Justin Ryan, a self-taught pianist and composer from McAllen, Texas, embodies the strength of dedication and self-learning in music. Born into a modest household with a single mother and three siblings, Justin discovered early that while financial resources were scarce, their family was rich in faith and determination. This environment fostered his belief in the ability to self-learn and achieve greatness.
At 15, Justin began learning music on his own, without formal lessons. He began teaching himself piano, diving into composition almost immediately. Hours were spent at the piano, weaving melodies and exploring the intricacies of music composition. Despite challenges, including being turned away from a music school, Justin's passion for music never waned.
By 19, Justin was deeply immersed in the realms of classical and ragtime music, drawing inspiration from iconic composers like Chopin and Joplin. His dedication to studying the works of Mozart and Beethoven at 20 marked the beginning of a prolific period in his life, during which he composed numerous piano sonatas, concertos, symphonies, and other classical pieces, showcasing his evolving talent and unique voice in the world of music.
His early years were characterized not only by his burgeoning musical talent but also by his lively personality. In grade school, Justin was known for his humor, often finding himself in trouble for making classmates laugh. He wasn't particularly interested in traditional academics, preferring baseball, music, and time with friends and family. His brother Eddie, a self-taught musician, was a significant influence, encouraging Justin's exploration into music composition and production.
In 2012, a pivotal change occurred when his family moved to Dayton, Ohio, after his mother acquired the company that had previously fired her. It was here that Justin's musical journey took a decisive turn. In 2015, while working at an amusement park, he shared a piano performance video with a friend, Ivan, who became instrumental in finding venues for Justin to showcase his talent. This partnership blossomed into a fruitful collaboration, with both enjoying and thriving in concert settings.
By 2023, Justin Ryan Ruiz, as he's now known, had carved a niche for himself as a millennial classical composer with a unique flair. Self-taught and resilient, he overcame the rejection from a music school and found solace and passion in classical music, a genre he had never anticipated pursuing. His compositions, such as “L'Epicure,” are infused with a Neo-Classical touch, a style he honed by meticulously studying Mozart and incorporating elements from other greats like Beethoven and Scott Joplin.
Despite life's challenges, including a dramatic incident as a truck driver and his experiences as a trashman, Justin remained focused on his music. His creative journey was marked by the production of over 85 songs, innovative social media campaigns, and a determination to share his music with the world. His story is not just about music but about overcoming adversity, staying true to one's passion, and breaking barriers in the pursuit of artistic expression.
Justin's early experiences with the piano are etched in his memory. He recalls, around the age of 11 or 12, tinkering with scales shown to him by his brother Eddie. This exploration sparked his interest in music composition, although he mainly learned independently, developing his unique musical language without formal training. This approach allowed him to craft music unrestrained by conventional rules, letting his creativity flow freely.
Growing up, Justin's musical inspirations were diverse, primarily influenced by his brother's metal band, “My Sky Your City.” This eclectic background shaped his musical style, blending elements of metal, future bass, and classical music. Despite having no formal education in music, Justin's self-taught expertise in piano and composition grew, leading to his first public performance in a retirement home. Though nervous, his original compositions resonated with the audience, leaving a lasting impression.
As Justin's skills evolved, so did his approach to piano playing. He began focusing on intricate details, striving to create a sound distinct and groundbreaking. His music, a blend of Baroque, Neo-Classical, and personal styles, reflects his journey of self-discovery and artistic growth. His compositions, particularly the piano sonatas, bear a resemblance to Mozart's work yet diverge with unique elements reflective of his individuality.
One of the greatest challenges Justin faced was the lack of a supportive social media following, which made it difficult to share his music widely. To counter this, he creatively leveraged his job as a trashman, producing “trashman plays piano” videos. These efforts, while initially unfruitful, showcased his relentless determination to share his music and story.
Memorable performances have been a significant part of Justin's career. One particularly poignant moment was when a man, moved to tears by his music, approached him after a performance. Such interactions have been a source of inspiration and motivation for Justin.
Justin's collaborations extend to his brother's music projects, demonstrating his versatility and willingness to explore different genres. He brings a unique perspective to these collaborations, combining his classical background with his brother's expertise in EDM and metal.
Despite not formally teaching piano, Justin is open to sharing his knowledge, especially in composition. His philosophy revolves around encouraging creativity and breaking free from traditional confines in music.
Looking to the future, Justin aspires to establish his own symphony and create unprecedented musical experiences. He envisions concerts that are not just about music but also about creating a sensory experience with fine wine and food. His love for music is paralleled by his passion for other interests like skateboarding and building things, reflecting his multifaceted personality.
Justin Ryan Ruiz's journey is a narrative of resilience, creativity, and the relentless pursuit of musical expression. His story resonates with anyone who believes in the power of self-belief and the pursuit of dreams against all odds.
Justin Ryan's social media and streaming platforms:
- Linktree: https://linktr.ee/justinryanruiz
- Instagram: Instagram.com/Justinryanruiz
- SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/justinryanruiz
- TikTok: @trashmanpro and @trashmanplayspiano
- Spotify: JUSTIN RYAN and JUSTIN RYAN RUIZ
- Apple Music: Justin Ryan Ruiz on Apple Music
- Facebook: facebook.com/Justinryanruiz
- Twitter: Twitter.com/justinryanruiz
Written by The Lions Ground Entertainment Group, November 16, 2023.