[A lot of this information is on biography pages on various sites, though IMDb is woefully out of date, and much of what is stated regarding Ryan's music life prior to Celtic Thunder is confusing, incomplete or incorrect. Since the crud that went on in late 2011, the information remaining online anywhere about Mr. Kelly seems to be copied and adapted from the same few limited sources. I strongly dislike gossip, and do not intend to provide juicy details on any of Ryan's private life. However, there is a lot of gossip to be had about this fellow in particular, and this profile hopefully can provide enough information to derail at least the more obnoxious, irresponsible or hurtful rumors which occasionally surface around Ryan Kelly. Substantiated corrections are always welcome, but much of the basic information for this profile comes from or is backed up by Ryan's own webpage bio, and I consider that a fairly reliable source.]
Birthday/ Marital Status: Ryan was born on November 6, 1978. He is currently 35 years old. He is currently happily single, as far as anyone has been officially told.
Hometown: He is from the tiny village of Moy, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.
According to wikipedia the population of Moy is 2,129 (as of 2013). This means his entire town is just a little bigger than the population of my old high school.
Pets: No musician's profile is complete without some mention of pets. Ryan's newest pet is a small terrier named Larry, named of course after one of his favorite basketball players. After all the wistful posts we've seen on social media from Ryan about dogs, it was only a matter of time before he added a new dog to his family. Ryan's parents also have a family dog, Molly, and Ryan has a cat, Rory, who he got as a kitten in 2012. Ryan took suggestions from fans to arrive at the name Rory, which of course is also Damian McGinty's character's name on Glee.
Instruments: Voice(singing since he was a small kid), guitar(learned to play starting ~13yrs), tin whistle(he plays this during "Galway Girl"), ?
First “official” performance: First Communion at age seven.
Education: Queen’s University in Belfast- Bachelor of Science in Accounting and also a Graduate Diploma in Advanced Accounting, qualified as a Chartered Accountant. (My sister and I have a theory that somehow accountancy draws in lots of people who really ought to be musicians, and that maybe the folks who try music and find it is not the life for them ought to try accountancy instead. There seem to be a lot of former accountants in music, in any case.)
Bands and Ensembles: Emergency Exit (before Celtic Thunder), Celtic Thunder (2008-2011, 2011-present). I would love to have photos and information to post on Emergency Exit, and the musicians who were in this band alongside Ryan, but unfortunately there seems to be nothing online about them. Brownie points are to be had for anyone who sends me substantiated information on this band and/or any other music projects Ryan was involved with. Also, jpgs of show posters or other imagery from this era of Ryan's music life would be lovely.
2003- Finalist in BBC's "Country Cool" TV competition, which led to Ryan performing on stage for the televised 2003 "Children in Need" concert at the Odyssey in Belfast, a show which also included Westlife, Girls Aloud and Simply Red. While this show was indeed broadcast, it also does not appear to exist in any recorded form online now, so this is another item which ought to have photos and video if only I had them to share. And yes, I am still a bit jealous of all the folks who got to see this concert live.
2007- Ryan came in first at the Scor na Sinsear Tyrone County Final, in the Amhranaiocht Aonaoir (Solo singing) event, representing his local GAA club An Mhaigh Tir na nOg. (He sang Danny Boy for this competition.) I wish we had something like the culture surrounding GAA clubs here, btw. I always knew these clubs supported local sports, but I had no idea they did cultural events until I started trying to fact-check a note in a biography on Ryan about some 'Scor' singing competition he won. Again, I wish I had photos or video from this event or from the semi-finals for the Ulster regional competition, which Ryan did not win. I don't know enough about SCOR, and certainly don't know enough Irish Gaelic to happily navigate GAA's SCOR website, but I got the impression from the results archive on that site that Moy has not had a history of winning the county competition in this event- it looked like the last time Moy won this title was in 1974, though I may easily be reading the site wrong.
Ryan sang "Only Our Rivers Run Free" at the Ulster semi-final, and was 'runner up' at this round of the competition. I have to admit (and if/when Ryan ever reads this I may be losing whatever favor I ever had with him for this one) the only good thing I had to say about the last 4 recordings I have heard of this song was that it is shorter than many political tunes the Wolfe Tones played. "Our Nation Once Again" can go on almost literally forever, and "The One Road is almost as interminable. But, Ryan has a much nicer voice than the fellows on the recordings I've heard, so maybe his rendition of "Only Our Rivers Run Free" would be the one that would redeem this song for me. :) [UPDATE: I did find a version of this song that I actually like, so while in general this is still not a song I look forward to hearing, it is possible that this song might turn out pretty good.]
