Jesse Rya
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Jesse Rya

Dallas, TX | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

Dallas, TX | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Solo Pop Acoustic


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs



Jaime Tatos Maldonado was visiting a Dallas-area supermarket when he encountered a street musician playing guitar and singing an original composition, and he decided to take his phone out and film it. He didn’t expect that he was in for “literally the craziest weekend of [his] life” at the time.

Maldonado ended up capturing a special moment: the musician on the guitar was singer-songwriter Jesse Rya, and just out of the frame at the beginning of the recording is a man in a Philadelphia 76ers jersey, who steps forward and begins accompanying Rya on vocals a minute into the video. Rya begins riffing on lyrics that the man—later identified as Irving resident Howard Mullins—improvises, singing “Tell ’em that I just don’t know” as a refrain. After another minute, another man in a neon green utility vest approaches the supermarket, then decides to stay and enjoy the jam session. The man—whose name is Ron Lashley—sings along with Rya and Mullins for a minute, then drops a nice freestyle. The trio wind down the song after that, and Lashley says to the other two, “I needed that one, man, I appreciate that,” before entering the store.

It’s a nice moment for a few reasons—the primary one being that the song that the three men make up on the spot is pretty good. But it also has some real magic of improvisation to it, the sort of thing that feels like a clip from a movie, but isn’t. (It helps that Maldonado held his phone sideways, to capture the full frame.) There’s a pure joy of music to the three men playing together, and it clearly struck a chord: At the moment, the video has nearly 6,000,000 views on YouTube, and Maldonado—who’s been updating viewers on the experience of going viral on the Internet via his Facebook page—has presumably been swimming in media requests. Rya, meanwhile, used his social media page to explain that the video was not a setup:

Thanx to everyone for sharing my video, and thanks to the person who recorded this. Just for the record… it’s not a Jimmy Kimmel setup and I do not know the other 2 gentlemen in the video. You would be surprised how much music flows in the streets of DFW!

Some media outlets have been skeptical, of course—we’ve all been burned by credulousness in the past—with the UK’s Metro story on the video putting the words “busker” and “strangers” in scare quotes, but we’re choosing to take Rya’s word for it. Especially because, in the days following the video’s viral blow-up, Maldonado has been actively using his Facebook page to track down and identify Mullins and Lashley—which would be a strange smokescreen if this were all a set-up.

At any rate, the video’s success on YouTube looks to be translating to at least some real-world success, as well: Maldonado this morning updated his Facebook page to tag himself, Rya, Mullins, and Lashley all together at DFW Airport, on their way to LAX. Presumably, the trio are going to be on someone’s talk show later this week, and hopefully that appearance will involve another performance.

All of that will be fun to watch, though the more time the three men spend together, the less magic there may be in the moment: the fact that all three men were strangers who happened to convene at the same Kroger as part of the course of their daily lives is what makes the video so compelling, and their admiration for the moment and the music they’re making together is what’s so inspiring about it. The video captures a moment of everyday connection and creativity. Now, perhaps we’ll see if Rya, Mullins, and Lashley can continue to capture that as the Internet watches.

Tags: Art, Media, Music, Screens, dallas, Music, viral videos, web video

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Each week, we take a survey of the local music scene and try to determine which acts in town are really putting in work and seeing it pay off. Which bands have the most intriguing shows coming up? Which bands are getting the most press around town? Which bands have accomplished the most notable feats of late? Based off these criteria, our music writers submit a list to be weighted and compiled into a master list revealed each week in this here space. We like to think it's fairly revealing. Check out our previous Buzz Rankings here.

Though North Texas musician Jesse Rya was a completely unknown entity this time last week, he now finds himself alone at the top of our weekly rankings of the buzzing-est acts in town.

But with the whirlwind week that the guy's had, we sincerely doubt that this is even close to the coolest thing that happened to him the last several days.

Not by a long shot.

It was pretty awesome to begin with when one of his recent busking sessions outside a local grocery store caught the ear of a passerby to the extent that he felt compelled to film it. And, from there, things only kept getting more awesome for Rya: More passersby were so taken with Rya's jamming they began improvising along with him. If that weren't cool enough, the video racked up several million plays online. Then, a few days later, Rya found himself performing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! show alongside the likes of Juicy J, Trey Songz and Aloe Blacc.

We'd say that's about as successful a busking session as there is.

