Bianca Ryan

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Bianca Ryan
Birth name Bianca Taylor Ryan
Born (1994-09-01) September 1, 1994 (age 19)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Years active 2006–present
Labels Syco/Columbia
Music Forever
Tuned In Music

Bianca Taylor Ryan (born September 1, 1994) is an American singer and guitarist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ryan was the first winner of NBC's America's Got Talent at the age of eleven.[1] She auditioned for Talent in 2006 and "blew [the judges] away" with her big voice.[2] Singing two Broadway show tunes along the way, Ryan was announced as the winner of season one on August 17. Her eponymous first album was released later in 2006, followed by two Christmas albums. Two singles followed in 2007 and 2010; within the next several months, she made guest appearances in music videos by The Wrecking and Lifehouse.

In 2012, Ryan joined the cast of the independent film We Are Kings. She portrays one of "two down and out teen musicians who are guided by an angel to an ancient bluesman [half-frozen] in a blizzard."[3] The video for her first new single in four years, a cover of the John Legend song "All of Me", was posted to her YouTube channel in March 2014.

Early life[edit]

Bianca is the second of five children of Shawn and Janette Ryan. Her father, a fan of the Rolling Stones, named her after Mick Jagger's ex-wife. Bianca has an older brother, Shawn, and three younger siblings, Isabella, Jagger and Evangelina. Bianca comes from "mostly Irish heritage" while her maternal grandmother, Yoko, is Japanese.[4][5]

Her singing talent came as something of a surprise, given that Ryan was a champion tap dancer as a child. At age eight, after convincing her father to take her to an audition for Star Search, she made it into the competition and performed "Impossible Dream". Though she lost to Spensha Baker,[6] Bianca impressed the judges and "shocked" Shawn Ryan. "I'd never heard her sing like that," he said.[7][8]

Ryan has since sung the Star-Spangled Banner for numerous semi-professional and major-league sports teams, including the Philadelphia Growl, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Knicks.[9] A brief acting stint included an appearance in the 2005 film 12 and Holding, in which her character sang the final line of "Oh! Susanna".[10]

America's Got Talent[edit]

11-year-old Bianca Ryan auditions for America's Got Talent (Season 1), belting out a Broadway show tune to a rousing ovation

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While searching the Internet for auditions early in 2006, Ryan discovered that American Idol judge Simon Cowell was serving as executive producer for an upcoming competition titled America's Got Talent. For her audition appearance, she chose the Dreamgirls show tune "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" (originally performed by Jennifer Holliday), surprising the audience and the judges with her powerful voice.[11] By January 2014, an early upload of Ryan's audition had topped the ten-million-views mark at YouTube.[12]

For the semi-finals of the show Bianca performed "Piece of My Heart", made famous by Janis Joplin. Although the judges praised her performance they did not think the song was right for Ryan. She rebounded for her finals performance, singing "I Am Changing" (also from Dreamgirls) and prompting judge Piers Morgan to opine, "I think you're going to win the competition."[13] Indeed, during the finale results aired on August 17, 2006, Ryan was announced by emcee Regis Philbin as the winner of the first season of the show.

Ryan made a brief appearance during the show's season two finale in 2007. In a video recorded during Live Nation's Nextfest tour, she wished "the best of luck" to the top two finalists.[14]


After Talent[edit]

Exactly one week after her victory, 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.[15] The Northeast Times reported that same day that Ryan met with Grammy Award-winning producer David Foster and was being managed by Peter Rudge.[16]

Ryan signed a five-album record deal with SYCOmusic as part of Columbia Records on September 18, 2006.[15] She was the first US artist to sign with SYCOmusic; during the press conference, Simon Cowell called Ryan "potentially one of the best singers I have ever heard in my life."[17] The following month, Ryan was in Los Angeles to record her first CD.


