Detroit — Ryan J. VanOver’s life as a student at Detroit Mercy Law is a far cry from his previous persona as professional musician by the name of Ty Stone, whose brand of southern rock/country music was discovered by Kid Rock.
“High-level music requires riding in a bus, plane, or van all day long, different hotels every night, a fixation on vocal health, and numerous other daily activities not nearly as glamorous as you might think — it’s brutal and exhausting most of the time,” VanOver said. “Law school is similarly difficult and exhausting, but I’ve never worked harder than when on tour.
In his undergrad years at Kenyon College in Ohio, VanOver’s plan was to attend law school, pursue a career in law, and eventually get into politics.
Then music, a passion from childhood, took over. He began playing guitar, singing, and writing songs and in his senior year, entered and won a Battle of the Bands, his first real “gig.”
After graduation, VanOver put the scales of justice on the back burner in favor of musical scales.
After several years, and a fortuitous layoff from Great Lakes Steel, he headed to Los Angeles, where he flipped hamburgers at a Rock ‘n’ Roll bar named Molly Malone’s pub, and followed his musical passion every day for two years — “One of the greatest times in my life,” he said.
Then fate stepped in. A friend got front-row tickets for the Detroit Pistons that would be near Kid Rock’s seats, ran into Rock and gave him Stone’s CDs.
Not only did Kid Rock come out to L.A. to catch one of VanOver’s shows, he offered to sign him to his Top Dog Label. VanOver jumped at the opportunity — and has since played 140 arena and stadium shows with Kid Rock, including Ford Field, Comerica Park, Joe Louis Arena, DTE, and the Palace of Auburn Hills, and was the opening act for Kid Rock’s “Live Trucker” tour.
Subsequently signed to Atlantic Records, VanOver debuted a national single, “American Style,” as well as a video that reached No. 1 on CMT.com.
“The experience was every dream and fantasy of mine come true — including that I was able to touch many lives through my music and my story,” he says.
A full-time student at Detroit Mercy Law, he says he has loved his studies since Day One. In a few months, he will work as a summer associate at Dykema.
“I’m excited to see how much I can learn, and to distinguish myself as a legal professional,” VanOver said.