Actor and singer-songwriter Riley Smith is premiering his new song “I’m on Fire” exclusively for readers of The Boot. Press play below to listen.
Fans of CMT’s Nashville might recognize Smith: He played brooding rocker-turned-country singer Markus Keen during the show’s fourth season (when it was still on ABC). Smith has also made appearances on HBO’s True Blood and True Detective, and has a leading role on the CW’s Frequency.
During his time on Nashville, Smith recorded four songs that were released as part of the show’s soundtrack; now, he’s preparing to release his first project as an artist himself. “I’m on Fire,” Smith tells The Boot is about the time he’s spent on the road — specifically, it’s “the story of one of the many times I just needed to go home.”
“”I’m on Fire” exemplifies the synergy I found while living in Nashville: Tim Lauer was producing my music for the show Nashville, and then set us up on a co-write with Mathew Perryman Jones, who I had been a fan of for a long time,” Smith shares. “The three of us sat down, and the premise just flowed out of us. Working with them was effortless, yet deep and meaningful; within a few hours of our write, we had perfectly captured my tone and sound.”
“I’m on Fire” will appear on Smith’s forthcoming self-titled debut EP, which is set for release on July 21 and was produced by Kevin Leach; it’s the record’s lead single. Smith describes the project as “loner music.”
“There’s a common theme of distance and space running through the EP,” Smith says. “I want the EP to hopefully transcend to anyone who’s ever felt alone.”
Category: Riley Smith
The handsome and talented Riley Smith stopped by the KTLA Morning News to talk about the midseason premiere of the CW’s “Frequency” happening January 4th at 9pm on The CW.
This segment aired on the KTLA 5 Morning News on January 4th, 2017.
Check out a new interview that surfaced of Peyton, Riley, and Mekhi for Entertainment Weekly.
It’s the season of time travel. This year, on The CW alone, three shows deal with time travel: The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Frequency. On other networks, there’s also Timeless, 12 Monkeys, Time After Time, Making History, and some others that have at least a few elements of time travel in the story. Of those, four are new this year. That’s a lot of time travel and manipulating the timeline, so it’s easy to get lost within them.
Luckily each is handling time travel a little bit differently. For Frequency, there’s not any direct travel, but rather time communication – people chatting using a mysterious CB radio twenty years apart. The butterfly effect is felt, though, as that communication gets the main characters, Raimy and her father Frank Sullivan, into a lot of trouble very quickly.
“I didn’t realize that the time thing is such a popular thing, that was a random stroke of luck with me picking this script early,” star Riley Smith, who plays Frank, told Comicbook.com in an exclusive interview. “Then it was lucky that not only were they popular during pilot season, but then actually got picked up.”
While he gets it that all this time travel and science fiction gets lumpted together by some people, he really sees them as having only very surface similarities.
“It’s funny to me, though, that we get compared to the other ones, I know Timeless is one we get compared to a lot. I think that we’re all so different, especially ours because it’s so much more rooted in reality and rooted in the family connection, the drama; the time element is more something that’s a payoff immediately, and makes it more exciting, too.
“I think that what I read, and what we’re really trying to portray is the heart of the matter, the relationship between Frank, Raimy, and Julie Sullivan.”
That relationship, between Raimy and her parents, is tested early and often. When she uses the radio to save her father’s life twenty years in the past, it leads directly to her mother’s death, and the father-daughter team have to work together across two decades to save her life, too. Smith praised the work of showrunner Jeremy Carver, who he called a “genius,” and said that every script he gets blows him away. He loves that they’re creating “a smart show that makes [the audience] think, and keeps them on the edge of their seats.”
As for acting opposite Peyton List (Raimy) when they’re always just talking on a radio, the pair have come up with a unique solution, and it involves knitting.
“Peyton and I have 12 years of experience reading together,” Smith explained. “Whether we have each other in the room or not, I can hear her take [in my head] of her lines. But we made a deal with each other to be off camera during the radio scenes. So I’ll sit in the corner with a little pen flashlight and just read the lines, vice versa for her. She always knits while she’s off camera. I don’t know who she’s knitting for, I ask her if she’s gonna knit me a blanket with all her off camera time. I’ll be sitting there tweeting with my phone. That’s what we do! It’s just a whole day of sitting in a corner, a dark corner.”
As for what’s next for Frank and company, Smith said that he can’t reveal much, but promised “a lot of twists and turns, a lot changes, and it gets very exciting.”
