Maddi Ryan: The College Crooner

We’re sitting under the white lampshade in the back of Pavement Café on Commonwealth Avenue. The yellow-tinged light filters down on us, giving Maddi a glow from within and causing her cheekbones to shimmer.

To me, 20-year-old Maddi Ryan isn’t just the tall, beautiful, contemporary crooner singing at local hot spots around Massachusetts, she’s someone who I share a unique history with.

Credit: Gabriella Messina

In order to fully see Maddi from my perspective, it’s imperative that I describe her from the moment we met which wasn’t in class or even during sorority recruitment. It was during a transfer student orientation.

That rainy and depressing New England day started early at 7 am in Agganis Arena in mid-June.  That morning was spent walking around Boston, taking the T to Newbury St. and getting to know our fellow sophomores and juniors who were transferring to Boston University from other schools.

Credit: Maddi Ryan

I remember bonding with Maddi over our love of going to the gym and we exchanged numbers and hopes to visit FitRec together once school started.

Having spent her freshman year at UMass Lowell, where she was a Sound Recording Technology major, Maddi, now a junior, realized that she wasn’t that interested in “music in a classroom setting.”

“I wanted to switch to a major that was more versatile in the entertainment industry,” Maddi said. “I didn’t want to be in something that would pigeon-hole me.”

At the same time, Maddi also wanted the “atmosphere of the city,” and thus applied to Boston College, Northeastern, and Boston University, all of which she was accepted into.

Ultimately, it was the way that BU is integrated into the city, the fact that she has friends already studying here, and the superior communication school that BU has that brought Maddi to BU.

“The location has been the most beneficial because it’s in the city, it’s the hub of so many things that I don’t have to go that far to get in touch with people,” Maddi said. “It’s also so easy for shows to just take my guitar on the T and I’m there!”

And since coming to BU, Maddi hasn’t stopped performing. Being a full-time student and a full-time musician presents its challenges for Maddi, who has played close to 300 shows in the past two years.

With weekends and Friday nights devoted to performing a mix of covers and her own music at bars and venues around Boston, it can be difficult for Maddi to balance a hectic music career, school work, time with friends, and an internship.

Credit: Maddi Ryan

“I’m a little crazy,” Maddi said, laughing. “I always need to be doing something.” And she certainly keeps herself busy. Studying Mass Communications, Maddi also has an internship with a Boston based entertainment lawyer.

“I hope to go into entertainment law,” says Maddi who hopes that a background in the field will compliment her music career. “Being exposed to the contracts and even the artists themselves has helped me grow as a musician myself.”

Recently Maddi has played venues from fairs, to bars, to restaurants, and even the streets of Boston. Credit: Maddi Ryan

In the future, Maddi looks forward to being able to see her other musician friends perform in bars.

“I’ve met a lot of other great musicians at the shows I’ve played and at some of the open-mics I’ve done,” Maddi said. “We all kind of find a way of flocking to one another somehow, which is great.”


With her upbeat and bubbly personality and her impressive talent, Maddi Ryan is someone you’ll want to see. To stay updated on all of her shows and to see some the highlights of her performances, you can follow Maddi at @maddiryanmusic on Instagram.


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