Rie Daisies – with a name reminiscent of some long-lost fairyland princess – is a composer and lyricist who hails from Michigan. A phenomenally gifted musician – who can expertly play a veritable litany of instruments, from the flute to the piano – and lyricist, she has achieved great success in both her avatars. She has released several EPs, and is currently working on her first full-length album. She is the author of songs like "Atarving The Beast" and "Don't Make Me Wait." She also recorded "People Passing (I Cry)" written by her grandmother.
Although all her released work has been self-produced, her music has made a tremendous impact on the international music scene (though of course, nowhere near the kind of presence that mainstream artists have), and her most recent EP was recorded by experts in the field.
But, that is just a small part of the story, because Rie Daisies is not just Rie Daisies – she is also Ryan, and has played an instrumental role in unveiling the presence of the transgender (or gender-variant) community in the music scene. Her story is – to put it in hackneyed prose – one of perseverance and enduring hope, and ultimately, that tremendous hunger for music. It offers significant insights into the journey of a gender-variant student who wanted – nay, needed – music in his/her life, and battled his/her way through numerous unspoken social obstacles to grab music with both hands; it also tells us how Ryan became Rie Daisies.
Rie Daisies has been garbed in a multitude of cloaks in the course of her still-short life. She has been a model and a hairdresser, both villain, martyr and hero of her story, and indelibly and always, Ryan.
Rie’s talent and love for music have been apparent ever since she was small, and while she had to struggle to discover herself and grow comfortable in her own skin, it was always clear to her that music was her future.
In the sixth grade, Ryan began cross-dressing and announced that he was gay. While his family was supportive, the school community’s response was hostile. Ryan was eventually forced out of public education, ending his participation in the school’s accomplished band and choir program. As a homeschooled student, Ryan used composition as an emotional outlet and a means of introspection.
In the beginning, Ryan was ridiculed and targeted as gay, and it was admittedly, difficult. Nobody knew what to do with the prodigiously talented (musically, that is), rebellious, cross-dressing, apparently gay boy, and both the school authorities and the adults took the easy way out – of turning a mostly-blind eye to things – while his compatriots did what kids tend to do best – ridicule anything and anyone that stands out.
Middle school offered him more of a haven, in the form of enthusiastic and serious music classes, where the only real concern was music – the question of his gender was never actively dealt with during these music sessions. But then, the harassment outside the music sessions had started to leave its mark – Ryan had quite a few meltdowns, and trips to the principal’s office became frequent. Very soon, things reached an impasse and Ryan began being homeschooled. This was also the time in which she preferred to be known as Rie.
But then, slowly, things turned around – she discovered an LGBT support program that proved to be tremendously helpful, and her parents, always supportive, found a local church that offered a home school program. Rie thrived in this environment; playing the church’s piano, producing copious amounts of written work, and generally, growing into herself.
Eventually songwriting became a medium through which she could share her feelings and experiences with others.
Shortly thereafter, she joined the local school choir, and made it into the Metropolitan Youth Symphony, playing clarinet. Since then, her musical journey has become more and more illustrious, and today, she is a well-known and well-loved artist, with only more heights to reach.
Rie’s story highlights the pivotal role that music can play in the lives of transgender students seeking community and self-expression. Her latest album "On The Home-Front" is available FREE on Jomendo HERE.