Ryan Star gets a second boost from Bon Jovi
New York City rocker Ryan Star's life has come full circle. As a high school student, he was chosen through a radio station contest to open for Bon Jovi. Now, thanks to his own hits like "Breathe" and "Start a Fire," Star has made an impact on the New Jersey rockers once again, and is providing direct support for them for select dates on their arena tour.
"Z100, a pretty big [radio] station, they had a contest where you could enter your band to win an opportunity to open for the Bon Jovi boys," Star told SoundSpike. "I didn't expect much, but it worked. We got to play in our hometown of Long Island in this big amphitheater. We got to play our biggest show to date as [high school students]. It was fun. I got to go back to school and be popular at least with the teachers for awhile.
"Then I started the long trek and road to get back where we are now. Nothing's overnight. It was that big spark that led us in the direction that, yes, we can do this with our lives. To be back on the stage with them it's going to be incredible. Now that they're playing sold-out arenas on this tour, for anybody it's an honor to do this."
Star will open for Bon Jovi March 17 at San Antonio's AT&T Center, March 19 at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena and March 22 at Salt Lake City's EnergySolutions Arena.
"It's pretty amazing," said Star, who also appeared as a contestant on "Rock Star: Supernova." "Whether you look at it from a spiritual angle or a cool career angle, it's really a great moment for me. My proper debut album comes out as a solo artist and the guy who kind of gave me my first shot in the first place [Jon Bon Jovi] lets me come out again.
"It's just an incredible honor, really, for such a legend to notice me. For me, on a personal level it's great because this is part of the reason I started."
Star is playing the shows as part of the promotional swing for his major label debut, "11:59," which reached No. 10 on Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart.
"This process was interesting," Star said about recording the album. "I'm always writing and I'm always kind of growing and changing it up. The album before this was an album of just me and a piano. It was called 'Songs from the Eye of an Elephant.' Twenty songs. Just me. Literally, in a month, I wrote and recorded some tunes in my home. Now I have this album, which is a combination of everything I've come from. There are rock and piano songs."
Star explained that the writing process for the new album was much more expansive than it was for his first..
"It was kind of like anything went," he said. "It wasn't a specific thing I was going for -- except what I was trying to say in the songs, which was this idea of time being now and the urgency being now and to appreciate it all, especially with the way the world is going or not going. The album had that whole idea all over it. I think that's what makes the music mesh.
"I think the message and the voice glues it all together. The writing process took some time. I was writing before the record, during the record and even after I finished the record. I was on tour with my band and was continuing to write."
"Start a Fire," the latest single from the collection, is in the Top 20 at Hot AC radio outlets nationwide.
"'Start a Fire,' that was the last song written for the album," Star said. "That's one of the things I was touring on and rocking out every night. We got it together really quick. That's one of my favorite songs to play live."
Fans can hear the song live. In addition to joining Bon Jovi for select dates, Star will also join VH1's "Best Cruise Ever 2011" -- a floating music festival sailing from Tampa, FL, on April 28, to Cozumel, Mexico, featuring artists Train, Lifehouse, Colbie Caillat, The Script and more.
"I've never been on a cruise," Star said with a laugh. "I'm not a fan of confined spaces like that. But everyone tells me I'll be all right. I get to play music and that's a good thing. I'm kind of openly anxious about what it's going to be like. ...Train will be there. I've played with them before. And The Script. It'll be fun to catch up with my friends from the road."
17 - San Antonio, TX - AT&T Center (w/ Bon Jovi)
19 - Las Vegas, NV - MGM Grand Garden Arena (w/ Bon Jovi)
22 - Salt Lake City, UT - EnergySolutions Arena (w/ Bon Jovi)
28, 29, 30 - Tampa, FL - Carnival Cruise Line's Inspiration ("VH1 Best Cruise Ever")
1, 2 - Tampa, FL - Carnival Cruise Line's Inspiration ("VH1 Best Cruise Ever")