Solo Music Projects
In Time. This album includes a lot of original songs, for the most part not referencing traditional Ireland, but rather drawing from a rock/pop sound and edginess that no doubt is a lot closer to the music he performed with his rock band prior to joining Celtic Thunder. In spring 2012, Ryan joined fellow Celtic Thunder singer Neil Byrne to tour the US East Coast with a show called “Acoustic by Candlelight”. Their setlist included songs from both songers' solo work, along with traditional folk tunes and Celtic Thunder songs, and was very successful. The second leg of this tour, covering the US West Coast with a few more central dates as well, took place in December 2012, and other mini-tours covered still more locations throughout 2013. This duo will be touring Canada next in 2014, and will be promoting their new, long awaited, Acoustic By Candlelight album.
Ryan also has a second solo album out, called "Life", though I have been too poor so far to buy it and it is not available on spotify to hear for free yet. Ryan does post bits of his songs from his new album on his website, though, so I have heard bits and pieces of some of them. After his brush with death 2 years ago this month (he was in the hospital in a coma 2 years ago, for much of June) his new album shows a new appreciation of the fact that he is not dead.
I had removed all mention of this episode of Celtic Thunder history from this profile when it looked like the harassment problem had finally gone away, but as it appears not quite dead after all, here again is briefly what was going on in 2011.
Ryan has been a member of Celtic Thunder since the group was formed back in 2007, but he did leave the group briefly at the end of the spring 2011 promotional tour. The details remain fuzzy, because the whole point of his leaving the group was so he could focus on his private life more. However, by the end of the summer that year Ryan was back in Celtic Thunder, and all information pertaining to what had happened in the intervening months has been pretty much scoured from the internet. Yes, this is exactly why it is so easy for nasty rumors to catch- many fans remember reading posts and other information online that no longer exist, and it is easy to start speculating as to what really happened. I do not know exactly what happened, nor do any other fans, because Ryan has never told any of us what happened. I do know that there was a significant invasion of privacy, his and that of people close to him, and there has been an ongoing issue of at least one of those people being harassed online since. Needless to say, this sort of behavior is not what the Thunderhead fan community supports, but it only takes one crazy 'fan' to keep this sort going.
I've said plenty, probably more than enough at this point, about the month that followed this message. Just seeing the text of this dire message again gave me cold chills [and still 2 years later this remains true- Ryan, you are not allowed to ever scare us like that again, ok?], so if you missed this brief but scary chapter in Celtic Thunder history, check out some of the other posts I have on here about Ryan. I'd say that Ryan ought to be careful lest his fans or his producer insist he wear protective pads and a helmet at all times, but seeing as Keith was in an arm-brace for part of the 2012 winter tour, having cut some of his veins and arteries in an ill-fated encounter with some window-glass, I suspect we'll just have to hope that whatever graces have kept these men alive so far will serve them a while longer. Ryan made a full recovery, though he admitted in 2013 that his sense of smell was compromised and was not yet back to normal after his accident.
Ryan did successfully complete the entire 2012 US/Canada tour, the 2013 Australia/ New Zealand tour and another mini-tour with Neil Byrne at the end of 2012 for their Acoustic By Candlelight show. He seemed more committed than ever before to sticking with Celtic Thunder, and was back in fine form for the 2013 Mythology tour. As far as I could tell when I saw him in November 2013, he seems to have recovered and he is quite well, at least till his next adventure.
Ryan Kelly's website, ReverbNation page, Ryan's Official Facebook page
Celtic Thunder website
Albums, Solo/duo: In Time (2010), Acoustic By Candlelight (2013),
Albums, Other: Celtic Thunder: Celtic Thunder The Show (2008), Act II (2008), Take Me Home (2009), It's Entertainment! (2010), Celtic Thunder Christmas (2010), Storm (2011), Heritage (2011), Voyage (2012), Voyage II (2012), Mythology (2013)
SOURCES: Almost all the above information on Ryan Kelly was obtained through some combination of his own website, the various relevant pages on the Celtic Thunder website, and from profiles on sites like Reverbnation. Information regarding awards and competitions Ryan participated in was obtained online as well, from the websites of the organizations involved and from other reasonably reliable sources. Some of the information I've included on Ryan is just from my own personal knowledge as a fan who pays attention to Celtic Thunder's activities online and spends way too much time on social media, but whenever possible I have tried to corroborate everything from other sources as well.