The place was already pretty full, the night we walked into St Brigid’s Brewery and sat down at a table. More, still, arrived after us. In the corner, the 27-year-old guy with the tangly hair was setting up his two guitars, one in standard tuning and one tuned to C#. This two-guitar toting solo performer was none other than Rylei Franks.
At first glance, Rylei might appear no more than a young soft-spoken romantic, but the truth is, beneath his mild exterior lies a determination of iron, driven by a passion for music.
“Music’s a hard thing to do,” he says, “I mean just this last month I had like six shows booked and they all called me and had to cancel due to budget cuts and things like that. To get a show it’s like you ask fifty people, and maybe out of those fifty, you get one ‘yes’. And for them to cancel on you–kind of sucks.”
Hard, yes. But it hasn’t been enough to stop him. “I really like music and I’ve always felt like I have a pretty good grasp on song writing. I was just raised that if you believe in something, stick with it, even if it gets hard. If you work hard enough, you’ll get there. And my philosophy for music is, if I work as hard as someone who goes to college, eventually I’ll have the equivalent of a degree.”
It was with this mentality that Rylei grew up, rather sheltered, in the small town of Soap Lake, WA. His childhood partially consisted of band, baseball, and basketball. He also enjoys video games and watching anime. And as with many others who grew up in the surrounding area, Rylei has fond memories, over the years, of birthday parties at Michael’s On The Lake.
But his big adventure really began around 2014 when he played his first show at the Wine Walk event in Moses Lake. It was raining and cold, but he played his Badadada song and everybody was excited about it.
But Rylei’s music hasn’t just floated around Grant County. He has played many venues, ranging from festivals, to Battle of the Bands, and he even played at the Knitting Factory in Spokane. “I played this one song that I have, called Cinderella, and I was like, ‘I don’t have a band, so you guys gotta keep the beat for me!’ Everyone was clapping and I was just like freaking out on the inside. I did Iris for my last song and it was Valentine’s Day, and when I hit the break, I was like, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day!’ and I threw my pick, and all the girls were like, ‘Awww!!’ and I was like, ‘YES!'”
It doesn’t stop there. Rylei has even played as far as New York, when he flew down to visit his sister. He says there was a random opening, so he bought a guitar off Craig’s List. It was like a cheap Wal-Mart guitar with plastic strings, one of which, was missing. “It was so bad. I played up there and everyone was into it; I was like, this is so cool!”
Time will tell where Rylei Franks is headed next, but knowing his passionate determination and love of music, it’s safe to say his direction is steadily upward and onward. So on that note, go check him out, say hi, and tell him Streetz sent you!