Vermont Arts Council

The People’s Choice Award: Ryan Osswald

63: Ryan Osswald

Record an album of original songs

Ryan Osswald’s sound is inspired by Black American music, the sounds of life, story telling, and healing. The process of writing and evolving creatively is intertwined. He hopes to share his life experience through his music. “The goal of art for me is to create beauty.”

Project description

I will be recording an album of original music with my quartet of guitar, piano, upright bass, and drums, My goal is to produce music that is healing, honest, and represents the ongoing friendships and communication between the players as they relate to one another. I hope to bring music to the world that makes people feel better. I will be recording a new piece that is called ‘Eulogy’ that is about loss. A large influence for me in writing that song has been the ongoing genocide of black, brown, and indigenous people in this country and more specifically police brutality. The music that I play is often called ‘jazz’, but it is not jazz. It is Black American music. It has evolved to become many different things but the important thing is to honor its creators. This song draws heavily on those influences. I think it’s important to bring different people into the mix and into the fold of the musical community. The music that we call jazz is an ongoing conversation of what it means to be American. The other goal is to expand upon my other recorded material and bring new life into the songs. I think of it as quilt and the new people are like patches on the quilt. I will be collaborating with my friend and drummer Kwaku Darko. Kwaku is a blind drummer from Ghana who is currently attending the Berklee College of Music. He and I will be working on arrangements for the upcoming album. The album will also feature local musicians Mary Carter on vocals and Mikahely on guitar and valiha. As a straight white male in a hetero-male dominated scene, I think its important to make space for people from different backgrounds, nationalities, religions, people with disabilities, and different sexual orientations. My hope is that this is just a continuation of that and also opens the doors for those around my and connects as many people possible through music. There will be an album release party in Burlington at The Community of Sound a musical collective and non-profit space.

Media Sample 1

Eulogy Pt 1. “A live video of the first time playing this song live. I really look forward to recording this one. This song means a lot to me.”

Media Sample 2

Eulogy Pt. 2. “A live video of the first time playing this song live. I really look forward to recording this one. This song means a lot to me.”

Media Sample 3

Peters Song First Bounce. “This song is will be on the upcoming record. I wrote it in a time of transition and the title is a dedication to local musician Peter Krag.”


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Acadia Klepeis August 24, 2023