Derek Ryan Biography

From Moy to Melbourne and Limavady to London – Derek Ryan is Irish country music’s golden boy with chart topping albums, self-written smash hit singles, box office busting live tours and of course – an army of faithful fans around the world.

The roll call of success for the multi-talented Irish man is long and much deserved – with number one albums, sell-out shows in Ireland, UK and further afield, with a fistfuls of Awards to his name.

It’s been a long road for the Garryhill, County Carlow born artist who first developed his life-long love for music when as a four-year-old, Derek’s parents bought him a drum kit one Christmas. That childhood passion was further nurtured when his dad brought him to Fleadh Cheoils (Irish music festivals) with young Derek truly proving ‘I Got Rhythm’ – winning two All-Ireland titles in bodhran and ceili drumming. Tunes from his mum’s favourite country music radio shows – with songs by favourites including Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and George Strait – also engrained themselves deeply in a young Derek’s heart.

It was pop which first drew a blond-haired, fresh-faced 17-year-old teenage Derek into the music business. He followed in the chart busting footsteps of Irish boybands, Boyzone and Westlife – as part of new Celtic teen pop phenomenon, D-Side in 2001. Managed by Kim Glover – the same woman responsible for Dublin born UK chart toppers, B*Witched and TV superstars, Ant & Dec in their singing years – Derek enjoyed three UK top ten hits with D-Side.

The Irish pop pin-ups were also big in Japan – scoring a number one single in the Land of the Rising Sun. But when the pop bubble burst, determined Derek picked himself up and started following his Irish and American-inspired country music dreams. Working as a solo artist from 2006, he spent three years honing his craft around the club and bar circuit in London while studying at the same time to be an Accountant.

He returned to Ireland in 2009 with the intention of completing his course and exams in Carlow. But the pull of his guitar and writing songs – rather than counting numbers on a calculator – proved more attractive and paid supreme dividends. Early self-validating song writing success came in prestigious competitions such as A Song For Carlow and The International Song Of Peace. And when a song he had written in a bolt of creativity in his London bedsit in less than half an hour, ‘God’s Plan’ became a 2010 smash hit in Ireland… it was ‘D-Day’ for Derek’s career from then on!Dozens of artists have since recorded Derek’s songs, including Daniel O’Donnell, Foster & Allen, Philomena Begley and Jimmy Buckley underlining the industry wide admiration for Derek Ryan’s credible song writing talents. Since then, with a combination of terrific talent, admirable determination and a continuous desire to do better, Derek’s career has kept on reaching progressively greater heights.

After an ecstatically received Australian tour and an ‘Oz-only compilation album’: Let Me Introduce Myself in 2015, Derek’s dreams of major country music stardom look set to come true too, outside of Ireland.

Balancing huge demand from dancehall and concert theatre audiences with his constant desire to create new music, Derek has released countless albums – ‘A Mother’s Son’ (2010); ‘Made Of Gold’ (2011); ‘Dreamers And Believers’ (2012); ‘Country Soul’ (2013) and two Irish Number One chart toppers – ‘The Simple Things’ (2014) and ‘One Good Night’ (2015). Derek released his seventh and eighth album simultaneously, ‘Happy Man’ and ‘This is Me’ (2016), ‘Perfect Days’ (a vinyl-only album), ‘The Fire’ (2017) and his latest tenth studio album aptly named ‘TEN’ (2018). His eleventh album ‘The Hits’ (released late 2019), a 21-track collection album of Derek’s biggest songs and fan-favourite classic hits that showcases the then 10 year career for the Carlow man, highlighting the songs that have made Derek one of Ireland’s best-selling country singer/songwriters. Derek also released a LIVE album in early 2019 featuring 24 tracks recorded live during his sold-out Scottish Tour at his concert in the Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, Scotland.

Since then, Derek has gone on to record and release three more albums – The Road To Christmas (2020), Soft Ground (2021) and Pure & Simple (2022) with popular songs featured such as ‘Wherever You’re Going’, ‘Thank God for the Farmers’ and ‘The Cows On The Hill’ which became instant hits for Derek and which are now some of his fan-favourites today.

Derek’s original classic hits such as ‘God’s Plan’, ‘Down On Your Uppers’, ‘To Waltz With My Mother Again’, ‘Ya Can’t Stay Here’, ‘Life Is A River’, ‘Hold On To Your Hat’ and ‘Flowers In Your Hair’ emphasise Derek’s fantastic flair for self-written songs and touching the hearts AND feet of his fans!

Derek has won countless accolades including Entertainer of the Year, Album of the Year and Best Live Performer. However, Derek is most proud of the award winning recognition for his song writing abilities at the Sunday World and Irish Country Music Awards (ICMAs).

Derek fulfilled a long cherished dream of recording in the USA, working with Nashville producing ‘royalty’, Jeff Balding whose studio credits include Don Henley, Dolly Parton and Shania Twain. He collaborated too with a top notch team of musicians who play for superstars such as Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood and Lady Antebellum.

Considering his hectic schedule in 2019 alone, which included sold-out tours in both Ireland and Scotland, festival appearances in France and Denmark, a headline slot at the SSE Arena in Belfast, a number of Summer Festival top-bill sets and Derek’s road to stardom continued with his aptly named ‘The Hits’ concert tour where Derek had the opportunity to sing the songs on stage every night which made his career. 2020 saw a shut-down in the entertainment industry, but Derek’s relentless creative streak remained true to the singer’s heart as time in the recording studio was still a priority. Derek recorded his first Christmas album which included classic Christmas songs, as well as original, new festive hits, which was released over the lockdown period and after writing and recording numerous songs in his own home-built studio, Derek released the album Soft Ground in 2021 which included the hits ‘Wherever You’re Going’, ‘the Night That Went On For Days’ and ‘Thank God for the Farmers’ in which he performed at the opening of the National Ploughing Championships in front of President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins.

2022 and 2023 were said to be Derek’s busiest years to date, headlining countless summer festivals, concert tours in Ireland, Scotland and the UK, dancing weekends and sell-out dances. Looking toward 2024 to be his biggest year ever, after announcing his brand new 23-date Irish concert tour kicking off in January, as well as a ‘St Patrick’s Week’ tour in Scotland and a tour announced for England in October. Derek will also headline the iconic Farmers Bash at this year’s BELSONIC Festival in Ormeau Park, Belfast in June.

But the modest music man at the forefront of the new wave of young Irish country music stars, remains ever loyal to his fans.

“When people pay money at the door to come and see me, or a concert ticket, or listen to one of my albums, it’s such a massive compliment. We are so lucky all of this is happening in a big way and I am so grateful for my fans and will never forget that.”


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