Today’s Feature – September 26th & 27th: Ryan Weaver

September 26, 2007 at 10:54 am (Today's Feature)


We all fall upon difficult times at some point in our lives – sometimes we stand back up the stronger, and sometimes we simply cannot rise after being driven down upon our knees over and over again. Some people need adversity – they need to fall in order to rise. In the case of Ryan Weaver, he has risen higher than anyone could have expected in the face of overwhelming hardship to live out his dreams as a beloved country singer.

Born in St Petersburg, Florida, to Kelly Weaver, his mother married Michael Weaver who adopted Ryan along with his brother Aaron, he soon learned what it meant to be part of a real family. Ryan and Aaron both went into the military and in 2000 Ryan was selected to attend flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama. It was around this time that he began to notice his talent as a performer. He would take that talent overseas to Germany, and eventually to Iraq in May 2003. It was in January 2004 however, that tragedy struck in Iraq and Aaron was killed in action.

While it would have been easy and expected of Ryan to turn away from the world, and run into darkness after losing the person closest to him, he instead stood his ground. He drove even harder toward his real dream, to stand at the apex of a colossal arena with 50,000+ chanting his name and singing his songs. He even found a way to turn his experience in Iraq into a positive – “The time I spent in Iraq brought me back to loving the normal every day things that I took for granted like running water, hot showers and going to bed in a safe and secure place. I found a great deal of inspiration for writing about those things that I never take for granted that meant even more when I was there, like family and friends.”

Ryan is busy living out his dreams today, and is making music that encourages others to do the same. Just check out his debut single, “Talkin’ Part”, written by Bev and Cliff Nelson, Dee Briggs and Doak Turner. It’s been featured on numerous country radio stations across the USA, including Sirius Radio’s New Country “Beyond the Buzz.” It’s a song about doing more than just talking about dreams and aspirations, but actually stepping out the door and doing something about them. It’s definitely a song Ryan can relate to. Keep an eye out for this rising country star, and get into his XXQ’s.

XXQs: Ryan Weaver How and when did you first get involved in music?

Ryan Weaver (RW): I actually began playing the violin in 4th grade, but had my singing debut in a 6th grade play called “Scrooge”. Played the lead character who broke his leg and wasn’t happy with Christmas.

PEV: Born in St Petersburg, Florida and later settling down in Floral City, what kind of music did you listen to growing up?

RW: We moved around Florida from the north to the east and finally in the west central area, and I was exposed to so many different genres. My oldest brother Steve played Journey and the Eagles all the time. As life changed, so did the music I predominantly listened to. Southern Rock and Classic Rock were mostly what I listened to as a child, then growing up as a teen I got caught up in the great hair band music and pop culture. I never really settled in to liking any particular kind of music until around 96 when I really started feeling a passion for country music.

PEV: When, where and what was the first live Ryan Weaver performance like?

RW: On the big stage, it was opening for George Jones at the Dothan Civic Center after winning a singing competition for a local radio station. We were allowed two songs, and I sang In Her Eyes, a song I wrote in Baghdad, then Save A Horse Ride a Cowboy. The radio station was passing out T-shirts when I was singing the first song- lesson number one for future performances, always have free stuff during the show for the crowd but they really got in to Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy, and I was definitely pumped up.

PEV: What can people expect from a live Ryan Weaver show?

RW: High, positive energy, and a very personable show, bottom line. I use to watch other bands and artists perform to learn from everything they do – still do. The one thing I always appreciated was when the performer was having a great time and being real. I’m no different than anyone out in the crowd, simply a person that has been given a little talent, drive and passion for being on stage making people both treasure life and forget about life struggles one song at a time. I want the audience to feel like they can be up there with me, part of my dream, and certainly last but not least, dancing and partying until they are so tired they can’t stand it.

PEV: Your debut single “Talkin’ Part”(written by Bev and Cliff Nelson, Dee Briggs and Doak Turner) has been featured on numerous country radio stations across the USA, including Sirius Radio’s New Country ‘Beyond The Buzz’. What was it like the first time you heard your music on the radio?

RW: The first time I actually heard myself on the radio was in 2004 with “In Her Eyes.” One of the local radio stations was doing a Christmas gift drive for the Soldiers deployed overseas and they were playing locally submitted music. I had my alarm clock set to the station and woke up to my song playing on the radio. I thought I was dreaming. If you could imagine the scene from the Wonders when they heard their song for the first time- think, me in my underwear dancing around my room calling my Mom completely ecstatic…It was amazing.

PEV: Was there a certain time or event that you realized you wanted to make a living playing music?

RW: I was tossing around the possibility when I was in Iraq in 2003, but when my brother was killed while we were both deployed in 2004, I realized life is just too short to let my dreams pass me by. Music has a way of reaching so many people, and I love to perform. Anyone that has ever seen my show can tell you I am at home and at peace on the stage. I just love it.

PEV: Describe to us the feeling of stepping into a recording studio for the first time. What was going through your head?

RW: I spent a great deal of time listening to the advice of a good friend of mine who is an artist and talented song writer in Nashville named Darby Ledbetter. When I walked in to the studio I felt prepared and full of nervous excitement. I was recording with some of the best musicians in Nashville, and though I was kinda star struck, I wanted to make sure I learned the most from the experience. The Army has a way of preparing you for the unknown. Keeping on an even keel is very hard in this business, but I can thank the Army for making that easier for me to do. I do get excited, but just like in that circumstance, I always try to use that energy to feed my performance rather than let it hinder the possibilities.