Frequency airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW, directly after Arrow. Watch the full interview above for more about the series and Smith’s career.
After years as a working actor, singer Riley Smith takes on leading-man status in CW’s “Frequency.”
Riley Smith believes in destiny. That’s no easy task in Hollywood, a land as full of rejection and broken dreams as it is of opportunities and runaway successes. But the 38-year-old actor, who stars in the television drama “Frequency,” which premieres tonight on the CW network, considers himself fortunate. “My first job was a pilot for the WB and here I am 20 years later working for the same studio,” he says.
Smith considers himself among the lucky ones. “I never had to have a ‘real’ job,” he said. “I got lucky that I’ve always supported myself acting, but I always say if I had the choice I’d probably have 30 credits on my IMDB page instead of 75.” Smith, who moved from Iowa to Los Angeles to take acting classes after high school (he used the money he made modeling in a Tommy Hilfiger ad campaign to pay for them), landed his first acting job within months, on a WB pilot that never made it to air.
Since then, he’s become a television fixture, more handsome than your typical “character actor” but equally versatile — with regular roles on popular shows such as “7th Heaven,” “Freaks and Geeks,” “24,” “Joan of Arcadia,” “90210,” “True Blood” and “Nashville.” He’s also appeared in films including “Not Another Teen Movie” and “Bring It On.”
“I’ve done a lot of failed pilots and shows that got canceled. When you are going through the journey you are always asking yourself, like, ‘Why didn’t this happen?’ or ‘Why didn’t that happen?’ and then when something like ‘Frequency’ comes along it becomes very evident that everything has a reason.”
The show, a reboot of the 2000 movie starring Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel, centers on Frank Sullivan (the role originated by Quaid) a Queens, N.Y., cop killed on the job who manages to reconnect 20 years later with his adult daughter through the supernatural airwaves of an old ham radio.
Because of his long relationship with the parent company Warner Bros., CW offered Smith three different pilot scripts to choose from, and he chose “Frequency,” which also stars Peyton List and Mekhi Phifer. “Peyton and I have actually been acting partners for 10 years and we’ve put in countless hours studying together,” he said of the actress, whom he met through a mutual agent. “We were in the same episodes of ‘90210’ but not in the same scenes. Now we are in scenes together but not physically on the same camera. It just makes sense that I am working with someone who I know so well and that I trust as an actor,” he said of the serendipitous casting.
If he seems overly earnest, blame it on his Midwestern roots. “I have a really strong family back home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I get emotional just talking about them,” he says. “My mom always told me to have faith. That’s kind of what keeps you going.”
Cedar Rapids’ other famous sons include Ashton Kutcher, Michael Emerson, Ron Livingston and Elijah Wood. “I consider myself fortunate to have done well for myself, but you go back to my town and those guys have done really well, so everyone’s kind of unaffected in a way. I almost feel like sometimes people are, like, ‘Man, you gotta pick it up.’ If I was from Wisconsin I’d probably be a bigger deal in my hometown.”
As for his music career — his L.A.-based band, The Life of Riley, has released three albums and he also sang on “Nashville” — Smith says he’s always writing songs when not acting. “I set up a mini studio in my apartment in Vancouver [where “Frequency” shoots] and it keeps me really calm,” he said. He grew up on his family’s quarter horse ranch listening to country music. “It’s sometimes hard to switch back to my Queens accent for the show when I’m listening to country in my trailer. I’ve gotta lose the Southern accent quick.”
The star of The CW’s new show Frequency shares his workout, diet tips, and what it’s like being a father… sort of.
The CW is bringing you back to the 90s.
In the network’s new show, Frequency, 38-year-old Riley Smith plays undercover New York police officer Frank Sullivan. Sullivan is killed during a sting operation gone bad. But, fast-forward 20 years and he comes in contact with his daughter through an old ham radio in the basement. The father-daughter duo find themselves working together, however, the butterfly effect ends up creating unexpected consequences.
While he was on set filming for season one, we chatted with Riley about one of his most exciting roles as an actor, how he stays in NYPD shape, and what he would do with a ham radio time-machine.
What was it about this role in Frequency that you were really looking forward to?
I just thought that the script had all of the elements of everything that was exciting right now, that’s trending right now. It was just by chance that this “time frequency jump stuff” is really big. That we didn’t even know when I read the pilot. That was just another added plus.
