Whether you know Riley Smith by name or not, you’d easily recognize him from his countless television roles on projects like “Frequency,” “Motocrossed,” “True Blood” and “Life Sentence.” Being in the entertainment industry for 20 years has allowed people to get to know his image and acting skills, but Smith’s ready for the world to get to know his voice and musical talents, as well.

The 40-year-old entertainer recently released his new solo single, “Hang,” as the introduction to a new musical project he’s working on. He kicked off his solo career last year with the release of his self-titled EP, but 2018 will find the artist continuing to ramp things up. Fans have “Nashville” to thank for that.

“I always wanted to do a solo project, but I just had to find the right time,” Smith told International Business Times. “And then when I did ‘Nashville,’ I made a lot of connections with great writers and that’s what kind of kickstarted the whole solo project that year.”

The actor, who’s set to star in the upcoming Fox drama “Proven Innocent,” played the role of Markus Keen on then-ABC (now CMT) drama “Nashville.” His character, who was featured on the show during its fourth season, was a former rock star who decided to take on the world of country music. This idea of being able to participate in multiple genres in something that Smith himself embraces.

“I’ve never really cared too much about genre because I’m not tied to a record deal, so I don’t have to fit into a box,” he told IBT. “I just kind of try to make the music that inspires me and whatever that sounds like, I’ll let people be the judge of that. But [‘Nashville’] definitely influenced it.”

riley smith new music Riley Smith is balancing new music and a new show this year. Photo: Mike Azria

He continued: “I like that because there are some writers that are really good with writing songs with a little more country sound, and there’s some writers that I worked with that are more pop writers. So, you can hear the uniqueness in each song. They’re all a bit different, but they’re all cohesive because I kept the same producer for the whole thing.”

Though he’s just now starting down the road of a solo artist, Smith has been singing since his high school days when he performed in musicals. He’s continued doing both music and acting throughout his career. While working on movies and shows over the years, Smith fronted the band The Life of Riley and put out three CDs with the group — a studio album, an EP and a collection of live songs.

After Smith wrapped “Nashville,” he decided to finally tackle music as a solo artist. He’s been putting together a lot of new music, and “Hang” is only the beginning of what he has in store for fans this year.

“I’ve got eight new songs that are in post-production and this album, I didn’t want an album,” he said. “I want to put them out as singles, actually. Just because I feel like with attention spans these days and I just feel like it’s a fun idea to roll them out. Like, make one a month for the rest of the year.”

To go with each single, Smith plans to release a unique visual, whether it’s a music video, a live music video or an acoustic performance. Going out on tour and performing these songs live is also something he’s looking forward to doing. He’s already often putting on concerts when he has time between acting roles. Fans, no matter when they started on the Riley Smith bandwagon, will enjoy his performances because he enjoys creating a setlist made up of solo music, Life of Riley tracks, cover songs and tunes from his time on “Nashville.”

Be sure to follow Smith on Twitter for the latest updates on his music, and check out his Spotify for all his new and upcoming music.