Bianca Ryan

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Bianca Ryan
BR WAK Premiere 1 420x600.jpg
Bianca Ryan at the September 2014
premiere of We Are Kings
Background information
Birth name Bianca Taylor Ryan
Born (1994-09-01) September 1, 1994 (age 20)
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, songwriter 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. 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.

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] Kings premiered in September 2014, and her video for the single "Broken Down House" was released in October.[4]

Early life[edit]

Bianca Ryan is the second of five children of Shawn and Janette Ryan. Her father, a "huge" fan of the Rolling Stones, named her after Mick Jagger's ex-wife. (In 2014, when an interviewer joked that "Bianca Ryan" sounded like a fake name, she admitted that she didn't like her name and had considered changing it.)[5] She has an older brother, Shawn, and three younger siblings, Isabella, Jagger and Evangelina. Ryan is "mostly Irish"[6] and calls herself "Japanese, Irish, Italian, German, Cherokee ... I'm basically just America ... the melting pot."[7]

Her singing talent came as something of a surprise, given that Ryan was an award-winning tap dancer as a child.[8] "I had never even experimented with singing" until she was eight years old and started enjoying LeAnn Rimes and country music. Her father started sharing his record collection and Ryan "fell in love with R&B and soul music."[9] She convinced her father to take her to an audition for Star Search where she made it into the competition and performed "Impossible Dream".[10] Though Ryan lost to Spensha Baker,[11] she impressed the judges and shocked Shawn Ryan, who had "never heard her sing like that."[12]

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.[13] Her acting debut was a literal walk-off appearance in the 2005 film 12 and Holding; her character is shown at a school function singing the final line of "Oh! Susanna", thanking the audience, and leaving the stage.[14]

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

Problems playing this file? See media help.

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 televised audition, 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.[2] By December 2014, an early upload of Ryan's audition had topped the 11-million-views mark at YouTube.[15]

For the semi-finals of the show Ryan 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 predict that she would win the competition.[16] Indeed, during the finale results aired on August 17, 2006, Ryan was announced by emcee Regis Philbin as the winner of Talent's first season.

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.[17]



Exactly one week after her victory, Ryan announced on her website that she had flown to New York to meet with representatives from a record label and some of the recording industry's top songwriters.[18] The Northeast Times reported that same day that Ryan met with Grammy Award-winning producer David Foster and was being managed by Peter Rudge.[19]

Ryan signed a five-album record deal with SYCOmusic as part of Columbia Records on September 18, 2006.[18] 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."[20] The following month, Ryan was in Los Angeles to record her first CD.

2007–2009: Albums[edit]

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[21] 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".[22] Los Angeles Daily News reviewer Sandra Barrera said that Ryan handled the songs "like the old pro that her big, powerful voice makes you think she is".[23]

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.[24]

Her first concert tour took her across the United States as the special guest artist for Nextfest in 2007.[25] That August, she released the single "That's Not Me".[26]

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.[27] 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.[28]

2010–present: Singles and songwriting[edit]

In 2010, Bianca Ryan wrote and recorded a song inspired by Twilight: New Moon called "In My Head."[29] The single was released digitally on August 21 through the indie label Tuned In Music and Media,[30] followed by a summer-long gig at the Atlantic City Trump Plaza.

Ryan was the featured guest during the fifth episode of an interview series by LiveMediaScene in October 2012; when asked about the differences between her debut album and her future projects, she noted that she didn't get to choose what songs went on her first CD. "[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 songs that you write."[31]

Ryan at the 2014 premiere of We Are Kings, her first co-starring role in a feature film

She explained in 2014 that she had put her career on hold to go back to school even though, as it turned out, she "hated" high school because, besides "a couple of stalkers", she was mostly ignored by other students. "I made no friends" until after school was over.[32] Still, she wanted to "live a life, and have purpose and things to write about, because I'm so passionate about writing music now."[33] Ryan 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."[34] She calls her style a blend of "neo soul, kind of R&B-pop sound".[35]

Bianca Ryan also resumed work on her YouTube channel in 2014,[34] where she posted a video of her cover of the John Legend song "All of Me" in March.[36]


Ryan returned to acting in 2010, playing the lead role in the music video for "About to Fall" by The Wrecking.[37] In 2012, she joined the cast of We Are Kings, an independent, crowdsourced feature film in which two homeless musicians (played by Ryan and blues artist Jonathon Boogie Long) and a runaway rapper (Pryce Watkins) join forces with an elder bluesman, playing gigs in an effort to raise the money needed to send him back home to save his comatose wife and their repossessed blues club. Ryan and her co-stars wrote their own original songs for Kings.[38] Her first single from the film, "Broken Down House", was released in November 2014.[4]

Upon the film's release, LA Weekly called Ryan, Long and Pryce "so bursting with talent that it's impossible to pick a favorite"[39] while the Los Angeles Times looked past the "discordant emoting" to praise the "palpable, soulful authenticity to the musical performances".[40] Ryan admitted that she "could use an acting coach ... but, see, I'm honest."[41]


Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
2006 Bianca Ryan 57 46 45[42] 34 28 45[43]
  • US Sales: n/a
  • Worldwide sales: 200,000[44]
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 Album
Dutch Top 40 Dutch Single 100
2006 "You Light Up My Life" Bianca Ryan
2006 "Why Couldn't It Be Christmas Every Day?" 15[45] 32[46] Christmas Everyday!
2007 "That's Not Me"
2010 "In My Head"
2014 "All of Me"


