A young Caymanian has developed his own niche in the music industry, his own studio, company and clients.
Kyle Ritch, 24, a musician and producer of CayRitch Records, Inc., operating out of DeLand Florida, comes from humble beginnings on island and draws most of his inspiration from family, friends and the experiences they shared.
Songwriting is his passion, and also producing.
“Being a musician that also produces for artists not only allows me to be who I am, but also allows me to be surrounded by other musicians that are just like me,” he says. “I’m working one-on-one with artists, and there is this fantastic sense of cohesion that I rarely find elsewhere. It’s like that old saying ‘birds of a feather flock together.’”
On the other hand, he noted, producers are notoriously under-credited for their work and his story is no different. Far too often, he says, he must re-record some parts that others have done so that the basics are covered, such as tuning or timing. “These tracks then get passed off to the public as original recordings, but everything you’re hearing is me,” he said. “It’s a tough pill to swallow, but I just move forward knowing that my clients are happy.”
Ritch recently released three cover songs on YouTube. His favorite is “Say Something” by A Great Big World. “A very talented friend of mine named Tatiana Lyne took on the female role in the duet and did a fantastic job,” he said.
Ritch says the hardest part of becoming a recording artist “is not only defining your sound and image, but having confidence in yourself. Musicians are essentially putting themselves into their songs, and if you don’t have a lot of confidence in yourself, it will show in the music you create.
“Also, practicing. Recording artists have to implement a rigorous practice regimen,” he says.
He says he works hard, noting that owning and operating your own company comes with a lot of responsibilities. He accommodates artists in his home, so housekeeping and other preparation are necessary.
In addition to recording and producing clients’ material, he negotiates production contracts and collects payments, handling all of the bookkeeping for the company.
Ritch says he works 80 hours a week, helping clients and recruiting new ones, but he adds that his love for his work is what drives him to get up every day.
“Hard work always pays off, and I’m blessed to have my passion be my work.”
Coming from a small country, Ritch said big cities can be overwhelming. He spent almost all of his childhood surrounded by great friends and close family, and when he went to Florida, there was a sense that he had lost his identity. It was only then that he realized how tightly knit his circle was at home, and that it was probably healthy to branch out by meeting new people.
“Ultimately the biggest advantage of making it in a big city is the ability to network, the opportunities, the potential for new relationships and the chance to represent Cayman in a positive light,” he said.
Ritch, the son of David and Valerie Ritch of Ritch and Conolly law firm, attended Montessori preschool and Cayman Prep. In his spare time, he rode his bike around South Sound or played games and built tree forts with friends. He loved to fish, go to the beach, snorkel, and Sailing Club camp.
His grandparents, Warren and Islay Conolly, would sit down with him at family lunches and give timeless life advice, he says. His grandfather was specifically focused on the importance of a good education and being able to contribute positively to society. For this reason, Ritch elected to leave Cayman in 2009 to attend university in Florida. He earned his bachelor’s degree in digital arts with a minor in business law from Stetson University in 2014, and formed his recording business, CayRitch Records, Inc.
During his school years, he learned how to play guitar, bass, piano, drums and violin, and he sang in the school choir. He took some classical lessons but found that he thrived best just learning by ear.
He has one original work on iTunes, which was recorded years ago with poor equipment and before he had any of his current production skills.
His favorite album by another artist is “The Sound of You and Me” by band Yellowcard.
His life now
When Ritch is not recording, he is engaged with peers at Stetson University in DeLand and all of the people he works with: “There’s always something happening,” he says, adding that the studio is about 40 minutes from downtown Orlando and 25 minutes from Daytona Beach, “so there are fun things to do in those places.” He likes to travel and goes on road trips when he has time.
His future plans are to stay the course and see where it leads him.
“Every day is different, every project is unique, and in the music industry, big opportunities can spring up at a moment’s notice,” he says.