Ryan Douglas Michelsen
Music Composer & Graphic Artist
yan Douglas Michelsen is a 28 year old artist from the United States who specializes in writing soundtrack instrumentals. He has worked with many musical genres, using his talents as a band member, songwriter, and producer to create original music. His
body of work includes new age, electronic, symphonic, and piano pieces that are inspired by a variety of pop, classical, and soundtrack influences such as Elton John, Clint Mansell, Howard Shore, and Ludwig van Beethoven.
Native to the suburbs of Chicago, Ryan had a difficult childhood. He grew up moving around the country in a single parent household with few chances to develop lasting friendships. Without a father figure for most of his life he struggled to develop an identity that conformed with the rest of society. The sudden death of his father in 2008 ended any hopes of rekindling their relationship, with the loss becoming a central theme in his teenage years. Despite the emotional toll, he graduated high school with honors and was accepted to university for architecture. He dropped out shortly after, full of rage and resentment against the system.
Ryan (right) performing with 29 Needles at Cortland Fest 2014
The band 29 Needles then took notice of Ryan, inviting him to join as their keyboardist. There he opened for national acts Avenged Sevenfold, Five Finger Death Punch, Three Days Grace, and Dead Horse Trauma with their debut album The Letter. He rocked his keyboard across the neighboring states for several years, contributing to their 2014 EP The Holy Misconception. His time was largely inspired by Dimmu Borgir, a Norwegian symphonic metal band that mixes heavy metal with orchestral and electronic sections.
2015 brought the failing health of his grandfather, and so to take care of him on his deathbed, Ryan resigned from the band and moved to the American southwest. His curiosity for the music and design industry did not leave him, however, and he returned to college to study music business and CAD. In 2018 Ryan founded his first company, Pombrah Music Publishing LLC, with the intent to release hundreds of songs over his lifetime. Since then, has expanded his scope beyond himself, providing songwriting and record label services for artists locally and internationally.
His first commercial album Pursuit of Happiness was released in May of 2019. A combination of electro-pop, techno, and rock, he developed the songs during his cathartic writing rituals, each carrying a unique emotional connection with deeper meaning to his life.
Songs like Palm Tree are based on the guitar pop of Jack Johnson, one of his father's favorite musicians. Memories uses sad piano with an uplifting groove to portray the dichotomy of his childhood; sadness with profound joy. Into The Depths dark verses contrast against the driven chorus, ending with a crescendo to represent the depth of his former depression. Over Mountains is the release of that tension, showing how we are more than our darkest moments.
"We are more than our darkest moments"
An artistic nature can be created in many ways, but for Ryan, it was growing up with an electric piano. He played nearly every day, sometimes spending entire weekends focused on exploring sounds. He continues to this day to produce states of catharsis, relaxing after a typical day through musical meditation. Without formal training he simply experiments with chord progressions, melodies, and teaching himself songs. This endless series of meditative music sessions has lead him to develop a strong ability to play and compose, especially for new age and easy listening styles of music.
Ryan's parents also made sure he was well travelled, thanks in part to their divorce and distance. Given the privilege of traveling the world at a young age, Ryan has stepped foot in Europe, Africa, and the Americas. The journeys have helped shape him into a humanistic individual, one understanding of every person's unique story. Witnessing the extreme poverty outside of the United States first hand is an eye opener, but even more so is how alike even the most distant places are.
For more info about Ryan, and to hear his current discography, be sure to check out the links below!