Not to be confused with Ryan Starr, the sex bomb from the first season of American Idol, Ryan Star is a rock singer/songwriter who came to prominence on an entirely different music reality show: the 2006 summer series Rock Star: Supernova. Star was auditioning to front a supergroup containing Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee, ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, and ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke, a position he didn’t win but he earned enough fans during his time on the show to launch a full music career that took off in earnest in 2010 with the release of his major-label debut, 11:59.
Prior to Rock Star: Supernova, Star worked steadily on the margins of the music industry. A native of Long Island, Star began performing as a teenager, notably as part of a group called Stage that wound up releasing an album on Maverick in 2003. The album went nowhere and the band split, with Star pursuing a solo career after the breakup. He released an independent album called Songs from the Eye of an Elephant in 2005, but his first big break came on that 2006 CBS TV show, where he became a favorite of fans and producers, who invited him to perform on the series’ finale. Star had a live album called Dark Horse -- named after host Dave Navarro’s nickname for the contestant -- in 2006, but his post-Rock Star career didn’t take off until 2009, when he opened for American Idol winner David Cook on tour and released the Last Train Home EP on Atlantic Records. The full album 11:59 appeared in the summer of 2010. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine