Bringing the Spotlight Back to the St. Louis Sound

May 23, 2023 | People Make the Place, Stories

St. Louis based, Kansas City born performer and producer Ryan Marquez is a seasoned multi-instrumentalist focused primarily on a mixture of jazz, pop, and hip hop. He’s also a fiery advocate for what The Gateway City has to offer artists and audiences alike – a compelling, proprietary mashup of creativity, community, and accessibility.

Referring to St. Louis and the inspiration it provides as his “number one instrument”, Ryan pays passionate homage to Missouri’s hallowed place among the genres of blues and jazz while making it known that the same innovative spark is still burning brightly and poised to make its mark on musical history once again.

Ask any music-lover in the Lou, and you’ll likely get drenched by a wave of nostalgia. People reminiscing about their top-five shows of all time at the nearby Mississippi River Festival in the 1970’s or Mississippi Nights (RIP to both). Groundbreaking artist like Scott Joplin, Josephine Baker, Chuck Berry, Miles Davis, and Tina Turner, among so many others, cemented St. Louis’ legacy.

And while it’s imperative to honor our roots, herein lies the point. As Ryan expresses with the wisdom of someone who’s been grinding it out and fine-tuning his voice for the past two decades in the St. Louis music scene (not to mention both his prior and current work in Kansas City), “That same energy is always here.” It’s clear the City’s creatives have put another stake in the ground and are primed to write the next chapter.

“The thing that is being done now more than ever is collaboration. There’s a lot of successful cross-pollination and integration among different mediums.” said Ryan. “We have a special, sacred kind of energy here that I think permeates from the fertile ground of the [Mississippi and Missouri] rivers, and I like to call us the confluence of the cool.”

These collaborations between artists, who are branching out beyond their core mediums, offers audiences a uniquely immersive experience – all in a place where it’s easier to get close to the action. Emphasizing how phenomenal entertainment options are often free or lower cost and how St. Louis is an easy city in which to get around compared to other major arts and culture towns like Los Angeles, New York City, Nashville, or New Orleans, Ryan speaks proudly about how inviting the scene is for both artists and audience members.

“There’s really a kindness and openness to where it’s not difficult to be seen or heard if you show up and invest the time to be a part of this welcoming community,” Ryan said. Naming the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis, the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, the Missouri Arts Council, and the Steward Family Foundation, he goes on to explain that there is also a concentrated push from major arts funders to nurture artists as they continue bolstering St. Louis’ reputation on the national stage.

“St. Louis is that next great thing. It’s that next great movement of copycat energy that everyone is going to want to do,” Ryan said. Come see what you’ve been missing.

In this season of his career, Ryan is wearing the producer hat for multiple projects and collaborations at Midtown Sound House, Blue Lotus Studio, Feel Good Music Recordings and building relationships in Los Angeles and other major markets to help establish a pipeline of opportunities for St. Louis musicians.

He’s also focused on music synchronization with business partner Drew Mantia in a concerted effort to get their music synced to videos, music, T.V., video games, and advertisements, having had recent successes with MTV, BET, VH1, The CW, and E!, with the goal of funding more record productions and being a philanthropist to give back to arts education programs that are supporting the next generation of creatives.

Additionally, Ryan is putting out a record titled Return to Singularity that features many St. Louis artists, such as Katarra Parson, Tim Moore, Two Cities One World, Owen Ragland, Taynka Mimi, Cheri Evans, Dhoruba Shakur, and Drew Mantia.

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Music in this video created and provided by Ryan Marquez; Song Title: 88 Blessings