I was looking for a leading male [role] but I needed somebody that wasn’t just your stereotypical, two-dimensional lead character like “Mr. Perfect” or the guy who just saves the day all the time. It’s not me. It’s not real; it’s not reality, and not something that I would enjoy playing.
It’s hard to find a lead character that has a lot of layers and dimensions and this guy has so many. On top of that he’s very flawed. He’s basically an anti-hero. It was perfect. The minute I set the script down I called my reps and said that’s it, this is the one. I just knew it from the beginning.
Selfishly, I love the character; unselfishly I just had a really good feeling about the pilot series as a whole.
Surely you’ve learned something new from every role you’ve played, whether it be about yourself or the character or something about the subject matter. What have you learned from this character?
Wow, that’s a great question actually. I haven’t gotten that one yet. I guess for me, I’m learning about how I want to be a father. I’ve never really played a dad on TV or movies and I don’t have any children of my own yet, although I come from a very tight family in Iowa. Family is very important to me and I’ve sacrificed that for my career so far, but it’s definitely something that I want sooner than later.
This is the first opportunity [I’ve had] to play a father. In the show, I’m the father of an 11-year-old girl.] I’ve learned how I want to be with my little girl. There was really no tutorial on it, no director giving me any advice, the writer didn’t give me any advice, it was kind of like, “here’s the pages, here’s your daughter, do what you want to do with it.” So I created this guy with all the circumstances that my character has, but more importantly the relationship and the love he has for his daughter supersedes anything that he’s doing in life. Basically everything he’s doing is for her.
I guess that’s what I’ve learned the most. Every time I’m in a scene with little Ada who plays young Raimey, I’m just finding more and more layers of fatherhood that I didn’t know he had.
Anything real physical that you’re doing?
I’m playing a New York undercover cop. I didn’t realize that there’s a toughness to an undercover cop, especially an New York undercover cop. That’s starting to come into play so that’s why I’m glad that I’m keeping up this routine and throwing on some muscle. I try to look the part a little bit more. It’s never too physical, but about every episode we’ll have some sort of cop-esque physical thing going on. Whether it’s a chase or a stand off. Usually some sort of muscle comes out in every episode.
In your line of work you’ve got to stay in shape. What does your fitness or diet routine look like?
I call it the trailer jailhouse workout because when we’re on set, I’m working 70 hours a week on this show. I have a really nice gym in my apartment complex, but the reality is when you work 16 hours a day, get home, the last thing you want to do is work out.
So I went out and got these fitness bands and a core ball.
I have a workout plan that’s on the wall in my trailer. Every day I just come in and I bust them out. What I tell myself is that I’m going to do a whole circuit every time I come into my trailer. Whether it’s when I start in the morning before I change to go into hair and makeup, when I come back from hair and makeup before I go to the first scene, in between every scene. If you bust out basically 20 push ups, 20 flies with the bands, 20 of everything basically. I’ll do curls, flies, shoulder presses, reverse flies, push ups, and sit ups. The whole round of 20 takes maybe 5 minutes to just bust through it.
Just doing push ups and pull ups and stuff all day…
That’s why dudes come out of jail so yoked.
How about your diet?
It’s hard to keep anything really dialed in, but I got a Magic Bullet and I keep it in my trailer. I’ve got my protein powders and all that kind of stuff. I’m just making shakes throughout the day. I usually try to get 3 shakes in. And, the guy that runs our base camp, and greets us at our trailer—we’ve already got a system down where he knows every morning to have an egg white omelet for me, except on Fridays when I tell him he can put it in a tortilla because it’s a Friday.
When I show up every day I’ve got an egg white omelet waiting for me and then three hours later, I’ll do a protein shake. Then I’ll try to go light with the lunch and then another protein shake. The third meal, usually dinner, is either a shake or something light. Just trying to eat throughout the day.
You’ve got it dialed-in!
I’m trying man, it’s really hard. It’s not really in my DNA. I’ve never been that guy. Even when I was in high school and I played athletics, I wasn’t a gym rat. The hardest part for me is the routine. Instead of trying to take myself out of my life for a routine, I just make the routine part of my life and it’s been a lot easier to do it.
In the show, your daughter speaks to you in the past through a radio. If you actually had a radio that could go back in time, who would you speak to and why?
