“Self-contained orchestra, one-man band and record-making machine” likes making people move, feel, love, laugh and get angry.

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Ryan Leyva

What do you do? I am a multi-instrumentalist, composer and record producer who works in all types of genres and with all types of artists. I work out of Red Room Studio in Fremont, which I co-own with Matt Bayles. 

How did you get started in that field? I started playing guitar seriously around age 8 because my father is a guitar player. I studied guitar by playing along with records, having Dad show me some chords, an occasional guitar lesson, but what really kicked my musicality into high gear was the Roosevelt High School jazz band. (Thanks, Mr. Brown!) Leaving high school I was faced with two choices: go to college for music, or go on tour as a hired guitar player. I decided that going on tour with a world music band, then later hip hop bands, rock, punk, metal, jazz, pop bands — those experiences ended up becoming my education. Turns out I learned a few things, especially how much I love being part of the writing and recording process.  
What’s a typical day like? Typically there is no absolute typical! It’s great for my creative brain. On any given day, I will spend the morning composing music for a score or commercial, then move onto editing material for a record I’m getting ready to mix. Afternoons and evenings are when the more creative juices start flowing, so I try to save mixing songs and deeper songwriting for the later hours. Hopefully I have a lunch break rehearsal with my band J GRGRY. 

What surprises people about what you do? My ability to be a self-contained orchestra, one-man band, record-making machine. I think my artist clients are usually surprised with themselves by the end of a recording session, too. I like to challenge their skill sets and push boundaries while getting the best performance and best parts for their songs out of them — I think those experiences with me surprise the artists I work with.

What’s the best part of the work? Making people move, feel, love, laugh, get angry, and hopefully inspire one or two folks to make the world a better place. That all applies for me too.  

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