Out of the South Bay Los Angeles area comes a solo artist with a smooth and soulful style all his own. Gonzo, born Ryan Gonzalez, blends a wide variety of musical influences and love-inspired messages to create a unique sound he refers to as “Roots-Reggae-Soul.” Within the last few years, his talent has been widely recognized on several levels within the reggae community, opening incredible opportunities for the roots musician still in the young stages of his career.

PHOTO BY: Sean Mccracken

Best known for having a suave approach to delivering lyrics expressing his love of women and good ganja, Gonzo’s musical roots run back to when he was just a child. Inspired by his father’s encouragement to become a musical artist at a young age, Gonzo grew up in a household listening to Motown, Classic Rock, Oldies, Salsa, R&B, and Soul. At the age of fifteen he began playing guitar, adding another element in his musical journey. The young musician soon linked up with some high school friends to form his first band, now widely known as Fortunate Youth.

On July 1st, 2011, Fortunate Youth released their debut album, Irie State of Mind, with Gonzo as the lead guitarist and one of two lead vocalists. After two national tours in support of the album, Gonzo parted ways with FY to embark on his solo career. The newly independent artist wasted no time making a name for himself and in December of 2012, Gonzo delivered his first full-length album, Rocksteady, to the masses.

With Beyond I Sight as his “go-to” backing band, Gonzo immediately hit the road to promote his debut solo effort. Soon after, San Diego’s Tribal Seeds offered him the position of lead guitarist and back up vocalist for the highly respected band touring year-round out of Southern California. Following a few nationwide tours alongside Tribal Seeds, several solo shows up and down the west coast with Beyond I Sight, and his own set at the annual California Roots Music and Arts Festival in 2014, Gonzo released his second full-length as an independent artist.

His sophomore album, Red, was officially released on June 3rd, 2014, and hit #6 on the Billboard reggae charts. Red and Rocksteady were both produced at Imperial Sound Recording Studio by fellow roots musician and Tribal Seeds member, E.N Young. Released under E.N’s Roots Musician Records label, the albums both reached #1 in the iTunes reggae category and continue to be a great representation of Gonzo’s talent as an independent artist. Gonzo’s solo act made its nationwide debut on the Representing Fall Tour 2014 as he doubled up with an opening solo set backed by Beyond I Sight and finishing off each night showcasing his top-level guitar skills on stage with Tribal Seeds.

To this day, Gonzo continues to tour relentlessly around the nation with Tribal Seeds while seeking any opportunities to showcase his solo talent when his busy schedule allows. Most recently, he has been invited out to the Hawaiian Islands for a run of shows with island natives, Inna Vision and The Steppas. He also just premiered the music video for “Runnin’” off the Red album.

One of the most sought out independent artists in the reggae scene, Gonzo has collaborated and written hit songs with Tribal Seeds, Fortunate Youth, E.N Young, Leilani Wolfgramm, Tomorrows Bad Seeds, Sono Vero and more. The young musician has already accomplished many great things in his short career and plans to stay non-stop for as long as his talent allows. Make sure to catch Gonzo coming to a city near you! 

- By David.G