Phil Ryan (entrepreneur)

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Phil Ryan

Phil Ryan is an English musician, writer and entrepreneur. He has toured with The Animals and is co-founder of The Big Issue and The 12 Bar Club.


Phil Ryan on a poster from 2018

Ryan started his musical career as a session guitarist, recording with various well known artists and headlining at festivals all across England throughout the 1980s. The early 1990s saw him touring Europe and the United States, with performances in Stockholm, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Barcelona, Munich, Nuremberg and Berlin, among others. In 1992, Ryan joined The Animals as lead singer and performed with them at the 'Children of Chernobyl' benefit concert in Moscow's Red Square in front of an audience of 100,000.[1] In 2001, he recorded his first solo album, Storm Warning, and toured European festivals, such as the Bardentreffen in Nuremberg, Germany, with it. He contributed the charity single "Thanks for loving me" to the Jack Brown Appeal.[2] Ryan is a featured artist at Rooftop Records where he mentors aspiring musicians.[3] He has published various novels and continued his musical career. From 2015 he was involved in the Save TPA Campaign group trying to protect the historic Musical and historical heritage soaked Denmark Street in London's West End street from complete destruction and re-development into Luxury Flats and shops. Phil is part of the team making the film 'Tin Pan Alley Tales' capturing the history of Denmark Street (now under re-development as luxury apartments and a luxury hotel) featuring the stories of the people who made it what it was. In 2017 the film started production after a successful crowdfunding campaign for release in late 2018.[4] The Director is Henry Scott-Irvine, Phil is an Executive Producer.[5] Phil also worked with German Film Composer Jan Willem De With[6] (Hamburg/Zurich) to orchestrate his song 'As we grow Old', which was released in mid 2018 to support his European tour festival dates. On 1 December 2017 he released the song 'Walking Down This Lonely Street'[7] in co-operation with The Big Issue to raise funds for Homeless People over the Christmas period and beyond. The track is available via AWAL on major download platforms.

He recorded and filmed a new collection of songs which were released in 2018/19 and planned live performances across the UK and Europe in 2018/19. His website allows access to his current musical projects.

In 2018, Ryan was featured on the Your London Legacy Podcast - he was chosen to be an interviewee as an Inspirational Londoner. He talked about his life and journey so far. There are two podcasts available to listen to.[8]

In late 2019 Ryan shot a promotional video for the new remix of his song 'As we grow Old' (available on YouTube) The song has its own stand-alone website where a free download (released in February 2020) can be sent to the person of your choice. At the time of this entry the track has been streamed 605,621 times on Spotify.

In 2020 Covid-19 forced him to pause his live shows and in late 2021 there are plans to launch a series of intimate shows and performances called ‘An Evening with Phil Ryan’ across the UK.


Ryan was a co-founder of The Big Issue, a magazine written by professional journalists and sold by homeless people.[9] Ryan was taken on in the early stages of the magazine's creation by John Bird, who founded the project with Gordon Roddick.[10][11][12] In September 1994 Ryan started the 12 Bar Club with Lars Ericson. The music venue is located in central London and featured performances by artists such as Nick Harper and Boo Hewerdine as part of Ryan's music policy. The 12 Bar Club was awarded Live music Venue of the Year '95/'96 by Time Out magazine. Ryan also runs Storm Books, an online publishing platform set up in 2010 that intends to make the work of up and coming writers available to a wider audience.[13]

In 2015 Phil became a BBC Radio London 'Listed Londoner' on the award-winning Robert Elms show. He talked about the city, his favourite things to do and what London means to him and his career.[14]

In 2016 The Big Issue magazine ran its 25th-anniversary edition[15] featuring an original picture of John Bird and Phil Ryan in their original office in Richmond, London. The article featured information on Phil's pivotal role in the early days of the magazines set up.[16] In the same month Phil launched a new fundraising song for the Big Issue initiative at the Proud Gallery Camden Wednesday 19 October 2016. The song was released in late 2017.

In 2017 he launched a podcast of his written works in audio format on AudioBoom under his Storm Productions company name. In the same year, he was also featured in a book of influential Londoners 'For the Love of London' by Conrad Gamble - published by Octopus Books via Hachette (publisher).[17]

July 2018 saw the UK premiere of the Film Documentary 'Tin Pan Alley Tales' which Phil was Executive Producer for and also appears in.[18] The Documentary has already garnered some industry awards.

