This month, he’s getting re-featured here! People of Port Arthur is always more than happy to post news after its already been published. It’s like, sloppy seconds, but less vulgar.
There’s something magical about going behind the scenes of amazing music. Ryan MacDonald plays guitar and does lead vocals for The Honest Heart Collective; he’s also the force behind Lionheart Studios on Red River Road.
Ryan was born and raised in Thunder Bay but left briefly for Ottawa where he completed the Music Industry Arts program at Algonquin College. While there, he attended a Bruce Springsteen concert and knew then that’s what he wanted to do. He says that amazing experience was the foundation upon which he’s built his musical career.
After graduating in 2012, Ryan moved home to Thunder Bay and focused on growing the band he had started and searching for a studio space.
When he found a space in the upper level of 215 Red River Road, he saw potential. Walking through the maze of hallways and elevators was daunting. It’s a bit dark and smells like an abandoned library. But the moment the door opens into Lionheart Studios, the dynamic is transformed. It smells faintly of wood; the black and white and earth-tones paired with soft lighting instantly makes it feel warm and inviting.
Upon opening the door, there is a little living room area across from the mixing equipment. A big window offers a clear view into the rehearsal/recording space. The walls are covered with equipment; guitars and other instruments are plentiful. It’s hard to believe these two classy and cozy rooms used to be tacky and full of old hair salon equipment.
Ryan and his younger brother, who plays guitar in The Honest Heart Collective, began renovating, “We worked twelve hour days. Every day for a month we went to Home Depot. I spent more money than I’d ever spent in my entire life!”
I think it’s worth mentioning here, that Ryan and his brother bought sausages at the stand outside of Canadian Tire every single day after Home Depot.
The Honest Heart Collective recorded and mixed their very first album at Lionheart Studios. In the years since, Ryan has been able to help so many musicians with their recordings. The recording floor is also the main rehearsal space for the band. This warm space full of love and joy and music is easily one of the most welcomed surprises in Thunder Bay.
Be sure to visit their Facebook page to keep up-to-date with all the exciting musical news.
In his spare time, Ryan enjoys having a few beers with his friends, hanging out with his girlfriend and occasionally working-out to prep for summers full of touring and recording.
Thank you for talking to me Ryan! It was an honour.