Ryan States was born in Chicago and grew up in Flossmoor. He has toured nine years with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey in the circus band. He has performed over 3000 shows in the Ringling Brothers band for millions of circus fans in sold out arenas from LA’s Staples Center to Chicago's United Center and Houston's Reliant Stadium. Recordings of his playing have been heard on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox and Friends, national parade broadcasts, DVDs, and commercials.
States has a project studio in his living quarters on the train where he lives. He is a multi-instrumentalist who collaborates with other musicians both in person and long-distance via the internet. Strange Town is the first album ever made on a train.
He has appeared on Queer Voices (Pacifica Radio Houston), This Way Out, The Dallas Voice, The Chicago Tribune Redeye, OutRadio, and Mashable. States was a nominee in the 2014 Pensado Awards and the 2013 RightOut TV awards, along with being a presenter.
States' background began as a piano accompanist. He studied at the University of North Texas under Dr. Jack Roberts, Head of the piano department. His teacher/student 'lineage' traces back to Franz Liszt. He has gigged in musical theater, cover bands and toured as a sub with Vince Vance & the Valients.
His older brothers were deejays in Chicago in the '80s. At age thirteen States worked as a roadie and then began running the board. Soon he was booking his own school dances, private parties and wedding receptions.