording contract with Sony Music – RCA, later opting to start his own record label, Bayview Records, and go the independent route. Meanwhile, the single for ‘No Name’ (2012) scored top 10 hits in the UK and Ireland, and his RCA-released eponymous EP shot to No.1 and No.9 in Ireland and UK charts respectively. Fast on foot of these successes, Ryan starred in new TV contest The Hit, where he was pitched against established performing artist Brian Kennedy. The show, airing August 2013, saw six songwriters pitching to both artists, with Ryan choosing ‘Who Do You Love’ by Mark Graham & Frances Mitchell to enter a chart battle against Kennedy. Ryan won and the single went straight to No.3, beating his opponent’s ‘Try’ which charted at No.15. Ryan then returned to perform his song on live television at Dublin’s Three Arena for the Grand Finale with the RTE Concert Orchestra.
‘Spreading his wings’
In the years since his last major talent show success, Ryan has divided his time between writing and recording his original material, and has performed at some of the worlds most iconic venues and festivals. New songs ‘Evergreen’, ‘Fingertip’ and ‘She Won’t Wait’ have seen Ryan spread his song-writing wings with YouTube videos clocking up 500,000+ views and streams in a similar region.
Ryan is philosophical about his successes at such a young age and the whirlwind of the last four years. “I just want to write and perform songs that mean something to me for people that want to hear them”.