Drew Ryder Smith is a country music singer and award winning professional songwriter. He is the owner of Gray Sound Recording LLC, working as a producer and senior mixing engineer and the creator of The Before You Record Course. Born and raised between “Music City” (Nashville, TN) and “The Hit Making Capital of the World” (Muscle Shoals, AL), his career in music was probably inevitable. Drew’s latest single, “Exes” was released on Sept. 20, 2022. It was one of the 15 most added songs for digital radio for multiple weeks following its release. His last single “The Truth” was released Oct. 29, 2021. It was one of the top 15 most added songs for digital radio and was on the Country Digital Up and Coming charts for a solid six weeks. “The Truth” was also recently selected by Spotify for one of its coveted editorial playlists.
Drew’s work has been recorded in many countries including the US, Canada, Ireland, Germany and Australia (among others) by legends like Merle Haggard, Nashville powerhouse Randy Houser, Rob Snyder, Jason Charles Miller, Kevin Denney, John Schneider, and Australian-Canadian country singer, Gord Bamford, who stands as one of the most decorated artists in Canadian country music and the only two-time winner of the CMA Global Country Artist of the Year award.
Drew learned his first chords on his grandmother’s 1964 Gibson Hummingbird and wrote his first song (which he now describes as “terrible”) when he was only 12. He started his music career in radio at the age of 14 when he innocently called the studio to inquire about working there and his deep voice led the station manager to believe he was an adult with radio experience. When a 14 year old Drew showed up at the studio, after a shared laugh at the mix up, his unique voice inspired the manager to keep him around and he began working as an on air personality.
Drew has named his early influences include: Steve Earle, John Prine, Don Williams, Merle Haggard, Foster & Lloyd, Jackson Browne and, last but certainly not least, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, which happens to be the first concert he ever attended – at the age of two. His pastor father relays that they skipped church to attend the concert and little Drew played air guitar throughout the whole thing.
Drew toured coast to coast for several years in his early career and has shared the stage with Merle Haggard, Don Williams, Big & Rich, Lee Brice, Lady A and many others. He describes opening for Merle Haggard at the Ryman Auditorium with only a stool and his acoustic guitar as one of the highlights of his career. Opening for one of his heroes with the likes of John Prine, Tim and Faith, Keith Urban and top industry executives in the audience, and his mother in the wings, is a story he rarely tells but that is close to his heart.
Drew’s long songwriting career has also afforded him the opportunity to write with Don Schlitz (“The Gambler,” “When You Say Nothing At All”), Rob Snyder (“She Got The Best Of Me” – Luke Combs), Driver Williams (“Smoke A Little Smoke” – Eric Church), Bobby Pinson (“Some Of It” – Eric Church) and he continues to work with some of the brightest talent in Nashville. His first gold record hangs on his mother’s/father’s wall.
Drew owns Gray Sound Recording Services LLC based in Nashville, TN where he produces and serves as senior mixing engineer. He often works with his close friend, Grammy award winning producer, Glenn Tabor, owner of Gat3 in Charlotte, NC.
Drew is also the author of The Before You Record Course (TM), which prepares new artists for their first recording session and walks them through what goes into making a record, imparting knowledge gleaned from 15 years in the business. He has stated, “I’ve recorded in the studio thousands of times. It took several years, many mistakes, some unnecessarily-spent money and plenty of embarrassing moments to be able to create this course, so you can avoid all that.” He loves hearing from new artists about how the course has helped them start their own successful careers from a place of empowerment.
Drew is a proud member of the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association as well as NSAI (the Nashville Songwriters Association International).
When not in the studio or on the road, Drew can be found in Nashville or the NYC area – usually hanging out with any dog he sees. Like – All. The. Dogs.