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Meet Rhyan D’Errico

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rhyan D’Errico.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have always had an innate love for music. My mom constantly played classical music for me when I was a baby, and she got me some basic piano lessons when I was only a few years old. My ex-stepfather is a musician, and I was constantly surrounded by music as a kid. I remember always being the only one of my friends and family who noticed the music in movies and video games, and I always loved it! I always had a deep love for film as well, I even remember kids in school teasing me about it.

I distinctly remember the moment I decided I wanted to really seriously learn piano. I was sitting in my sixth grade English teacher’s room, and she had a cassette of Mozart that she put on to play. I thought “How does he play that many notes with only two hands? I have to know how to do this!”. I begged my mom to let me start up piano lessons again, and after promising that I wouldn’t give it up, she got me more lessons. I studied with Carol Arias, a person I’ll never forget. She instilled in me the love of music that I’ll have for the rest of my life.

Around fourteen, I starting composing my own piano pieces, Carol encouraged me and helped me learn the basics of music composition. She arranged several recitals in malls, schools, retirement homes, and even charity events where I got to showcase my original piano works. Writing my own music felt so fulfilling, I knew that’s what I had to do.

As my love for music grew, I realized that the movies I watched growing up all had to have composers who wrote those scores I loved so much. I got music software and started scoring scenes from movies, TV shows, even commercials. Anything I could find online. I just practiced film scoring before I even knew the term “film scoring”. My love for both music and film just fell perfectly into place.

I then attended Cal State Northridge, where I had wonderful mentors like Elizabeth Sellers and William Malpede who helped me hone my abilities as a composer. I also studied with one of the greatest musical minds I’ve ever met, Gary Pratt. He pushed me to be the best musician I could be, and his instruction will stay with me for the rest of my life.

I then went on to work for Mark Watters, a film composer who is nothing short of a genius. Working with him gave me insight and drive to pursue my music career with vigor I had never felt before. I am eternally thankful for my time with him.

Ever since college, I’ve been working full time in the music industry. I’ve scored a plethora of films, worked on TV shows and video games. I constantly get to collaborate with my friends on various projects and make new friends along the way, which may be what I love most about music. I am always excited about what the future holds and how I continue to grow as a musician and composer.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Oh definitely not, there are always struggles to overcome. This is an incredibly difficult industry to be successful in. The key is truly loving what you do. The passion has to be there, you have to have that love of music to carry you through the tough times.

I’ve always said, I truly believe anyone on earth can be a good musician. There’s no innate talent that you need, the passion for it is what you need. Otherwise, it’s just too difficult. Sometimes the work dries up, or you can’t find that footing you need, or you feel like you can’t make connections and network like you need to do. Sometimes it feels like nothing you do is working. Throughout all that, what keeps me going is just my love of music. The drive to make it work no matter what.

One of my friends told me something I’ll never forget. He said, “You can’t fail in music, you can only quit”. There is so much truth in that. If you persevere through the hard times, you will find success. I truly believe that.

Can you give our readers some background on your music?
I specialize in music composition, though I’ve worn many hats in music. I worked as an orchestrator, arranger, programmer, sound designer, sample developer, pianist, and more.

My favorite thing is crafting thematically driven scores. Music that has compelling themes and evokes a visceral emotional response from the viewer. That’s the kind of music that has always spoken to me.

I would say I’m most proud of the projects I’ve been the lead composer on. I’ve scored a plethora of films, including the recently released film “Hard Kill,” starring Bruce Willis. That was a huge honor and a truly incredible experience. I worked on season six of Veep as the lead orchestrator, and I was recently asked to contribute music for the sequel to the popular Taiwanese video game “Deemo”.

I also started a company with a few friends of mine called “Red Eyes Studios”. We work together creating music for video games, commercials, trailers and more. I’m extremely proud of having gotten that company off the ground and working.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck is certainly a key factor in it. There is a lot of “right place, right time” that’s involved in getting gigs and work. My strategy is to constantly be engaged, constantly network, and constantly put myself out there. The opportunities are there, you just have to make yourself available to them.

I kind of view it like whack-a-mole. You never know which hole the mole is going to pop out of, or when. But if you are hitting every hole as fast as you can, without fear of failing or being wrong, eventually you’ll get it. It’s a silly metaphor, but it’s how I view “luck”.

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