Here’s why we predict 21 will be his best year yet
Five years ago, after Justin Bieber became the first musical act to be discovered via YouTube, everyone was looking for the “next” Justin. And while labels groomed acts like Cody Simpson and Austin Mahone to be heir to the teen pop throne, there was another young artist living three hours north of Los Angeles whose YouTube covers were racking up millions of views: Ryan Beatty.
In 2011, he released his debut single, “Every Little Thing,” which Justin has coincidentally covered several times:
Ryan’s debut EP, “Because of You,” hit iTunes on July 24, 2012, and within 24 hours of its release, soared to #1 on the pop charts. Clearly, Ryan possessed the talent to transition from YouTube superstar to mainstream musician.
But over the next few years, things seemed to stall, which Ryan addressed via YouTube in April 2015. “I don’t even feel like I have yet to scratch the surface of what I want to do,” he explains. “I wasn’t as true to myself as I should have been.”
Three months ago, impacted by the massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Ryan revealed that he’s gay. “Proud to be a raging homosexual,” he captioned this photo on Instagram:
“It’s taken 20 years of suffocating in the closet for me to become comfortable enough to say it, but now I can finally breathe,” he wrote. “I did it!”
And suddenly, it all made sense: Record labels wanted Ryan to be a teen heartthrob for millions of girls around the world, but he couldn’t live a lie.
Today, Ryan celebrates his 21st birthday. He’s creating the best music of his life, is happier than ever, and we couldn’t be happier for him.
Happy birthday, Ryan! Here’s to 21 being your best year yet and a debut album that’s sure to be well worth the wait.