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Christian Singer Ryan Stevenson and Country Icon Deana Carter Team Up on New Heartfelt Song, ‘Rich’

Christian singer/songwriter's heartwarming new single, 'Rich' — out April 19th

It’s always interesting when two creative worlds collide and that’s definitely the case on “Rich,” a poignant new song that brings together chart-topping Christian artist Ryan Stevenson and Country Music Association Award winner Deana Carter and features country icon Vince Gill on guitar. Written by Ryan and Brent Loper, the song releases April 19th.

Ryan Stevenson
Chart-topping Christian singer/songwriter Ryan Stevenson releases new single with Deana CarterGotee

“I wrote the whole thing based on a phrase my mother would always say,” Ryan tells Woman’s World, sitting in a conference room with Deana in the Franklin, TN office of Gotee Records.  “We were pretty poor. I grew up in a 940 sq. foot trailer house in Oregon and we didn’t have much of anything.”

He recalls a pivotal moment when he saw his mom pay for groceries with food stamps. He didn’t know what food stamps were and when he asked her about it, she broke down and cried. “She said, ‘That’s for people who need help getting back on their feet and we’re struggling.’”

Ryan says something that day unraveled in him. “I felt like, ‘We are poor and we’re less than,’ but through her tears, my mom said, ‘We might not have a lot of money, but we’re really rich in ways that matter, in our health, in our friends, in our community so we’re probably the richest people.’ I thought about that all these years later, and it inspired this song.”

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Ryan Stevenson and his mother, who inspired his new song Rich with Deana Carter
Ryan Stevenson and his mother, who inspired his new song Rich with Deana Carter@ryansmusic

Ryan Stevenson finds his voice

Ryan’s journey has definitely been a tumultuous one. By the time he was in middle school, his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and he became her primary caregiver as his dad drove a truck and was always traveling. Eventually his mom succumbed to the disease at 58.

Though she had encouraged his love of music, Ryan turned to another vocation and spent seven years as a paramedic. In one of his most harrowing calls, he helped save a woman who had been struck by lightning. In gratitude, she bought the aspiring musician studio time and helped spur his career.

Early on, he recorded independent projects, which caught the attention of Gotee Records, co-owned by legendary Christian artist TobyMac. Ryan co-wrote TobyMac’s hit “Speak Life” with the artist and Jamie Moore.

Ryan has also scored numerous hits on his own, including “Holding Nothing Back,” “Not Forgotten,” “All Yours” and “Eye of the Storm,” which spent 15 weeks at No. 1.

When he and Brent Loper began working on “Rich,” the song came together quickly.  “We wrote it fast and as we were writing I was like, ‘Gosh this needs to be a duet. It just feels like it’s that kind of a perspective thing,” Ryan says. “I didn’t know who it would be, but I felt like the song needed a female voice.”

Coming full circle

Weeks later, Ryan was invited to perform at the famed Grand Ole Opry and it just so happened Deana Carter was on the show that night too.

“Deana is just so gracious. That meant a lot to me and it spoke louder than anything,” Ryan says of their first meeting backstage at the Opry.

He felt Deana would be the perfect duet partner and sent the song to her brother Jeff, who passed it along to Deana for her consideration. She loved it and agreed to the duet.

“I felt like the way it all came together — what the song is saying, the heart of it, Deana’s involvement, her voice and who she is it took the song to a new level.  All of it just feels so special, like nothing was forced. It was so peaceful, and I love that.  Everything felt like it just perfectly fell into place.”

Ryan Stevenson and Deana Carter in the studio
Ryan Stevenson and Deana Carter in the studio@ryansmusic

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Well known for her CMA Award winning Song of the Year “Strawberry Wine,” Deana burst onto the country scene with her 1996 debut album Did I Shave My Legs for This? and continued to score such country hits as “We Danced Anyway” and How Do I Get There?”

This is her first foray into Christian music. “I loved the message of the song,” Deana tells WW. “I’ve written songs with Chris Tomlin,  and I’ve wanted to have more of a hand in faith-based music because I think it really can touch someone’s heart in way that a sermon can’t or a person can’t. The music can be so influential for God to talk to somebody. I just haven’t had a whole lot of opportunity [to do Christian music], but I pray about it a lot.”

God’s plans unfold

When the opportunity came to duet with Ryan, Deana says her mom was excited about it. “She was like, ‘Oh, I love him,’ and he had her full endorsement. She was just beaming.”

Deana was excited about recording the song from the moment she heard it, but admits she was worried about finding time in her schedule to record with Ryan as she currently lives in Florida and is frequently on tour.

“We were driving to Kentucky from Florida coming through Nashville, and I came in and I did it,” she says. “I still get a little nervous going in the studio and being busy, I didn’t want it to be rushed. I wanted it to have the attention and detail that it needed. When we sat in the studio and he told me the story behind the song, it was just so meant to be. It’s just how God works.”

Ryan Stevenson and Deana Carter release new song, Rich
Ryan Stevenson and Deana Carter release new song, RichJack-Rodriguez

In addition to Deana’s voice, the song also includes guitar work by Vince Gill. “I asked him if he’d like to do a guitar solo and he’s like, I’d be tickled to and within a few hours he sent it back, so the guitar stuff you hear is actually him. He’s the best guy.”

Ryan is appreciative of Vince and Deana contributing their talents to “Rich” and feels his mom’s words of wisdom are appropriate to share at this point in time because of the national obsession with achieving wealth, influence and power.

“I just felt this deep mandate to go back to the roots,” he says. “What would it look like if we could just strip away all this stuff and go back to the things that actually make us healthy and whole and wealthy and healed?  That’s where it was birthed from, that conversation that day with my mom.  She was super wise and just a nurturing mama bear. She died years ago, but it’s interesting how her wisdom and words still help and heal. They are just timeless.”

Visit, Instagram or Facebook, to download their new single on April 19th!

For more comforting stories about God’s plan, keep reading…

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