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Ryan O'Donnell was born in November 1982 in Halifax, Yorkshire, but grew up in Germany. After earning a degree in animation at the Surrey Art Institute he joined the metal band 2 Degree Field as a singer and guitarist. The band broke up when all the members finished college. He then went to study acting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where he met his mentor, the conductor John O'Hara. After University Ryan began an acting career, working briefly in the theater and in the circus, until he broke his leg in 2006, preventing him from working for 9 months. After a full recovery Ryan entered the Royal Shakespeare Company, joining the production of Romeo and Juliet, and later landed the role of Jimmy in the theatrical production of Quadrophenia musical, the famous rock opera by The Who. On that occasion, he returned to meet John O'Hara, who had organized the musical arrangement of Quadrophenia. Then he collaborated with Cat Stevens (now called Yusef) duet with British singer in the song Matthew and Son.In 2012 he participated in the making of Ian Anderson's album Thick as a Brick 2, sequel to the historical Jethro Tull's album Thick as a Brick (1972) and in 2014 was present again in the sixth solo album by Anderson titled Homo Erraticus. In 2015 Ryan joined the West End cast of Sunny Afternoon (musical) as an understudy for both the role of Ray Davies and Dave Davies. After the cast change he also became alternate for the role of Ray Davies, only to take on the role full-time in the Sunny Afternoon UK Tour in 2016.

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