Ryan Thomas smelle

Niagara-based singer-songwriter Ryan Thomas Smelle has just released his latest single, “Love Monkeys”, alongside an official video release filmed by Black Frame Cinema at Silversmith Brewery in NOTL. We caught up with Ryan to chat about the new music and video, his dream venue to play, and the highlight of his career.

From The Strait: Tell us about the new single, “Love Monkeys”.

Ryan Thomas Smelle: This song and video are 15 years in the making.  When my wife and I were first dating I had bought these stuffed monkeys that were hugging each other and in a flash of about 5 minutes I penned this song for her. Over the years I’ve played this song and it’s changed and morphed quite a bit.  Everyone who ever hears it loves it. I do play this song quite frequently live and people seem to be singing along by the end despite never hearing it.  It is really a nod to those feelings you get when you are first falling in love or in that exciting phase of a new relationship.  

FTS: You have a video release for this single – tell us about filming, and how you came up with the video concept.

Ryan Thomas Smelle: This is my first official music video, meaning that I used an actual videographer rather than my phone.  I’ve had the concept for the song for sometime and just wanted a nice location.  

Silversmith Brewing was onboard for allowing us to film and it’s a favourite of mine for the acoustics and vibe this venue offers.  The star of this video, Meaghan, was only little when I first wrote this song and she used to dance around to it all the time. It was only fitting to ask her and her boyfriend, Simon, to take part.

Wes Keller and I were connected and his company Black Frame Cinema were happy to help make this idea come a reality.

I’m over the moon with the final product and it accompanies the song perfectly.

FTS: You switch between playing solo and playing with a band – do you prefer one over the other, and how do you think it changes the performance?

Ryan Thomas Smelle: Yes and no.

Some gigs I love the freedom of being alone and playing whatever I feel. It also gives me more ownership over my performance and has helped me to grow as a live looper.

On the other hand, there is nothing like playing with some skilled musicians and vibing off one another to create an on the fly jam.  Sometimes it’s nice to just talk with someone.

The songs and how I play them change dramatically from a solo/duo or trio performance and I have received quite a bit of feedback that expresses how different my performances are and how I tailor them to the venue and audience magnificently.

FTS: What are some of your non-musical hobbies?

Ryan Thomas Smelle: Love to do anything and everything with my kids and have 3 special needs rescue dogs.

I’m a big kid at heart and my studio (Homestretch Studio) is covered with all my childhood toys and a couple arcade machines.

Love the outdoors, camping and would consider myself once athletic.

FTS: If you could play any music venue anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Ryan Thomas Smelle: Massey Hall or Wembley Stadium. Both for their historic past performances and for pure nostalgia.

FTS: What has been the highlight of your music career so far?

Ryan Thomas Smelle: I’ve played some great venues. I’ve played with some great musicians.  I’ve been on the radio and now made my first official video.

However, my greatest highlight is writing and playing music with my kids. There is nothing quite like combining your passion with your family.  I attribute all my recent success to truly allowing my personal life to bleed through into my music. 

Fingers crossed, I will have an instrumental accompaniment from them soon. 


Check out “Love Monkeys”, the latest single from Ryan Thomas Smelle!

Follow Ryan on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter