Ryan Marvel

Fort Collins, USA

Open Space


Behind the Music

The experience of reading The Outlaw Ocean was incredibly eye-opening. Having vacationed on the Texas and California coasts, I’ve always been inspired by the sea’s musical rhythm and its raw power. I remember my parents speaking of the Red Tide on South Padre Island a few years back and how they saw its impacts in the marine life that would wash up on the beach, but my exposure to the issues Ian saw first-hand was limited. This book truly revealed to me the level of lawlessness in international waters, and how humans are involved in that web. I even purchased two copies for my family, and I look forward to having invigorating discussions with them about it. 

Journalism and projects like this bring more awareness to social and environmental justice issues through an innovative artistic lens. It literally opens eyes and ears to those it may not otherwise reach. All of my music is typically composed out of my own personal experiences. Creating songs that emulate the experiences and emotions of others brought a new layer of depth to the music-making process for me that I greatly enjoyed. The collaborative element was rewarding — knowing my contributions were part of a greater picture that enhances the message of The Outlaw Ocean and could bring one more listener, and in turn voice, to bring about change. I hope that more people read Ian’s reporting, and find themselves inspired in some way. I know I certainly am.

Ryan Marvel
About Ryan Marvel

Ryan Marvel is an award-winning composer, pianist and arranger from Colorado.

Ryan frequently concertizes in homes and churches locally and nationally, and is in demand as a guest pianist and conductor. He works as an independent arranger and composer and also maintains a full private piano studio. Current projects include plans for future albums, composing for cello and piano and collaborating with songwriters for studio sessions.

In his spare time, he loves to be outdoors at the ocean, or in the mountains hiking, skiing and camping. His passions include family, wolves, nature, red wine, really good coffee and sleeping until 11:00. Ryan’s true love is his daughter Elena Rose, affectionately called “Lanie.”

The Journalism behind the Music

All music in this project is based on The Outlaw Ocean, a New York Times Best-Selling book by Ian Urbina that chronicles lawlessness at sea around the world. This reporting touches on a diversity of abuses ranging from illegal and overfishing, arms trafficking at sea, human slavery, gun running, intentional dumping, murder of stowaways, thievery of ships and other topics.

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