Songwriter, record producer, publisher, record label executive and multi-instrumentalist Michael James Ryan, known professionally as busbee, died Sunday at the age of 43.
His death was confirmed by his music publisher and, though no cause was given, Ryan had reportedly been recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Born in Walnut Creek in 1976, Ryan began playing music when he was seven years old, later marching with the Concord Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps and going on to a musical career that saw him paired with many of the biggest names in Rock and Country music.
He was prized as an edgy, boundary-pushing studio collaborator in Nashville, where he maintained creative relationships with Maren Morris, Lady Antebellum, Keith Urban and Carly Pearce, among others.
His work on behalf of Morris’ 2016 major-label debut album “Hero” helped the album earn Grammy nomination for best country album as well as a best country song nomination for “My Church,” which he co-wrote.
Asked about his musical style busbee told an interviewer: ““I’m not a purist,” the producer said of his style. “Whatever the song needs is what it needs. And if it feels right? It is.”
He moved to Los Angeles in 2000, writing songs for everyone from the Backstreet Boys to Toni Braxton, as well as a number of breakout artists.
Services have yet to be determined.