Country Boy, Granger Smith Sings of Merica, Miles & Mudtires

By Lauren Schwab

12471798_10153319352812876_8055635457767414628_oTexas country music sensation, Granger Smith, brings his part of the country across America with his debut album, Remington, and playing shows from west to east coast. Smith performed for Cincinnati fans at Bogarts on February 20. Yee Yee Nation was alive in the city. Smith took time to visit with fans during a meet and greet, autograph and take selfies on fans’ cell phones during the show. To say he shows great appreciation for his fans is an understatement. Smith knows his success and all he sings of is for his fans. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the music business, it’s that you don’t really choose this life, you are this life,” Smith said.

61140_431822887875_4775707_nSmith credits his music career to the moment he learned to play guitar. “My life changed when I was 14 years old and decided I would teach myself to play guitar. This was motivated by two things: I thought the guitar would make girls pay attention to me, and George Strait played one,” Smith said, “By the time I turned 15, I was performing weekends on small town stages in North Texas, and doing my best as a fan club member to attend every George Strait concert within driving distance. Playing high school football was an important rite of passage for me, along with hunting and fishing, but the dream of a music career consumed me.”

290408_10150290405067876_1636908329_oSmith kept his vision before his eyes, writing enough songs to make an album by age 19. “As a freshman at Texas A&M, I was able to scrape together some studio money by pre-selling the album to friends around campus. For being just a kid, that album did pretty well. It landed me a songwriting deal with EMI Music Publishing in Nashville, and the following year, I took the leap to Tennessee.”

Smith knows his time in Nashville was an important learning experience for building his career. “I absorbed the craft of songwriting from some of the best, learned my way around studios and recording gear, (which paid off for me later) and cut my teeth on countless stages as both a singer and as a steel guitar player for other singers. After four years, I had a shelf full of song demos, a little bit of music business know-how and a strong conviction to move back to Texas, finish my degree at Texas A&M, and start a band.”823587_10151311982502876_340059335_o

Moving back to College Station meant basically starting over for Smith. “The gigs were hard to book and when they did, nobody showed up to watch. But I was happy and felt creative. I saved money by making albums out of my house and using my band.”

Smith’s brother Tyler joined him and together they shared the same vision and competitive nature. Together  they were excited about proving a bunch of people wrong. “Together we conspired and worked from the ground up with the goal of not only building an artist, but a brand. We embraced social media, searched for real connections with fans, studied our predecessors and ignored our doubters. The good shows helped pay for all the bad ones, and the songs that sold helped fund all the others that didn’t. We put communities first, knowing that without the people, we were without a job.”

12771848_10153394976047876_8427187718877080042_oThey created alter-egos through videos to help promote the music and that’s where Earl Dibbles Jr. came from in the summer of 2011. “It started as a short, funny video that my brothers and I filmed out where my parents live in Central Texas, but it turned out to be something that completely changed the shape of my career. I actually like to think of it as an ‘intentional accident’ because as planned, the video went viral and became a huge promotional tool for my music. But we had no way to know if it would actually work, especially since many of my videos before it never caught fire.”

11128851_10152827419962876_7178924768961091030_oAfter independently releasing seven studio albums, one live album and two EPs, Smith finally signed his first record deal in 2015. “I met some great people at Broken Bow Music Group (BBR Music Group) in Nashville who sought us out, believed in my dedication and wanted to take what I was already doing, and magnify the message. We worked together not only as colleagues, but as friends unified on the same mission. Within only weeks of the signing, my debut single ‘Backroad Song’ was a hit at mainstream country radio faster than any of us expected.”

968825_10153296823402876_4122592364327806902_nSmith says persistence is key to career success, no matter what dream or goal you may have. “The biggest key is persistence, just sticking with it. As cliché as it sounds, just not quitting. I made the decision to stay in my region, where I’m from, start a band and build something that was my example instead of going into Nashville, LA or New York. It depends on what job you’re in, but I decided to start with the consumer, which for me is the fans. Build something small, grow outward and never quit, just keep that focus.”

224599_10150162530172876_3690678_nSmith clearly demonstrates his love for his fans and country through his music. “No matter if you’re selling albums or not. I do what I love and love what I do, and there’s no sweeter freedom than that.”

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To learn more about Granger Smith visit
www.grangersmith.com
and visit his You Tube channels:  Granger Smith and Granger Smith VEVO

 

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