Born in Houlton, Maine, to a musical family, Ryan McGillicuddy developed a love for music at an early age. Ryan began studying piano at age 5 and moved on to the guitar and electric bass at age 11. Although he was largely self-taught on bass, Ryan began attending summer jazz workshops at age 13. It was here that he became familiar with the jazz tradition, receiving instruction from such notable musicians as Ben Street, George Garzone and Chuck Findley. After graduating high school, Ryan furthered his studies at the University of North Texas, receiving his Masters in 2003. It was at North Texas that Ryan began playing the upright bass, which quickly became his instrument of choice. At North Texas he studied under noted bassists Fred Hamilton, John Adams, and Lynn Seaton. During his studies at North Texas he was able to accompany such jazz legends as Benny Green, Pete Christlieb, Matt Wilson, Bill Charlap, Ignacio Berroa, Ed Soph, Dan Hearle, Stephan Karlsson and many more. He continued his studies in Los Angeles with the legendary bassist John Clayton.
Ryan has enjoyed a vibrant professional career. He has shared the stage with Wynton Marsalis, Greg Osby, Russel Ferrante, Larry Goldings, Peter Erskine, Joe Labarbera, Anthony Wilson, Bob Shepard, Victor Goines, Marchel Ivery, Bill Cunliffe, Larry Koonse, Karriem Riggins, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Bill Holman Orchestra, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, the Alan Ferber Nonet, Moss, Kate McGarry, Sara Gazarek, Freda Payne, and the list goes on. He has over 100 recording credits, including television and movies, and has toured extensively in the United States, Asia, and Europe.
In 2012 Ryan was invited to serve on the faculty of Kyung Hee University in South Korea. While in Korea, he enjoyed an active concert/touring schedule with his own original quartet project and as a sideman. In 2015 Ryan returned stateside, accepting a position as jazz faculty at Morehead State University in Kentucky. He continues to be active with his original trio featuring Peter Erskine and Vardan Ovsepian, the pianoless trio “3-ish”, and the original project “Sigmund Fudge”. Ryan is also a founding core member of the composer/performer organization “The Los Angeles Jazz Collective”.