Niagara singer-songwriter, Ryan Thomas Smelle has just released a music video for his song, “Story to Tell”, the third single from his recent album In The Homestretch. With this release, he’s hoping to spread the word about giving good homes to rescue dogs in need. We caught up with Ryan to chat about the story behind the song, his experience rescuing dogs, and the Niagara artists he’d like to collaborate with.
From The Strait: Tell us about the new single, “Story To Tell”.
Ryan Thomas Smelle: Written the day after having to unexpectedly say goodbye to my four legged buddy. Not the first time I’ve had to say farewell to a pet, but there is always a period of numb. I also had a friend, at that time, succumb to his battle with cancer and those two things inspired this song.
There is an unmistakable feeling when in grief where things just don’t seem to matter. I put pen to paper and the lyrics reflect it. There have been many who have connected with this song, emotionally, and made their own personal connections to the lyrics. These comments have inspired me to release it as my third single off of ‘In The Homestretch’.
FTS: With this single, you’re promoting rescue agencies – tell us about your experiences rescuing your dogs, and why any dog lover should consider it.
Ryan Thomas Smelle: Due to an unexpected loss, my family took about a year before we considered getting another dog.
We tossed around the idea of rescuing and I wanted to help with dogs that may be different or had special needs. This idea quickly snowballed and we ended up getting three within a year. Each have had their own ‘story to tell’, one has only one eye, one has three legs and the other has extremely small ears. But they are now family.
The pandemic changed the landscape of rescues and there is now an influx of dogs needing a home. If able to, I highly encourage you and your family to consider helping a pup in need. Do your research and investigate what works for you.
FTS: What’s your favourite – and least favourite – thing about being a musician?
Ryan Thomas Smelle: Fav – writing and creating music that makes someone feel a certain way. Coming up with a narrative out of nothing that helps someone on a bad day or reinforces a good one is what it’s all about.
Performing live is also a personal fav. Especially when you have an engaging audience.
Having only built my studio prior to this album, I’m loving the creative freedom that I have when recording. A totally new and refreshing way to approach my tunes.
Least Fav – soliciting yourself. Despite being a necessary evil, social media, promotion, booking, posters, connections, etc. are all daunting tasks that take time away from the creative process.
FTS: Are there any artists that you’d like to collaborate with?
In all honesty, I’m open to collaborating with all individuals in the Niagara Region. There are so many talented musicians here.
I am currently working on a side project with Johnny Dee titled Game Changer.
I enjoy the tunes of Brandon Agnew, Arih SK, Matthew James Blake, and Dave Rose (Stellar Ash) to name a few.
Wouldn’t mind returning to some edgy rock/alt tunes and picking up the electric as well.
FTS: Do you get nervous before playing live? If so, what do you do to combat that?
There is always a pang of anxiousness before you start to play. But that feeling is what makes playing live so enjoyable. Instead of trying to combat it, I embrace the butterflies and use them to liven up my performance.
Another trick is to start your set with an extremely comfortable song to play. Usually things settle after the first tune and this can set your tone for a good show.
Check out the new video for “Story to Tell”, by Ryan Thomas Smelle!