One of my most rewarding things to do through photography and music is to meet new people. Sometimes those people are 18 and some are 81. Each and every person has something interesting about themselves even if they think it's just a quirk. Musicians are great to photograph too! Sometimes we make faces that become part of the music. I personally watch musicians' expressions just as much as I listen to them! It is one of the joys of experiencing live music! Each Monday I'd like to feature a musician that I've had the chance to photograph.
Today's feature is Ryan Borgo. my family and I have been friends with the Borgo for a long time. I remember many get togethers that both of our families were running around the house. Our kids grew up together in musicals and band and generally in doing life together. From the first time I saw Ryan, on stage, I saw his love for performing! He loved the spotlight and felt most alive when he was performing. That hasn't changed! I'll let him tell you about his experiences, but Ryan makes me smile when I see him enjoying the performing lifestyle!
What first got you into music?
"A mix of things – first and foremost, my parents gave my sister and I Disney movies which we would watch over and over. And then, we also watched a number of movie musicals, like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the one that started it all, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring Donny Osmond. That’s what started singing and dancing – but a special shout out to Ernie from Sesame Street who couldn’t put down the rubber ducky and play the saxophone which inspired me to pick up sax and play it all throughout school."
Who inspired you to make music?
"Brian Knarr, Maura Underwood, my parents, and my family."
"Confidence is key – knowing who you are is everything. Embrace the unknown and dive into yourself. When you can shine through your art, you’ve found the key to success."
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
"The music I create has already been written – I don’t do a lot of song writing, but I do add my own colors. The composers create the lines; as actors, singers, dancers and musicians, it’s our job to fill them in with a multitude of shades and gradients."
What is your creative process like?
"For me, when it comes to acting, my process is based in the Chekhov/Stanislavski method. For music, dance and singing…that’s a bit more vague. But only because there’s a number of methods I’ve learned for each medium – the one thing that stays constant is to put a bit of myself into each of them. I need to be able to sing through my instrument, dance through my songs, and play through my dance. If I’m not there in the moment with each of these, it suffers."
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
"Oh jeez, that’s a tough one. I would love to collaborate with Quantum Theatre in Pittsburgh (an amazing company that does shows in found spaces) to perform immersive musicals. I would also love to collaborate with Brooklyn-based drag artist Thorgy Thor. She has an incredible show called Thorgy and the Thorchestra, where she performs classical violin and cello with Orchestras across the US in full drag. She wants to eventually have an entire orchestra in drag, which I think would be a pretty cool event!"
What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?
"I once had my driving privileges revoked in high school for laying on the hood of my friend’s car while she drove (SLOWLY!!) in circles in the high school parking lot. Not my brightest moment. 😂"
Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues?
"I have performed in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, New York and Connecticut. Some of my favorite venues have been the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh, the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway and Porthouse Theatre in Ohio."
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
"The internet has allowed for us to have unlimited resources for music making, as well as collaboration. Especially right now, we have seen the potential for the internet to assist in theatre from home, concerts from home and even orchestras from home. It’s a powerful tool for music producing, as songs can easily be passed to the next person in the blink of an eye. And the best part is – it’s only going to get better. It’s an amazing tool if used correctly."
"What’s next for me? Whatever the world may hold! More auditioning and submissions until the world situation is back under control."
Which famous musicians do you admire?
Billy Joel, Elton John, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Janelle Monaé, Leikeli47, The Eagles, Steve Miller Band, The Who…the list goes on, but these are some of my favorites.
Do you sing in the shower? What songs?
Currently, my Performances in the Shower™ are a full one man show to Lady Gaga’s new album Chromatica.
What is your favorite song to perform?
Goody by Matty Malneck, lyrics by Johnny Mercer.
What is the most useless talent you have?
I can do a fairly good Jennifer Coolidge impression. (Paulette in Legally Blonde, the hairdresser – “I’m taking the dog…dumbass!)
Best advice you've been given? - "Be humble. Shut up and listen. It’s not about you. These three have been said in much more eloquent ways, but these are the core messages at the end of the day."
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
"Greater diversity throughout the entire Performing Arts industry and understanding the bias that has been inherent in it since the beginning."