“Take the world off your shoulders and put it on me. Breathe, just breathe.”
Uplifting words from singer/songwriter Ryan Star that are much more than just talk. The Long Island native saw first hand what a double-digit national unemployment rate looks like as he logged countless highway miles during a 200-date concert tour. Star witnessed the fresh wounds of despair in his audience from factories that had closed in Michigan to the boarded-up buildings in the Bayou. Each night, his anguish grew as he sang his empathetic heart out to the new face of joblessness. Soon, though, Star began noticing something in all those strained eyes. While he couldn’t clear away their worries for good, at least for a moment they seemed to find comfort in a song he’d written called “Breathe.” It is a tender ballad that’s also full of extraordinary weight – inhaling the country’s current condition while exhaling a promise of better things to come. Ryan Star is known for greeting each of his fans after the show, but even better than giving them his time, he truly gives them his ears. And what he was hearing, he simply could not ignore.
With the release of his new album, 11:59, slated for July 2010, Atlantic Records wanted to produce a video. For Star, making music is all he’d ever wanted to do. He formed his first band at age 14 and even appeared on CBS’s music reality show “Rock Star: Supernova” hoping to make it big. But now with the impending release of his first major label single, perspective had shifted for Ryan Star. “I couldn’t ignore how ‘Breathe’ appeared to be touching people,” Star said. “So by the time I got home to make the video, I didn’t want to bling it out and spend money that didn’t make sense to me anymore.” It wasn’t Ryan’s star that he wanted to shine; instead it was the gift of his music and its potential to make a difference. So he brought his real-life out-of-work best friend and recruited other real-life unemployed people and made a video about real-life in America – a teacher, flight attendant, software consultant and more holding signs asking for a fresh start. Then, Star created a website (www.breathe4jobs.com) to match those real faces and their resumes with business willing to get creative during these tough economic times. The video made Vh1’s “Top 20 Countdown,” Ashton Kutcher even tweeted about it and at least one person in the “Breathe” video has been hired. “I’m proud to sing it, and proud to have it represent me right now. I just wanted to smother this record with uplifting messages because people really need that right now.” You know, it’s one thing to speak about a performer’s passion – but Ryan Star has it oozing out of something deeper than a soul.