We also doubt that this is the last time Rya will find his way into this list, especially considering some of the acts he beat out to land the top spot.

Parquet Courts was the subject of a much talked-about and rather lengthy feature this week on Grantland. Meanwhile, the band's fellow Dallas transplant in New York, St. Vincent, confused a whole hell of a lot of folks with her super awesome Saturday Night Live performances last weekend.

It was also quite a weekend for Symbolyc One and Sarah Jaffe, who won a Billboard Music Award for Top Rap Album thanks to their work on last year's Eminem LP. Jaffe also announced that her next LP will be released on August 19.

Moving on, several other acts earned their spots on the list thanks to their inclusion on big music festivals -- and much like last week's rankings, actually. To that end, A.Dd+, Sam Lao, The Orbans and Dustin Cavazos will appear at this weekend's Panther Island Pavilion-set Radfest. It was also announced earlier this week that Blue, the Misfit and his fellow kinda-locals King Diamond and This Will Destroy You will perform at this fall's Fun Fun Fun Fest. Likewise, Neon Indian, Brave Combo, -topic, A.Dd+, and Blue, the Misfit were among some of the bigger names playing this fall's Oaktopia Fest, which was also announced this week.

Of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't also mention that Quaker City Night Hawks, Somebody's Darling and Goodnight Ned are playing this month's Red Bull Sound Select show, which goes down tonight at Three Links.

(Also receiving votes this week: Oil Boom, War Party, Brave Young Lion, Johnny McNabb, Pat Green, Tunk, Cutter, Booty Fade, Hares on the Mountain, Bravo, Max!, Chambers, Brave Combo, Thomas AllEn, Neon Indian, Blackstone Rangers, Toadies, Jackopierce, Panther Robe, Home by Hovercraft, Son of Stan, Madison King, Seryn, Ronnie Fauss, Mystery Skulls, Catamaran, Henry The Archer, Mountain of Smoke, TEAM*.)

Buzz Rankings: 5/22. - Cory

Cobwebs everywhere! I am dusting, and I have soooo many links and sooo many books to talk about and, well, I will be trying to get to them. To start with is a viral music video that is one of those, “this is why it’s neat to have an Internet” things.

Dallas-based musician and songwriter Jesse Rya, who has played at the Dallas House of Blues and other clubs, was one particular afternoon busking outside a Kroeger’s Drugstore while working and riffing on his song, “Sometimes, I Just Don’t Know.” Jaime Tatos Maldonado, a new manager of the nearby dollar store and big music fan, liked the playing and started to film Rya with his phone camera. It just so happened that another Dallas singer musician, Howard Mullins, was also on that street and he also liked Rya’s song, so he started, with Rya’s encouragement, to come in on improvised accompaniment. That was cool enough, but this drugstore is clearly a popular one for musicians and rapper-singer Ron Lashley, who was headed into the drugstore, trilled a little with them and was encouraged by Mullins, Rya and Maldonado to chime in. He added a rap, whose first line I love: “I don’t really know what’s going on here.”

Maldonado got the whole improvised jam on his phone and he naturally put it up on his Facebook page. His friends started sharing it and the video quickly went up on YouTube and such and went viral, with Maldonado getting deluged and having to contact Rya and find the other two singers.

The news media also hunted them down and the story spread.

A lot of people thought it was a set-up, rather than a fortuitous accident, and some of them contacted Jimmy Kimmel, who has been known to do this sort of Internet hoax thing for his late night show. Kimmel had nothing to do with it, but he knows a good thing when he sees it. Before Ellen DeGenneres could snatch them up for her show, he brought all four men out to L.A., and the trio performed the song again on his show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, with added accompaniment from Kimmel’s house band and several guests, including my fave Aloe Blaac. It was a pleasant, if chaotic performance.

Here’s hoping that all the uproar does nice things for the three men’s careers. As for Maldonado, he seems to be a good guy having a lot of fun with helping them out and celebrating music with the world Internet. Maybe someone should hire him as a talent spotter.

It’s a reminder of how many great performers and creators are out there and it’s nice that the Internet gives us a chance to see some of them.

