The story of this San Jose, California native is quite surreal. Ryan Duarte had little interest in singing when he was a youth. The son of an R&B backup singer, (his mother had performed backup vocals on MC Hammer’s Too Legit To Quit Tour and sung with various gospel groups) Ryan Duarte was often immersed in the entertainment industry. But to hear him tell it, he had other things in mind for his future. “I just wanted to be a football player or a fireman,” says the 25-year-old, soft spoken singer.

While Duarte had plans of being a professional athlete or a noble public servant, the people of the Golden state had something else in mind for him. “I remember watching Boyz II Men and Jodeci on television and they inspired me to try singing,” he says.

 


It was just a dream at the time but Ryan Duarte’s drive was unstoppable. He practiced every day after school as suggested by his mother, and even formed a group with some friends in his community. “I sang background and I really learned to harmonize,” says the San Jose native, of his experience with the group. As the guys grew older and the group disbanded, he went from backstage to front and center on his pursuit of fame.

Ryan Duarte embarked on a full fledged solo career that, early on, awarded him a “Best Male Pop Vocalist” accolade in an online competition called Tonos which involved music movers and shakers, Babyface and Rodney Jerkins. The buzz increased as the singer came up with the innovative idea of selling his independent records online, much like underground hip-hop artists do. One of the songs that would seal his fate was the soulful, passionate, mid tempo tune “You.” “There was a competition on Wild 94.9’s (the #1 Crossover station in the Bay area) The Dog House morning show,” he explains, “It was called Bay Idol, a spin-off of American Idol and people really liked the song ‘You.’ The national success of the independently released “You” resulted in a top seven position on the radio for two weeks.

“People just kept calling in, emailing and requesting the song,” states Duarte. The mass demand for “You,” also earned him a performance at the Wild 94.9‘s Jingle Ball, the biggest radio holiday concert in the Bay Area. This is unheard of for a local artist without a record deal. Ryan Duarte is currently working on his debut album, one that will include savvy R&B hooks, creatively constructed instrumentals, and his forte: ballads.

Since his humble beginnings as a teenager who simply wanted to succeed at sports or help save lives, he has had a gift for being a man of the people. Even with his song “You,” it was the listeners who selected him. Not only does this prove that there is a musical democracy out there, it shows that the masses have a keen eye for talent. “I think the fact that everyone liked the song and requested it, was such a good thing,” Ryan Duarte offers, “by them choosing my song, it was totally a blessing.” A total request live blessing…