Today, he’s one of the most groundbreaking & hope-filled voices in CCM music. But for nearly a decade after he finished school, Ryan Stevenson was on the outside looking in. While friends he’d grown up making music with were getting signed to record deals, Ryan was teaching school and working as a paramedic.
“Our college band got signed to Gotee Records – our lead singer did a solo deal, and the rest of us just kind of disbanded and went away into careers. That was heart wrenching. I mean, it was a gut punch to not be able to be in a band that was signed when I was 21 years old.”
You can’t miss the depth of feeling those memories still hold, but there’s a wealth more meaning in them as Ryan looks back today.
“Now – looking back – the Lord saved my life. I didn’t see it at the time, but He’s so good. I call him the bud nipper! He’s such a bud nipper, because He knows. We’re like a peach tree. He knows we can produce fruit, but any good gardener is going to go pinch those buds. He’s going to go prune, because if we start bearing fruit before our limbs can handle it, they’re going to break. It’s going to kill the tree.”
“I could produce fruit when I was 21 years old, but He knew my infrastructure and my roots were not established. So he nipped those buds. He pruned those branches, and He let me be a paramedic for 9 years. And I woke up really quick.”
If you trace the line of great music Ryan’s crafted over the years, there’s one message that stands out time after time. Ryan reminds us God is good – that He is faithful – even in the times when life looks bleakest.
“That’s my life, man. That is something I’m going to stand by and remember. That’s why I keep writing songs year after year after year after year about returning to the place of my first love. And remembering what God has done in my life. Remembering what He has freed me from. Remembering what He has delivered me from. Remembering how He has met me in the storms.”
“How many times do we see it through the Bible? The Lord told Abraham to go back, to return the way you came, and stop at that place where you built that first altar. Go back and remember what I’ve done for you. I don’t ever want to forget, and so that’s why I just feel like it’s important. I feel a responsibility to continuously writeing those songs that remember His faithfulness, look forward, and talk about how good He is.”
Ryan Stevenson is the pioneering music-maker behind songs like “The Gospel”, “The Eye of the Storm”, and the just released album Wildest Dreams.