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Throwback soul singer Ryan Shaw was born December 26, 1980, in Decatur, Georgia, to a deeply religious family. He began singing in the Pentecostal church when he was only three years old, and took his first solo when he was five. Music, specifically, religious music, continued to be an all-important part of his life, and while he was enrolled at Georgia State University he tried out, and made the cut, for a part in a gospel musical. In 1998 he dropped out of school and joined the cast of Tyler Perry's I Know I've Been Changed, moving to New York to perform, and when the play's run ended, he found work singing old Motown hits and dance songs from the 1950s and '60s (many of which were unfamiliar to Shaw, who had listened to little secular music before leaving Georgia) and as a member of the band the Fabulous Soul Shakers, which he joined in 2004. The group's guitarist, Johnny Gale, convinced his friend Jimmy Bralower to check the young singer out, and in 2006, after being impressed by what he heard, Bralower, a percussionist and producer, invited Shaw and Gale to his home to record a short demo. This got the attention of Columbia, and in 2007 the label issued This Is Ryan Shaw, a collection of covers from artists like Wilson Pickett, Bobby Womack, and Jackie Wilson, as well as some original songs. Following its release, he opened for Van Halen and found additional success with 2010's It Gets Better. His third album, Real Love, appeared on Dynotone in 2012. ~ Marisa Brown