There is a way in which a song reveals the true colors of its writer, and when the backstory of a writer navigates between a love of performing arts and five years of U.S. Navy service including a tour of duty in Afghanistan, one begins to understand why the songs from Ryan Ellis resonate in a way seldom heard. A true collision of creativity and raw honesty that can only flourish on the road less traveled.
Ryan Ellis recalls his childhood days of singing and dancing. From ballet and tap to founding member of the original Jabbawockeez hip-hop dance crew, the San Diego native has a long-established flair for artistry. However, it wasn’t until a personal encounter with Jesus that would impart an awakened and prolific gift of songwriting to Ellis. Immediately succeeding military service, Ryan became the Worship Pastor at Isla Vista Upper Room, overseeing Isla Vista Worship and releasing his debut and sophomore EP’s Live from the Upper Room II and Kingdom Glory.
The ardent nature of Ryan’s songwriting has empowered him to write for veteran worship artists such as Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Natalie Grant, Meredith Andrews, Jared Andrews, House Fires, Jeremy Riddle, Steven Malcolm and For All Seasons. He received ASCAP's 'Most Performed Song 2018' award for “Resurrection Power” and an accompanying Dove Award Nomination as career milestones.
Accolade, however, is not the fuel of Ellis’ fire. In his own words “I’m a devoted husband and father first. I have a deep love for Jesus and the way that songs draw people into experience Him, to be inspired and encouraged, and ultimately to let them know that they are loved. Music is the language that everyone can understand, and it’s all I know how to do.”
Ellis is not afraid to explore the deepest questions of life. Yet, amidst the inquisitions, there is always a lyric seasoned with hope at the end of the tunnel. This crossroad of question and answer is most poignantly depicted in his 2019 dual album release “Lyfe” and “Rysponse”. Lyfe stylistically visits the realms of RnB, pop, and hip-hop. Lyrically confronting and palpable - there are no wasted words penned. Perhaps the most weighty track on the album has no melody and no production - the opening track aptly named “Intro”, is a moving foreword from Ryan’s mother, offering maternal encouragement to her son through one of the hardest seasons of his life yet. Rysponse is a soulfully soothing collection of worship songs beautifully crafted almost as an antidote to the questions posed by Ellis himself. Lyfe and Rysponse are both a challenge and invitation to listeners to be candid about the struggle yet stand firm in the truth and promises of God.
Ryan’s artistic proficiency displayed so evidently on Lyfe and Rysponse makes a bold declaration of his strength beyond just songwriting. Here stands a man who has fought battles not only for the freedom of his country, but a warrior of his faith for the freedom of his heart. With millions of online streams and a growing amount of monthly Spotify listeners (currently over 50,000), there is no denying the integrity and sincerity found in the songs of Ryan Ellis.