Bianca Ryan was the first winner of ‘America’s Got Talent’ at just 11 years old. She is now 23 and in better shape than ever starring in the Broadway show ‘Home for the Holidays’ just a year after having paralyzed vocal cords, which required surgery. CelebMix sat down with the gifted singer to discuss ‘Home for the Holidays’, Christmas time, and her future plans.
CM: First of all, congratulations on ‘Home for the Holidays’! What can you tell us about the show?
Bianca Ryan: It’s a holiday concert featuring myself, Candice Glover (American Idol Winner), and Josh Kaufman (The Voice Winner). We have special guest performances from Peter Hollens and his wife Evynne who are more than popular on YouTube and Kaitlyn Bristowe from the Bachelorette. We get some really nice sentimental stories from Danny Aiello as well and he’s a legend! Together we sing songs, solos, duos, trios, etc, tell stories, get the audience up on their feet and enjoy a festive holiday concert that is sure to get you, your family, and the kids up on their feet and in the holiday spirit. It’s so much fun! We also have a killer band as well and an amazing horn section of musicians who’ve played with Beyoncé to Meghan Trainor – It’s killer.
CM: The cast is quite impressive – have you learned anything from working with the other performers?
Bianca Ryan: Oh, I’ve already learned so much! We’ve all been developing over the rehearsal period and now the first few shows that have happened. We’ve learned so much and have improved in such little time. I haven’t performed live like this in a while as you may know from a few health complications over the last year, unfortunately, so I was definitely a bit nervous and a bit shy but each night I grow more and more into myself! I’ve definitely improved in a lot of my harmonies and stage presence from singing with everyone!
CM: What is your favorite number from ‘Home for the Holidays’?
Bianca Ryan: Oh, that’s so hard! I sing “Baby Please Come Home” in a medley and I have so much fun singing that one. It’s super upbeat and definitely one of my favorite Christmas Songs of all time. I used to jam out to that song on the radio now I’m singing it in a concert on Broadway for tons of people! Crazy!
CM: What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
Bianca Ryan: I really hope they just take away the Holiday Spirit! It’s really not your typical show; it’s incredibly unique. The amount of talent on that stage is insane. I’m truly blessed and honored to be a part of it all. I want the kids and the parents and anyone who comes in to really just take away the spirit and the fun from the show and be singing Christmas music all the way home. It’s really a great time!
CM: What is your favorite thing about the holiday season?
Bianca Ryan: Danny Aiello talks about this in the show but what he says is, “No one feels old at Christmas Time. It’s like the fountain of youth.” And it’s really true. I love that during the holidays no one feels old and everyone can believe in the spirit and family members come back together and there’s tradition. I think we’d all be happier if it would be Christmas every day and we could carry those traditions like family time and family dinners and good positive energy throughout the year.
CM: You won the first season of ‘America’s Got Talent’, what has been your proudest accomplishment since then?
Bianca Ryan: Wow. My proudest accomplishment is that I was able to start so young, and still never lose my love for music in such a crazy industry. This music industry has definitely turned some people crazy! [Laughs] But I have lasted over 10 years now and I’m still young and going and hopeful for the future and all of the things I have coming up! This show has definitely been an accomplishment. I have always wanted to perform on Broadway – and now I’m having my debut starring as myself! It’s crazy, I feel so blessed.
CM: Going back to the health issues you mentioned: Last year, you had a virus, which paralyzed your vocal cords and there was a risk of you never being able to sing again. How did you find strength during that time?
Bianca Ryan: This was a very, very hard time for me. I cried for weeks. Literally. I can’t lie.. it was very, very hard to find the strength again to keep going and to keep my passion for music and to still believe that singing was my destiny in life. I started to think that maybe this was God and the universe telling me that singing wasn’t my calling and where I was meant to be in life. But as I went through the surgery and started to heal and started to feel stronger than ever, I can only believe that I was supposed to go through that pain so that I could appreciate all of the highs to come soon after! You know, maybe everything was given to me too soon and too easily. I was 11 when I won AGT. Maybe these episodes were a way of showing me true pain before I could experience absolute happiness! Either way, I’m so grateful for everything I have.
CM: Do you have a person you look up to? Both in your career and in your personal life.
Bianca Ryan: Oh my gosh. I look up to so many people. Career-wise, I have always looked up to the legends like Whitney Houston, Jennifer Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, you name it!
CM: What are your plans after ‘Home for the Holidays’?
Bianca Ryan: I should have a music video for my new single, “Don’t Wanna Come Down” releasing shortly after. Along with some new music! I also should potentially be starting a new mini-tour. I’m not sure of what cities or all the details but it should be so exciting! My plans are to just take things one step at a time! In just 10 months, I went from bed rest to Broadway. I don’t know how I did it, but I did! So I’m just enjoying each step as it comes my way and want to share my story with other singers to give them hope and to have them take the precautions on their voice that I may have been able to!
For a chance to see Bianca Ryan in ‘Home for the Holidays’ click here.