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1 Comment
Filed under Music
Tagged as Howard Mullins, Internet videos, Jaime Tatos Maldonado, Jesse Rya, music, music video, Ron Lashley
One response to “Music is a Wondrous Thing”
Jaime Maldonado
October 21, 2014 at 2:00 PM
I would like to thank you for this article

Reply -

This is a segment of Jesse Rya, Ron and Howard being featured on the news. They call themselves "Three Random Guys"! Also they mentioned a digital version of that song "Tell Them That I Just Don't Know" will be available soon. - Dan Solomon

Recently three strangers joined together for an impromptu collaboration that resulted in beautiful music. That very moment was captured on video by a bystander and has since went viral landing the musical trio on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

The video was originally uploaded by Jaime Maldonado, who was in place to capture the magical moment.

“I was walking to [the grocery store] and saw this guy playing a song. It sounded good so I decided to record it.” Maldonado wrote on Facebook. “By the end of the song three guys started jamming. This truly is music in its simplest form.”

The traveling musician, Jesse Rya, and the rest of the musical trio were invited to perform “Just Don’t Know” in front of a live audience where they were accompanied by a live band and surprised with appearances by Trey Songz, Aloe Blacc and Juicy J. - Meredith Seay

A street musician was playing his guitar outside a Texas grocery store when something unexpected happened: two passers-by stopped and joined him for an impromptu performance.

Footage of the magical moment, uploaded to Facebook by an individual who witnessed the scene, has since taken the Internet by storm, achieving over 2 million views on YouTube in just days.

“I was walking to Kroger and saw this guy playing a song,” said Jaime Tatos Maldonado, who uploaded the video earlier this month. “It sounded good so I decided to record it.”

“By the end of the song three guys started jamming,” he continued. “This truly is music in its simplest form.”

Viewers on YouTube overwhelmingly agree.

“This is truly beautiful,” one individual commented.

“Wow,” echoed another.

The guitarist, Jesse Rya, later turned to Facebook to describe footage of the scene going viral.

“Sooo, some people recorded me jammin [sic], while some other pople felt the vibes,” he wrote. “Then s*** got real!”

Rya also responded to accusations that the video was a staged stunt.

“Just for the record,” he wrote, “it’s not a Jimmy Kimmel setup and I do not know the other two gentlemen in the video. You would be surprised how much music flows in the streets of DFW!”

“I know it blow my 2 [sic]!” Rya added.

This post has been updated to include additional information.

(H/T: Daily Dot)

Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter - Oliver Darcy

An impromptu jam session in Dallas, Texas, has prompted a flurry of questions from truthers around the Web. Jaime Tatos Maldonado uploaded a video to his Facebook page of a scene he caught outside of a Kroger supermarket. It appears that all three men involved in the performance are complete strangers. As one man, local musician Jesse Rya, strums on his guitar, two other men join in and start singing a song, adding in their own words to make a beautiful harmony.

And of course, Internet fame never comes without controversy. Commenters on the video are crying foul, writing things like: "Obviously staged, still good, just don't lie about it." and "So staged, can clearly see they practiced all the lyrics to the song never missed a word."

Another person thought the third man’s entrance to the jam session seemed a little too choreographed. Rya took to Facebook to dispel the rumors, writing: "just for the record... It's not a Jimmy Kimmel setup and i do not know the other 2 gentlemen in the video."

Viewers aren't all doubters though. One person wrote, "This just fills me with inspiration and joy," while another added, "why is a 30yo man in the reflection of my screen smiling and crying at the same time? go figure."

Now the only question that remains is: When can we buy this track on iTunes?

What do you guys think? Totally random collaboration? Or a staged performance? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter. - Mia Fitzharris


Still working on that hot first release.



Jesse Ryan Hillard (born August 27th 1989), professionally known as Jesse Rya, is a talented singer/songwriter/guitarist who takes his listeners on a journey through a musical world of inspiration and joy. Jesse was born and raised in Thomasville, North Carolina where he spent most of his time playing singing and playing his guitar outside of different venues and stores.

Jesse moved to Irving, TX  where his vocals and talent was recognized by WGR Management. Jesse began to perform at different venues such as the Prophet Bar, House of Blues, and …..

In May of 2014, Jesse was singing and playing his guitar in front of a Kroger in Irving as usual when he was recorded and joined by two other singers. The video "Amazing Jam Session-Three Random Guys" was posted on Youtube and went viral immediately. It generated 13 million views in just 6 days. This was the turning point of Jesse's music career. Jesse was a guest and performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live along with guest artists Trey Songs, Juicy J, and Aloe Blacc.

Jesse is currently working on his album. The album is due to be released in 2016.