My very first acting coach/manager when I moved to LA was a guy named Craig Wargo and Craig took me on when I just literally stepped off the boat from Iowa and he mentored me. He coached me every single day through every single audition, for every single job, and he really was a father to me for 4 or 5 years. Then he unexpectedly passed away. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him and everything we had worked for together to get to the point I’m at now. He wasn’t able to live to see that. I keep him with me a lot and I’d love to sit down and have a couple more chats with him about it.
The show takes place in the 90s. What was your favorite thing about the 90s? And how about the least favorite thing?
High school and high school.
I think the 90s were my high school years. I graduated in 96-97 so that was my senior year of high school. I think I started high school around 93 so pretty much the mid 90s was my formidable years growing up, finding myself. I have so many amazing memories about those 4 years, but at the same time so many embarrassing and hurtful memories too, right?
Check out screencaps from the interview that include screencaps from upcoming scenes in the series.
A self-described journeyman actor, Riley Smith has been in everything from “True Blood” to “Nashville.” This season he’s taking on a brand-new series: the CW’s highly anticipated adaptation of the 2000 film “Frequency.” In this version, a father and daughter (played by Smith and Peyton List) reconnect over a ham radio separated by 20 years—and inadvertently create a new tragedy that they must fight to rectify. We spoke to Smith about working with List on the series (premiering Oct. 5) and why he works so hard on auditions.
Tell us about ‘Frequency.’
I’m really excited about it. It’s a story about an ordinary father and his daughter, and they’re bound together in extraordinary circumstances nobody knows about but them. Through the season you’ll see them reconcile and work together over this 20-year time period to stop a horrible event that was triggered by their reconnection. At the heart of it, it’s a show about second chances. It’s a cool story and it’s got a lot of layers to it. I couldn’t be more proud of it, the way it turned out.
Have you ever used Backstage in the past?
I was telling a friend I was doing this interview, and back in the day I had an agent but you had to hustle. And me and my group of actor buddies would look at Backstage every single day. We used Backstage as our tool to find independent films, student films, anything.
How did you get your SAG-AFTRA card?
With a Wendy’s 99-cent chicken nugget commercial. It was my very first audition ever, and my very last commercial I ever did. I probably went on 300 commercial auditions after that, thinking it was so easy.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would say enjoy the journey. It’s really about the journey and not the destination. I did a good job of that, I think. I’ve been a journeyman actor and I like that about myself. Now! At the beginning and the middle, you just want it to happen faster. But looking back on it, I wouldn’t want it to happen any other way. Those years of other jobs and the pilots that I wish went but didn’t go, I kept thinking that was a negative thing, but really [it was] a positive thing for my development as an actor.
How do you typically prepare for an audition?
Time. I spend so much time with auditions. Peyton List, who plays my daughter in the series, and I have been acting partners for over a decade and we put in so many hours together. I had a friend over one day when Peyton came over to work with me for her test on the pilot, and we probably worked three hours just on her network test. And that was after we’d worked with her on the other rounds it took to get her there. Afterward, my buddy said, “God, you practice this long every time?” If you practice that hard, you don’t have to audition too often. In the last three or four years I haven’t had to audition as much, but when I do get them I drop everything.
What movie should every actor see?
On the way home from the upfronts a couple of months ago I came across “Glengarry Glen Ross” on the plane, and I just stopped on it because I’ve loved that movie ever since I saw it. I thought, I could watch this movie every week, it just never gets old. The acting in that from everybody… All the greats in that movie. That thing just holds up.
How did you get your first agent?
I got my first agent because I moved to New York the minute I graduated high school, and there was an acting coach there who came up to me who said, “I know an agent who I think would be perfect for you.” And he wrote down an address and I showed up and the agent basically just laughed at me because I’d walked in with a suit on. She had me read one commercial side and signed me. And she was my agent for more than a decade.
I’ve added nearly 1,000 new photos to the site this past week. This includes additional appearance photos, interview screencaps, Paley Live Panel screencaps, magazine scans, extended galleries, social media, and much more. The gallery is pretty much complete and I’ve posted some general links below to the categories and albums updates. I am so pumped for Frequency to air next week!
2016 Event: September 10 – Paleyfest Screening & Panel – new additions
2016 Magazine Scans
Daniel Bonjour Appearances & Events – recent additions
Peyton List Appearances & Events
Peyton List: Photo Sessions
Peyton List: Old Magazine Scans
Peyton List: Extended Galleries
Season One: Featurettes
Season One: Social Media Graphics