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Judge for Ryan Shields

Astoria, NY
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Portrait of Ryan Shields
Ryan Shields was born into a musical family. When he was young, his father held practices for his blues band in the basement of the family’s Pittsburgh home. His father taught him to play the drums at the age of 10, and his mother taught him his first guitar chords at 13. Shields’s grandfather, a Puerto Rican guitar player, singer, and songwriter, also had a prominent influence on Shields’s music. Head’s on Wrong (track 7) on The Light Between Last Night and Tomorrow features one of Shields’s grandfather’s compositions.

At high school in Seminole, Florida, Shields played drums in a band called Never the Less with brother Danny, who played bass. Never the Less was signed to the indie label Boot to Head Records, and with the band, Shields toured throughout the eastern part of the United States. At 19 he became the front man for the band The Swirl (formed with brother Danny) in which he performed lead vocals and guitar. He continued playing and writing songs throughout college in Florida. After a short stint in Toronto, Shields moved to New York City where he did session work for a reputable music house called Yessian. After landing his first national ad campaign, singing on a Cracker Barrel commercial, Shields moved back to Florida and began working on a full-length solo album. The twelve original songs on The Light Between Last Night and Tomorrow showcase Shields’s diverse musical influences including country, rock, folk, and americana. Shields currently resides in St. Petersburg, Florida. He plays regularly in the Tampa area and is looking forward to going on tour in the summer of 2009.