PEV: What do all your friends and family think about your music career success?

RW: Since most of my performances are all out of the state of Florida, my family heard a lot about what was happening, but until recently really didn’t have a real idea of where this is going and how fast. I put on a concert for the first time in my home town of Inverness, FL, and all of the family that could attend was there. My Mom and Dad were shocked. I graduated top of my class in flight school and they were proud, but this was completely different. They were really excited to see that I set out to be something most people just dream about and was well on my way toward achieving it. My Mom told me, “I’m so proud of the man you’ve become and I’m proud to call you my son. You have never fallen short when you put your mind to something, and you’re doing so well.” That’s a true testament to the great things they taught me growing up.

I have some of the most supportive friends with this that anyone could ask for. They are willing to make sacrifices to help me achieve my dreams, because they really do believe in me. They know where I came from and they saw me suffer in my darkest hour when Aaron died. They want this for me just as much as I do, which is really hard to believe sometimes and extremely humbling.

PEV: How has traveling on the road as a musician been for you? What are the best and worst parts?

RW: I love the road. I love going from place to place meeting new people. I can’t honestly say there are bad things about it- it’s all a matter of perspective. I look at it as part of my dream.

PEV: In all your travels, which city – in or out of the US, do you think offers the best music scene?

RW: Nashville is a lightning bolt charge every time I go there. You know there are so many dreams in the making and broken dreams just the same. I look at the first perspective like I am part of that wave, and the second perspective is what I use to challenge myself to work even harder. The talent you see in the Nashville music scene can range from new comers to people who have done and seen so many things. That wide span of experience is really invigorating. I can feel the energy when I get close to Nashville, and when I’m there it’s captivating. It gets in your veins and sets you on fire in a very positive way.

PEV: You were deployed to Iraq in May 2003, where you found inspiration to devote more time to songwriting. How did the time in Iraq affect your music?

RW: Country Music has a way of telling stories about down home values and good times that we all love. The things that mean the most to me and the things I want remember about life can be found in so many great Country Music songs. The time I spent in Iraq brought me back to loving the normal every day things that I took for granted like running water, hot showers and going to bed in a safe and secure place. I found a great deal of inspiration for writing about those things that I never take for granted that meant even more when I was there, like family and friends. Then, Aaron was killed, and it just re-enforced that inspiration even more. Some of the most wonderful thoughts come from hardship and heartache. There are very few Soldiers that haven’t experienced both over there.

PEV: Aside from writing when you were in Iraq, is there a certain atmosphere you surround yourself in when you sit down to write music?

RW: I like to be around people that share their ideas and have unique ways to look at things. It always feeds the idea train for songs and so many different ideas come together to make something special.

PEV: What can you say to all your fellow soldiers overseas right now that may be reading this right now?

America may not always believe in what’s going on over there, but I know America believes in Soldiers and supports you. Keep your heads down and get back. Last, but certainly not least…Be safe!

PEV: You’ve won several talent contests but one in particular landed you an opening gig for George Jones. What was it like to share a stage with such a celebrated artist like George?

RW: No other word than “wow” can describe it.

PEV: Is there one artist you would like to collaborate with you haven’t done so?

RW: Jeffrey Steele. That guy is incredible.

PEV: When you are not performing and you have time to relax, what can we find you doing?

RW: Spending time with friends and family.

PEV: What “up and coming” artist right now should people be watching out for?

RW: Without sounding cocky, me. I have a goal no shorter than 50,000+ in stadiums calling my name. Everyone that knows me has a true appreciation for my drive to be successful. I like to educate myself on every avenue that can take me to the top in a very competitive business the right way, the honest way. There is no greater compliment than having a fan tell me I’ve affected their lives in one way or another to be something more than they thought they could be. At that level, I have the ability to make a major difference to everyone that knows me- one fan at a time.

PEV: What’s the hardest part you about breaking into the music scene?

RW: The hardest part, without a doubt, is getting those who care deeply about my success to understand the business side of the music industry. Though I’ve learned to deal with what I prefer to call speed bumps, most that have become my biggest supporters take setbacks to heart. As an up and coming artist, you not only carry the weight of your dreams on your shoulders, but the weight of the dreams that everyone around you has. This is not an easy road, and it takes a great deal of work and perseverance. You just can’t do this if you really don’t love it. But, even as much as you love it, you have to be able to press the gas and jump the speed bumps with a smile and true grit.

PEV: What is one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Ryan Weaver?

RW: Wow. That’s a good one. I’m pretty open about who I am, so it’s really hard to surprise anyone with anything about me. Though the first time I take my hat off in a show and people see that I shave my head, it tends to be a surprise if they’ve never seen me before.

PEV: So, what is next for Ryan Weaver?

RW: Short term, I’m currently shopping for a record deal…We have a show in December opening for Montgomery Gentry and Trace Adkins. Long term(part of my “next,” but just down the road) CMT and CMA Music Awards…Can’t wait for the invite call because my fans and fellow musicians and artists want me there. We’re hoping that great things happen with this song and it writes the words to a much bigger success story. If you haven’t heard, the Promotions Only CD that gets distributed to a few thousand radio stations around the US, ‘Talkin Part’ is on it along with new stuff from all of the major Nashville acts… I was very excited and honored that Shadow Stevens out of Orlando included my song on it with the major artists in the business.

For more information on Ryan Weaver, check out


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