The path to success isn’t linear. No one knows this better than Ryan Hagan, an ex-athlete turned up-and-coming pop music sensation.
The Nashville-local had an early love for two things: music and sports. He took a swing first at a path toward athletic greatness. As a wrestler, Ryan went on to win multiple accolades, including five national championships and a rack of numerous regional and state wins as well. On top of wrestling, he also flourished in football and track and field. The year-round athlete was on his way to becoming a Division 1 college athlete, but that ended after he suffered major injuries that would prove to be career-ending.
After that, Ryan brushed himself up and went back to his first love, which was music. Growing up, his family did not have money for lessons, so he became an excellent self-taught pianist and vocalist. He spent a lot of his time singing and performing in churches, increasing his skills and confidence.
Ryan pursued a business career after finishing college, and he climbed the ranks within a Forbes Top 50 corporation. But all the while, he was pursuing music, working late nights trying to break into Nashville’s eminent songwriting scene. By 2017, Ryan had written over 200 original songs, which earned him respect from local songwriters and artists. He became an established pop songwriter in an otherwise country-music town.
In 2018, Ryan started independently releasing his own music. He wrote and performed his debut single “Come To You.” This debut was quickly followed by the song “Jimmy Fallon” in 2019, which earned him nearly a half million streams worldwide, a rare feat for a freshman artist.
After the buzz of the second single, Ryan started working with some of the brightest stars in music. The musician caught the attention of the vocal coach and producer Kim Sandusky, who is best known for her work with Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child. Kim then introduced his music to Bryan Todd, a Grammy-nominated and multi-platinum producer and songwriter and the CEO of 2220 Records, who then sought an opportunity to work with Ryan. Ryan would then co-write the single “You Deserve Better” with Bryan Todd. Bryan also released the single under his 2220 Records label.
Two weeks after the success of the single, Ryan surprised fans when he released a remix EP that featured remixes of “You Deserve Better.” The remixed versions were made by Charlie Hedges and Eddie Craig, Kingdom 93, and Routes—all of whom are A-list artists and DJs in the UK. The remixes and the original song started making rounds in radio stations all across the world, and as a result, Ryan is currently charting on Music Week at #7 and is regularly interviewing with UK radio stations.
Ryan has dedicated most of his time creating music for his army of raving fans. There are now talks of a European tour as soon as live music events are allowed in the new normal.
While life might not have been easy for the ex-athlete turned breakthrough musician, Ryan showed the world that it is possible to rise above the challenge.