British-based, African-born Ryan Baker-Barnes has been on quite a journey- international recording artist only just umbrellas the far stretch of Ryan’s creative arsenal. Custom made (Bespoke…) guitar pedalboards, an electro-pop instrumental offering, a history in sound and lighting design and a sensitive yet intentional writing dynamic make Ryan a true creative with a vast yet cohesive reach.
THE AFRICAN IN DUDLEY
Living in Zimbabwe, Ryan taught himself guitar aged 15 and instantly conceived several school bands. December 2001 presented an exciting opportunity and challenge- an internship with a creative arts charity in the UK, The Saltmine Trust. Moving from Africa and touring as their theatre sound and lighting engineer gave the time and fresh environment in which to develop his musical craft.
Ryan now serves as the Worship Pastor at Revival Fires Church in Dudley, UK, where he has led alongside some of the greats- Brian Johnson, Kevin Prosch, Kim-Walker Smith and Chris Quilala to highlight a few. Passionate to see a generation respond wholeheartedly to God, Ryan is motivated by a belief that worship has the power to engage, encourage and transform. His lyrics deliver messages of truth and freedom- drawing on his experience of liberation and the injustice he witnessed growing up.
In his (seemingly little!) spare time Ryan runs Heritage Custom– a bespoke pedal board and amp cabinet design and tolexing service. To say Ryan can turn his hand to most things is an understatement, but it’s this versatility of creative approach and unique life experiences that inform his music and give his writing a depth seldom found in modern music.
Ryan is married to Anna, and they have three children- it’s safe to say he’s a busy guy!
THE DEEPEST KANYON
Featuring on several live albums began to build a wider platform for Ryan, and helped hone his creativity- used when stepping into the light to deliver a creatively mature and passionately performed debut studio album, “The Deepest Part”. Eager to challenge his own sonic boundaries, Ryan teamed with producer Julian Kindred (Ellie Goulding, Delirious?, Rebeca St. James). With so much modern worship sounding increasingly stereotyped, Ryan and Kindred wisely came up with edgy yet inventive arrangements while steering clear of the layered guitar Brit pop sounds. Recorded at Julian’s Nonsuch Park Studios in Surrey, England, the project features musicians Joe Clegg, Dan Wheeler, James Gregory and Micah Wilshire. The 10 songs carry a spirit of passion and a heart for worship, while not being limited to the musical scope of a live performance.
More recently Ryan has been half of ‘indietronica’ duo Kanyons (w/ Graham Phillips). Ambient soundscapes, ethereal vocals and emotive guitar lines- yet another outlet for his burning creativity. He has also been found writing with Martin Smith (& Army of Bones), our very own Tom Smith, and is connected in with Jesus Culture– featuring at their 2016 Europe Conference.
Whatever the outlet, Ryan’s characteristic sound is one of passion. Fusing together driving acoustic melodies and rich, expressive vocals ranging from intimate love songs to lively pop to passionate, rousing anthems.