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 Layla Knuckles Premiered September 19, 2014
Music videos
Year Title Artist Notes
2006 "You Light Up My Life" Bianca Ryan Released: November 2006[47]
2006 "Why Couldn't It Be Christmas Every Day?" Bianca Ryan Released: December 2006
2010 "About to Fall" The Wrecking Released: September 8, 2010
2014 "All of Me" Bianca Ryan Released: March 3, 2014
2014 "Broken Down House" Bianca Ryan Released: November 6, 2014[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mahan, Colin. "Talent shines in finale". Retrieved August 20, 2006. 
  2. ^ a b "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. ^ a b c Broken Down House. YouTube (We Are Kings official). November 6, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  5. ^ Bianca Ryan by Decently Funny. SoundCloud. September 24, 2014. 5:36–5:53. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  6. ^ O'Sullivan, Jeannie. "Bianca Hits the High Notes for the Eagles". Northeast Times. Archived from the original on May 15, 2007. Retrieved August 21, 2006. 
  7. ^ Bianca Ryan by Decently Funny, 11:52–12:01
  8. ^ "Free Family Fun Returns with Fam Jams!". Penn's Landing Corporation. May 21, 2008. Retrieved September 19, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Psych Word Radio Show: America's Got Talent Special (Part 1)". Psych Word Radio Show. 45:17–45:48. Retrieved December 19, 2014. 
  10. ^ Bianca Ryan Singing "Impossible Dream" at Age 9. YouTube. FlkLFR3h-E8. May 26, 2008.
  11. ^ "Watch Star Search Season 4 Episode 1 S4E1 Star Search Show #33". Online Video Guide. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Bianca Ryan: Facebook". Facebook (official). Retrieved September 20, 2014. 
  13. ^ Fischer, John (August 20, 2009). "Stephenie LaGrossa and Bianca Ryan Both Get New Gigs". Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  14. ^ Bianca Ryan in the Movie 12 and Holding. YouTube. PQ1u15IJSa8. May 30, 2009.
  15. ^ Bianca Ryan: "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" [AGT 06]. YouTube. XcEo5H97CLM. January 2007.
  16. ^ Bianca Ryan Sings "I Am Changing". YouTube. 9YGHNzsjTdo. 4:18–4:44. December 18, 2008.
  17. ^ Bianca Ryan Wishes "Best of Luck" to Cas Haley and Terry Fator. YouTube. JbGQFcIjQzo. August 24, 2007.
  18. ^ a b "Bianca Ryan the Official Site: News". Archived from the original on December 28, 2006. Retrieved August 21, 2006. 
  19. ^ Fritsky, Lauren. "Million-Dollar Baby!". Archived from the original on May 3, 2007. Retrieved September 2, 2006. 
  20. ^ "Bianca Ryan, 12-Year-Old Winner of America's Got Talent, First U. S. Signing to Columbia Records/SYCO". Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Bianca Ryan: Chart History". Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  22. ^ Collar, Matt. "Bianca Ryan: Song, Reviews, Credits, Awards". Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  23. ^ Barrera, Sandra (November 23, 2006). "Bianca Ryan, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift CD Reviews". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  24. ^ Sanner, Ann. "Bushes Join 'Dr. Phil' at Christmas Show". Archived from the original on October 18, 2007. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Bianca Ryan Sings 'That's Not Me'". YouTube. Retrieved July 14, 2007. 
  26. ^ "'That's Not Me': Bianca Ryan". Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  27. ^ "True Meaning of Christmas: Bianca Ryan". Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  28. ^ "True Meaning of Christmas". Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Bianca Ryan Sings Her Original Song Written for the Twilight Saga". YouTube (official). August 18, 2010. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  30. ^ " 'In My Head': Bianca Ryan: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Bianca Ryan Interview 2012". YouTube (official). 6:48–7:42. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  32. ^ Bianca Ryan by Decently Funny, 44:11–46:27
  33. ^ Psych Word Radio Show: America's Got Talent Special (Part 1). 47:25–47:33.
  34. ^ a b "Exclusive Interview: Artist Bianca Ryan". Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  35. ^ Bianca Ryan by Decently Funny, 20:44–20:47
  36. ^ "All of Me: John Legend Cover (Bianca Ryan)". YouTube (official). March 3, 2014. Retrieved March 4, 2014. 
  37. ^ "The Wrecking: About to Fall". YouTube (TheWrecking official). Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Hollywood Hits Central Illinois". January 23, 2013. Archived from the original on March 8, 2013. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  39. ^ Wilson, Chuck (September 16, 2014). "Film: We Are Kings". LA Weekly. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  40. ^ Rechtshaffen, Michael (September 19, 2014). "Review: We Are Kings Has Heart of Blues but Misses Art of Filmmaking". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles). Retrieved September 19, 2014. 
  41. ^ Bianca Ryan by Decently Funny, 1:03:37
  42. ^ "Bianca Ryan: Bianca Ryan". Dutch Charts. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  43. ^ "Bianca Ryan: Bianca Ryan". Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  44. ^ Lawson, Kyle (September 14, 2010). "Stardom Not Guaranteed for Talent Show Winners". Trib Total Media. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  45. ^ "Bianca Ryan: Why Couldn't it Be Christmas Every Day?". Retrieved November 21, 2014. 
  46. ^ "Dutch Single Top 100". Dutch Charts. December 29, 2007. Retrieved November 21, 2014. 
  47. ^ Bianca Ryan: "You Light Up My Life". YouTube. Z5oZfF5-GJQ. November 7, 2006.

External links[edit]

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