American singer/songwriter William Ryan Key built a career as the frontman of the early-2000s pop-punk band Yellowcard before going solo after the group disbanded in 2017. Over the course of nearly 20 years, Key and Yellowcard scored a pair of Top Ten albums with 2006’s Lights and Sounds and 2012’s Southern Air, also receiving platinum certification for their breakthrough, 2003’s Ocean Avenue. In 2018, Key kicked off a solo career with his debut EP, Thirteen, which was released on his Lone Tree Recordings label.
Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, Key learned piano and guitar as a child. While attending Florida State University, he dropped out to chase his musical dreams in Santa Cruz, California. After a brief stint with punk group Craig’s Brother, he returned to Florida. The move would prove fortuitous, however, when he was recruited to sing backing vocals on Yellowcard’s first effort. After Yellowcard parted with their original vocalists, Key assumed those responsibilities and remained their frontman for two decades. The band released ten albums, including their major-label debut, Ocean Avenue (2003), and their self-titled goodbye, Yellowcard (2016). After Yellowcard played their final show together on March 22, 2017, Key began a new chapter as a solo artist.
While still with Yellowcard, Key had already pursued solo projects during the band’s off-time. In addition to a side project dubbed Big If, he also worked with Assemble the Skyline, Taboo of Black Eyed Peas, Silverstein, and Like Torches. In 2015, he started his own Lone Tree Recordings label. A year after Yellowcard ended, he joined New Found Glory on tour, opening their shows and joining them during their sets as an extra player. His first single, “Vultures,” found its way onto his debut EP, Thirteen (named after his particularly difficult 2013), which was co-produced by Saves the Day’s Arun Bali. The stripped-down acoustic set was inspired by Ben Folds, Ryan Adams, Explosions in the Sky, and Mogwai, bearing close resemblance to Bright Eyes and Death Cab for Cutie. ~ Neil Z. Yeung, Rovi