When another musician is more excited about sharing his musician friend’s work than himself, you take a listen. That is exactly how I found out about instrumental guitarist; Ryan Valotta from Drexel Hill, PA.After doing my obligatory internet creeping, I came away knowing that we HAD to bring some light to this incredible talent. I finally had the chance to talk with Ryan about how his sound developed and the influences that helped him shape and create his own work.
Who do you feel influenced you as a musician?
“This is probably a typical answer, but many artists/styles growing up were an influence, but it seems most of them were extremely melodic and often had interesting chord changes; I think that is what always caught my ear the most. So anything from Classical (mostly baroque) to The Cars, Madonna, Tears For Fears, Beatles, to New Wave bands, Guns N Roses, Van Halen, Progressive Rock like Genesis, Yes, Dream Theater, Phil Collins solo stuff, to Dave Matthews, all the great 90s pop and grunge stuff. Also, instrumental guitarists like Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, and Yngwie Malmsteen (with and without vocals) are a large influence. I also loved some indie or emo-type bands, especially Sunny Day Real Estate or the band called Ours. Filter, Our Lady Peace was big for me and metal bands like Megadeth, Metallica, Mudvayne..I guess metal bands that start with “M,” haha. But what most of these artists have in common, I think, is a strong suit for composition – they are often layered, melodic, even if simple they are intricate in certain aspects but fully emotional and never stagnant.”
Could you name a particular piece that speaks to who you are as a musician?
“Perhaps “Loved By The Sun” by Jon Anderson of Yes along with Tangerine Dream – there is something supremely surreal, ethereal, and “escapism” about that piece and how it builds – it has a mystical vibe, but also victorious, almost heavenly. It literally brings me to tears; I think the chords and melodies are just absolutely brilliant and perfectly done. There isn’t a single weakness in the piece. Just extraordinary.”Please listen to our Spotify playlist for Ryan and some of the music by the instrumental guitarists mentioned above.
What is up and coming for you?
“I am working on a lengthy guitar instrumental album (with a few songs that will feature some guest vocalists). I am more than halfway through & have some sneak peeks of some songs on my SoundCloud page here:RValotta soundcloud.com“I wrote, produced & played all the instruments/orchestrations except for drums. I had a great co-mixer & master engineer David Pierron help me get these songs to sound their best. I also had some truly great drummers (Kevin Soffera, Ritchie DeCarlo) play on these songs, which I am super thankful for!”
Ryan has a level of humility that tries to blur the level of talent and passion he has for his music. His songs are rich and intricate. They bring you on a journey and leave you with feeling as if you have been gifted solace. Truly a musician worth listening to.