It took Clayton Ryan almost 24 years to find his hometown, his inspiration, and his voice. This was not by choice, but rather a complicated and impulsive pathway through the nation; the soul-singing Americana artist has dipped his pen into almost every conceivable aspect of the music industry from Los Angeles to Nashville, from jazz and classical music to hip hop and rock n’ roll, from writing commercial music to performing for crowds in honkey tonks across the plains.
The Iowa-raised songwriter found his home in 2019 amongst the swaying pines and jagged cliffs of South Dakota’s Black Hills. His first successes in the industry came as a bassist and songwriter for Brandon Jones, opening for acts like Koe Wetzel, Jo Dee Messina, Flatland Cavalry, and Randy Houser. In the summer of 2022, his song "The Watchman of Spokane,” written for the duo Cottonwood Boys, was featured in American Songwriter Magazine, Americana Music Show, B Sides & Badlands, and South Dakota Public Broadcasting. This epic ballad - written about a true 1908 murder in a South Dakota ghost town- was praised by both Grammy Award-Winning songwriter Marcus Hummon and William Fitzsimmons for its "compelling" and "emotional" songwriting, citing similarities to Gordon Lightfoot and Jimmy Webb.
Most recently, his songs, “No Return to Sender,” “Song of Iowa,” and “Locked Up, Locked Down: Live from the Woodshop Sessions” have all been featured by GemsOnVHS, Sugar Lodge Records, and B Sides & Badlands. He has shared the stage or recorded with Liam St John, Cristina Vane, Brett Fromson, Tori Miller, Jalan Crossland, Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal, Jason Dea West, and Joshua Quimby, and appeared at Miner Music Festival, Big Turn Music Fest, Iowa State Fair, Des Moines Art Festival, Wild Bill Days, Sturgis Musicfest, Wild West Songwriter’s Festival, and National Western Stock Show.
With a knack for quickly writing music on a daily basis, Clayton has worked regularly with Universal Music Production and Noise Candy Music in Los Angeles, working with producer Patrick Cunningham. The duo’s production highlights include songs in NASCAR, Fox Sports, CW's "Walker," the Tennis Channel, and Hallmark. The two released the powerful soul anthem "Better Man" in September of 2023.
Currently residing in Minneapolis, Clayton Ryan began his first solo LP in January of 2024. GHOST TOWN, an Americana concept album, is produced by Multi-Platinum selling artist Michael Shynes, engineereed and played by Isaac Levy and Bennett Vee at Rockhouse Productions in St. Joseph. The ensemble has worked with artists including Ryan Lewis, Ed Sheeran, Cory Wong, Yam Haus, and Brian Setzer. The record is set to release in the summer of 2024.