Ryan Wesley Smith is an American youth speaker and internet personality from Nashville, Tennessee. Smith is one of Contemporary Christian Music's newest and influential rising voices, carrying partnerships with Capitol Records, the K-LOVE Fan Awards, and more. You can catch Ryan out on the road this spring with 7eventh Time Down & Audio Adrenaline, hosting their God Is On The Move Tour. Today he also debuts his show's first episode of Activate with Ryan Wesley Smith, which features an in-depth interview with Dove Award winning artist Jordan Feliz. Activate with Ryan Wesley Smith is a music talk show featuring interviews with today's top artists. The show is recorded in Nashville, Tennessee and distributed digitally.
Ryan was gracious enough to spend a few minutes chatting with us about his show and touring with 7eventh Time Down.
First off, congratulations on the launch of Activate with Ryan Wesley Smith! Where did you get the first idea for this project?
Thank you so much! This new show is all about music, and sharing the powerful stories being told through it. The way the show came about was very organic. The idea first came about after I had a conversation with a couple of friends who are artists. We discussed the industry, genre as a whole, and how it’s not as accessible to my generation. That’s where the idea of doing a digital-first project came about. After having some meetings with my management, we connected the dots and decided to pursue this project.
What was the feeling once the first show was ready for release? How was it to have Jordan Feliz as your guest on the first episode?
From having my friend Jordan Feliz on the first episode, to premiering it on New Release Today, and even having Puckett’s come on as a sponsor... It’s incredibly humbling to see how this industry has really come along side me and this project. I love being a part of things that are innovative, and meaningful. I can honestly say that I’m very proud of how this has turned out, and the team that’s been assembled to make it happen.
Are there other artists you would like to incorporate into future shows?
Absolutely. Like I said, music is such a major part of my life. I’d love to work with a ton of artists, and recently, doors have opened that have allowed me to work with artists like Matthew West, Jamie Grace, Audio Adrenaline, and more. I’d love to have those, and more, on the show in the near future. I think they all share a love for music that is inspiring, while also bringing a diverse collection of stories worth sharing. More specifically, artists like Hollyn, Aaron Cole, Spencer Kane, Kolby Koloff and Tori Kelly are doing really cool things in this industry. I think they would bring a very different perspective that could impact my audience in a new way.
Do you have a vision for the series that ties all the episodes? If so, is there one message you hope your listeners take away after listening to Activate with Ryan Wesley Smith?
The name, Activate, is something that contains a vision of it’s own. I always strive to encourage anyone I come in contact with. I often talk with students and have consistently spoke about what it means to activate your faith. If you look at the definition of the word active, it's defined as: engaging or ready to engage in physically energetic pursuits. I want to see us, as believers, engage culture, our friends, families, and cities with the Gospel; and physically pursuing God with all we have. The reason we named the show, Activate with Ryan Wesley Smith, is to tie into that theme. I believe engaging can mean more than just talking – it can be music, songs or sharing stories, as well. Each artist we have on is activating their faith, in their own way, and I hope that encourages us all to use the talents we’ve been given.
Not only do you have this new talk show launching, but you are also busy on tour, as the host for 7eventh Time Down’s God Is On The Move Tour. Can you share a little on how this opportunity came together?
Yes! Earlier last year, I had the opportunity to join 7eventh Time Down’s God Is On The Move tour as their tour speaker. At the time, 7eventh Time had the #1 song in the country, and a record doing very well on the charts. It was a thrill to join them, plus Audio Adrenaline, John Waller, Shiloh and Young Noah, who were all on the tour as well. This year, the 7eventh Time Down guys asked me to come out again, but this time, host the entire tour! It’s such an honor and I love being able to meet people in every city. We actually just finished up a weekend of shows in Texas, and I was able to meet so many fans who knew me from my YouTube videos, or social media. Tours like this give me the incredible opportunity to do that, where otherwise, we may never have met in person.
Is there a particular city you are most looking forward to visiting?
Each city is unique. I’ve learned that it’s more about the people, and their stories. I try my best to be present at these events and really connect with whoever I’m meeting. That being said… It is always great to be home. I grew up in Bradenton, FL, almost my whole life, so anytime we’re in Florida, I try my best to visit with friends. It’s also fun to have shows in Nashville. But regardless of the city, I can’t wait to get back out on the road and meet more people!
Both of these projects you are involved with that have been discussed so far are heavily based in Christian music. How did this become such a passion for you, personally?
I’ve grown up listening to Christian music, and now living in Nashville, it surrounds me. I think the passion comes from the impact this genre has had on my life, personally, and it’s impact globally. Artists like tobyMac, Chris Tomlin, Michael W. Smith, and many more have really given me new perspective on life, and my faith.
You can find more information about his projects on his website.