In 2018/19 he helped create and launch a new literary and literacy magazine 'The Chapter Catcher'.[19] It is a quarterly magazine available by subscription.[20]

Through the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020/21 he set up his latest publishing projects. He created a book trilogy ‘The Covid Diaries of Phil Ryan’, currently under publishing assessment. His other literary project is The Story Hive, an online audio story website (launching end of 2021) which initially will be free at the point of use. It will feature downloadable audio versions of all of his novels and short story collections.


Ryan also turned his hand to theatre: his first stage play, The Blessed was performed at Theatro Technis, Camden, London in 1989. His musical adaptation of George Eliot's novel Silas Marner premiered in London in 2000, also at the Theatro Technis. The Arts Theatre was the venue for The Phil Ryan Show, a show that featured selected acoustic musicians and singer songwriters including Peter Conway, Art Fazil, Evi Vine, Baby Sol, Dean Dyson and Chris Newland, which Ryan launched in 2007.[21] In the following year Ryan wrote a song for And Then They Came for Me, an award-winning play which charts the lives of two of Anne Frank's friends who survived the Holocaust. Ryan himself has featured in John Bird's two-man show The Naked Bird, a critically acclaimed piece that has been performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2008 and most recently at the Theatro Technis in London in May 2013.[22] The BODS Theatre Company in Reigate mounted a full production of the Musical Silas Marner in November 2016[23] (to critical acclaim on the NODA Website).[24]

In 2019 Ryan completed a full set of master recordings featuring a full cast for a major new production of 'Silas Marner'. The musical now has its own stand-alone website. Covid-19 has delayed the show's production schedule until late 2022. It will very likely make its premiere performance in Europe.


  1. ^ The Moscow Times. The Animals top bill at benefit event at the Wayback Machine (archive index). In 1994 he created the world renowned 12 Bar Club in London's Denmark Street. The club won the Best London Music Club Award from Time Out magazine in 1995. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  2. ^ i-newswire. Song To Help Young Cancer Victims Released at the Wayback Machine (archive index). Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  3. ^ i-newswire. Archive index at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  4. ^ Launchrock. Tin Pan Alley Tales - The Film at the Wayback Machine (archive index). Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  5. ^ Phundee. Tin Pan Alley Tales - The Film at the Wayback Machine (archive index). Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  6. ^ Filmmusiktage. "Untouchably, Fabulously French" – the 9th Film Music Days Saxony Anhalt ends with a magnificent gala concert and personal award for Éric Serra at the Wayback Machine (archive index). Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  7. ^ "Musician and writer Phil Ryan performs 'Walking Down This Lonely Street'". The Big Issue. 19 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Ep.03 – Co-Founder of The Big Issue & Top Musician Phil Ryan". Your London Legacy. 19 July 2018.
  9. ^ Swithinbank, Teresa. Coming Up from the Streets: The Story of the Big Issue. Earthscan, 2001.
  10. ^ "It's Time To Make An Exhibition of Myself". The Big Issue. 25 April 2013.
  11. ^ Darton, Michael (8 May 2013). "Naked Bird, Threatro Technis, London". The Big Issue.
  12. ^ John Bird 'Some Luck' (2003), pp. 410–413.
  13. ^ "Phil Ryan". Storm Books.
  14. ^ "With Listed Londoner Phil Ryan and Jo Harman". BBC Radio London.
  15. ^ "Revealed: The Big Issue's special 25th anniversary edition". The Big Issue. 14 October 2016.
  16. ^ "The Big Issue at 25: The untold story of how a publishing revolution began". The Big Issue. 14 October 2016.
  17. ^ "For The Love of London". Octopus Publishing Group.
  18. ^ "Tin Pan Alley Tales: The Film". Phundee.
  19. ^ "John Bird launches new magazine to get the nation 'reading deeper'". The Big Issue. 5 June 2019.
  20. ^ "Big Issue Founder Wants to Start a 'Reading Revolution' with New Magazine". 9 June 2019.
  21. ^ "Phil Ryan Live - Silvertip Films". Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  22. ^ "Naked Bird review: A personal story that keeps you entertained". Big Issue. 8 May 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  23. ^ "Silar Marner". B.O.D.S. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  24. ^ "Silas Marner Betchworth Operatic & Dramatic Society". NODA. Retrieved 17 January 2017.

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