Ryan Stevenson: Rooted in Identity as a Child of the King (Part 2)

John FarrellBy John Farrell9 Minutes

John Farrell: You mentioned that you play the guitar and you play the drums. Are there any other instruments you play?

Ryan Stevenson: Yeah, I play piano a little bit. I write probably half of my songs on the piano, half of them on the guitar, but I would say guitar, drums, and piano are my three go-to’s.

JF: When did you start singing?

Ryan: Not until I was 18 years old.

JF: Was the guitar the impetus for that?

Ryan: Absolutely. I had no desire to sing whatsoever and then when I got a guitar and I started plucking around and learning how to play chords, I started singing with those chords. I realized, “Hey, maybe I can use my voice and sing out some of these words that I’ve been writing down in my little journal or my notebook.” I started making little rhymes and songs and it just grew from there.

JF: What did the guy who gave you the guitar see that perhaps you didn’t even see in you at that time?

Ryan: I had no idea. I’ve asked him that before and he said, “I just felt like God told me to give this to you and I just want to be obedient to that.”

JF: Wow, that’s amazing! If I had never heard your music before and asked you, “How would you describe your sound?” How would you?

Ryan: I would say an acoustic rootsy and gritty Northwest kind of hip hop/pop/acoustic vibe that has a lot of very simple, plain, honest language, and not a lot of metaphors. I try not to do that. I just try to speak to people without them having try to figure out what I’m saying through some weird analogy. I just want to talk to people like we would talk in a coffee shop.

JF: Can you tell me a little bit about your album, Wildest Dreams? What sets it apart from your previous albums?

Ryan: I just think some of the growth that I’ve had in the last year or two. Just areas of my life where God has begun to heal me and open my eyes to a deeper truth and a deeper revelation of who He is. And recognizing just how much of an amazing journey that it’s been and how, at this stage of my life, I feel like I’m living my wildest dreams. It’s just so crazy. It’s mind-blowing every day of how good the Lord is and that’s what this record is all about. It’s just songs that are reflecting on the journey. Again, talking about who He is for all of us right now and how He’s blowing my mind. Just really hopefully expressing gratitude of the goodness of the fatherhood of God.

What About the Songs?

JF: One of the most popular songs on that album is “Amadeo (Still My God).” What is that song about?

Ryan: It’s about the uncertainties of life and how we live in an uncertain world. We are going to face trials, tribulations, uncertainty, hardship, and loss.

I was reading the story of Job. He was losing everything, and he was about to die. He lost his family, he was sick, he was under a tremendous test, tremendous battle. And he literally said, “Though He slay me I will trust Him.” That little line, that scripture has inspired me so much because I haven’t gone through even a fraction of what Job lived through and he still had the postured heart that said, “God, I’ll trust you. No matter what, you’re still my God. No matter what this looks like or feels like.” That’s what “Amadeo (Still My God)” is about.

JF: Looking specifically at two different songs, I read that “When We Fall Apart” is a song about your mom and “With Your Life” is a song for your father. Can you please tell me a little more about what those songs are about and why specifically your parents?

Ryan: “When We Fall Apart” was essentially the last conversation I had with my mother. She was on Hospice on her deathbed. She was about to die any day and I was with her. She literally told me those words, “It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to fall apart, stop trying to be strong. Let go of control because sometimes we’re the strongest when we’re weak. Our greatest strength is our surrender. Sometimes we don’t see clearly unless we are seeing through our tears. Those healing flowing tears.”

When I was writing my book and reflecting on that, I remember that conversation. It ended up being such an oily balm of healing for me nine, ten years later. I felt like that was such a wise message that she spoke to me that day and I had kind of forgotten about it.

In regards to my dad, there’s a song called “With Your Life.” I kind of grew up feeling pretty distant from my dad actually. We’re pretty much opposite people and I grew up thinking that there was just this disconnect between he and I. I felt like he was mostly displeased with me a lot. I couldn’t figure out why because he would never say the words “I love you.” But in the last year or so, this unexpected but very welcomed grace from my dad has shown up in my life and I’ve had this revelation that my dad has been saying that this whole time.

He’s just said it through his actions. He’s shown me and told me that he’s loved me through how he’s provided and treated me and loved my mother and loved us kids and been loyal and been a provider. But sometimes I haven’t recognized that over the years and all that resentment and bitterness just kind of went away.

Musical Influences

JF: Which artists are your biggest influences?

Ryan: I grew up on bands like Petra, DC Talk, and Delirious, but I would say Toby Mac is obviously a dear friend and a huge musical influence. I grew up in the 90’s so I really loved a lot of 90’s pop. My number one probably influence of all time was Michael Jackson. A lot of the 90’s guys. Bobby Brown, Boyz 2 Men, Sugar Ray. I just love pop music, especially infusing some hip-hop elements and some acoustic guitar in there.

JF: Is there anything else you want to add that I didn’t ask you or perhaps something that you want to reemphasize?

Ryan: I would love for people to just read my book and hear my music and hopefully it draws them closer to God. They can find me at RyanStevensonMusic.com.

Order your copy of Eye of the Storm: Experiencing God When You Can’t See Him by Ryan Stevenson

Read the first part of Ryan Stevenson’s interview with Inspiration Ministries

Featured image credit: Ryan Stevenson’s YouTube Channel