Bianca Ryan performs at Nextfest in 2007

Ryan's eponymous debut album was released on November 14, 2006, featuring cover versions of "The Rose" and "I Believe I Can Fly" and original songs like "I Wish That" and "Pray for a Better Day". Eight days later, the album broke in at No. 57[18] on the Billboard album charts, showcasing "her gargantuan chops and sweet charm," wrote Matt Collar of Allmusic. 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".[19] Los Angeles Daily News reviewer Sandra Barrera said that Bianca handled the songs "like the old pro that her big, powerful voice makes you think she is".[20]

One month later, the EP Christmas Everyday! was released as a promotional giveaway. She then joined several artists in a televised 2006 Christmas performance for President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush at the National Building Museum to benefit the Children's National Medical Center.[21]

Her first concert tour took her across the United States as the "special guest" artist for Nextfest in 2007.[22] That August, she released the single "That's Not Me".[23]

In 2008, Ryan left SYCOmusic/Columbia Records; she released her second holiday-themed EP, True Meaning of Christmas, on November 3, 2009, on the indie Music Forever label.[24] This second collection, co-written with Anthony Marinelli and Siedah Garrett, includes updated versions of "The Christmas Song" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"; the title track features a duet with gospel pop singer Brent Jones.[25]


In 2010, Bianca Ryan wrote and recorded a song inspired by Twilight: New Moon called "In My Head."[26] The single was released digitally on August 21 through the indie label Tuned In Music and Media,[27] followed by a summer-long tour at the Atlantic City Trump Plaza.

Ryan was the featured guest during the fifth episode of an interview series by LiveMediaScene in October 2012, during which she was asked about the differences between her debut album and her future projects. "I didn't have a say [in] what went on my [first] CD," she said. "[The experience] was amazing, but [despite working with people like David Foster and Kara DioGuardi] I didn't feel like it was really me. ... You can relate to what you write."[5]

"When you start out, you don’t necessarily sing the songs that you want," Ryan further explained in 2014, noting that songs are often chosen to "show off your vocals. Once you’ve proven yourself in the first few singles, then there’s more freedom to do the music you enjoy performing." She told in February that she's working with industry veterans like Quincy Jones on a new EP "with music that’s completely written by me. ... It’s more mainstream than anything I’ve written before." Ryan plans to finish the EP by spring 2014 and to work on her YouTube channel,[28] where she posted a video of her cover of the John Legend song "All of Me" in March.[29]


Ryan returned to acting in 2010 and 2011, appearing in music videos for other artists.[30][31] In 2012, Christian NewsWire reported that she had joined the cast of We Are Kings. The independent, Kickstarter-financed feature was originally to co-star Chicago blues legend Magic Slim, who "fell ill" and died just as production started.[32] Sammy Blue took over the role of a blues musician whose wife falls into a coma; he becomes "drunkenly depressed", hits the streets and nearly dies in a blizzard. Layla (Ryan) and Dustin (blues musician Jonathon "Boogie" Long) find the man, pull him into their RV, and "find out he's this crazy musician and we're musicians, too." The trio then drives around various locations in central Illinois, playing gigs in an effort to raise money to send the man back home to care for his wife. Ryan and Long wrote their own original songs for the film,[33] set to premiere in September 2014.[34]


Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
2006 Bianca Ryan 57 46 52 1 28 45
  • US Sales: 105,000
  • Worldwide sales: 200,000+
Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
2006 Christmas Everyday!
  • Released: December 5, 2006
  • Label: SYCO/Columbia
  • US Sales: n/a
2009 The True Meaning of Christmas
  • Released: November 3, 2009
  • Label: Music Forever
  • US Sales: n/a
"—" denotes the album did not chart.
Year Single Chart positions[35] Album
Dutch Top 40 Chart Dutch Radio + Records
2006 "You Light Up My Life" Bianca Ryan
2006 "Why Couldn't It Be Christmas Every Day?" 15 1 Christmas Everyday!
2007 "That's Not Me" N/A
2010 "In My Head" N/A
2014 "All of Me" N/A


Film and television
Year Title Role Notes
2001 Showtime at the Apollo Herself/contestant Winner of Amateur Kids Night
2004 Star Search Herself/contestant
2005 12 and Holding Singing Girl
2006 America's Got Talent Herself/contestant 6 episodes; season 1 winner
2014 We Are Kings[36] Layla Knuckles
Music videos
Year Title Artist Notes
2006 "You Light Up My Life" Bianca Ryan Released: November 2006[37]
2006 "Why Couldn't It Be Christmas Every Day?" Bianca Ryan Released: December 2006
2010 "About to Fall" The Wrecking Released: September 8, 2010
2011 "Broken" Lifehouse Released: July 3, 2011
2014 "All of Me" Bianca Ryan Released: March 3, 2014

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mahan, Colin. "Talent shines in finale". Retrieved August 20, 2006. 
  2. ^ "Philly 11-Year-Old Wows Judges". Archived from the original on July 17, 2006. Retrieved August 21, 2006. 
  3. ^ Hubner, Robert (February 15, 2002). "Bianca Ryan, Winner of America's Got Talent, to Star In Feature Film 'We Be Kings'". Christian NewsWire. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  4. ^ O'Sullivan, Jeannie. "Bianca Hits the High Notes for the Eagles". Archived from the original on May 15, 2007. Retrieved August 21, 2006. 
  5. ^ a b "Bianca Ryan Interview 2012". YouTube (official). Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Star Search: Season 4, Episode 1: Star Search Show #33". Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Bianca Ryan 'Impossible Dream'". YouTube. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Band Page: Bianca Ryan". Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  9. ^ Fischer, John (August 20, 2009). "Stephenie LaGrossa and Bianca Ryan Both Get New Gigs". Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Bianca Ryan In the Movie 12 and Holding". YouTube. May 30, 2009. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  11. ^ "America's Got Talent Season 1 Episode 2 Part 6". YouTube. (3:12-6:55). Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Bianca Ryan: 'And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going' [AGT 06]". YouTube. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Bianca Ryan Sings 'I Am Changing'". YouTube. Retrieved December 21, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Bianca Ryan Wishes 'Best of Luck' to Cas Haley and Terry Fator". YouTube. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "Bianca Ryan the Official Site: News". Archived from the original on August 26, 2006. Retrieved August 21, 2006. 
  16. ^ Fritsky, Lauren. "Million-Dollar Baby!". Archived from the original on May 3, 2007. Retrieved September 2, 2006. 
  17. ^ "Bianca Ryan, 12-Year-Old Winner of America's Got Talent, First U. S. Signing to Columbia Records/SYCO". Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Bianca Ryan: Chart History". Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  19. ^ Collar, Matt. "Bianca Ryan: Song, Reviews, Credits, Awards". Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  20. ^ Barrera, Sandra (November 23, 2006). "Bianca Ryan, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift CD Reviews". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  21. ^ Sanner, Ann. "Bushes Join 'Dr. Phil' at Christmas Show". Archived from the original on October 18, 2007. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Bianca Ryan Sings 'That's Not Me'". YouTube. Retrieved July 14, 2007. 
  23. ^ " 'That's Not Me': Bianca Ryan: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  24. ^ " True Meaning of Christmas: Bianca Ryan: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  25. ^ "True Meaning of Christmas". Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Bianca Ryan Sings Her Original Song Written for the Twilight Saga". YouTube (official). August 18, 2010. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  27. ^ " 'In My Head': Bianca Ryan: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Exclusive Interview: Artist Bianca Ryan". Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  29. ^ "All of Me: John Legend Cover (Bianca Ryan)". YouTube (official). March 3, 2014. Retrieved March 4, 2014. 
  30. ^ "The Wrecking". YouTube. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Lifehouse: 'Broken' (Bianca Ryan)". YouTube. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  32. ^ "We Are Kings". Facebook. December 6, 2013. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Hollywood Hits Central Illinois". January 23, 2013. Archived from the original on March 8, 2013. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  34. ^ "We Are Kings". Facebook. July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  35. ^ "Bianca Ryan: Music Charts". Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved September 26, 2007. 
  36. ^ "We Are Kings The Movie". Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Bianca Ryan: 'You Light Up My Life'". YouTube. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
America's Got Talent winner
Season 1 (Summer 2006)
Succeeded by
Terry Fator