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From: Alexandria, La.
Lives: Nashville
Age: 23
EP: Fear of Missing Out
Single: “Load It Up”
Twitter: @AlexSmithMusic
Website: AlexSmithMusic.net
Showcase: Nov. 17, The Country Nashville
Up to Speed
For 23-year-old Louisiana native Alex Smith, country music is in his blood—both his grandfather and father were guitarists—but it took a popular video game to convince Alex to pick up his first axe at 13 years old. After honing his guitar skills in high school during church services, Alex caught the performance bug playing gigs around his college town at the University of Louisiana Lafayette. After graduating, Alex packed his bags for Nashville in July and has since dropped his debut EP, Fear of Missing Out, which features the current single, “Load It Up.”
Guitar Heroes
“Both my dad and my grandpa play very different styles of guitar, and I like to think I got a little of both of them in my style. My grandpa is very old-school guitar and plays nothing but country and gospel, while my dad is on the opposite side of the spectrum playing nothing but jazz and intricate song structures. So I had an unusual mix growing up with those two styles, but that put me where I am today. I love country, but I also love stuff that’s a little more intricate, whether lyrics or chords or song arrangement, I like for it to have a little something extra to it.”
Tuning Up
“I remember taking piano lessons as a kid, but I dropped those in two seconds like everyone does. I didn’t pick up a guitar until the video game Guitar Hero came out when I was in eighth grade. I was at my buddy’s house and saw Guitar Hero with that first red guitar that plugged into the Xbox. I had never heard of it. We popped it in and started getting pretty good at it, and it was fun, and I was like, ‘Man, I wonder what it would be like to do this for real?’ My friend had a guitar at his house so we learned [Deep Purple’s] ‘Smoke on the Water,’ like everyone does, and that sparked it for me. Immediately, I went to my dad and he taught me some basic stuff. By that Christmas, he bought me a Baby Taylor guitar and then I just learned everything from YouTube, teaching myself. My parents were splitting up at the time, and I think guitar was my copping mechanism. I went to live with my mom and that’s the reason I was learning off YouTube, and I’d go to my dad’s place a couple of times a week and ask him questions.”
Getting Schooled
“I went to a catholic high school in Louisiana and started playing guitar during mass as a junior and senior. That was a big deal at the time because I was playing in front of the whole school. But even then, I didn’t sing much at all. I went to college in Lafayette and was bartending and saw some of my buddies playing music and making money. So I learned a lot of songs and everything kind of snowballed from there. I picked up a gig at a pool party at the apartment complex where I lived. A bar owner was there and offered me another gig. I ended up playing around town after that. I started writing, I’m not sure how. I just started coming up with chord progressions and putting lyrics down. But I was playing mostly covers around Louisiana. That’s how I made money and kept getting booked. I was making summer trips to Nashville, but I moved here in July once I graduated.”
Channeling Fear
“My new EP is called Fear of Missing Out. It’s six tracks that I cut at [Nashville’s] Blackbird Studios last summer with my producer Ryan Sutton. All six songs are originals that I wrote. It was my first step, that’s how I look at it. For me to be able to do anything in this town, I felt like I needed some music out for people to listen to and grow a fan base. For the last seven weeks, I’ve been on a radio tour, getting the ball rolling. I love the EP. It’s crazy to see people reacting to it. To hear someone say they like your songs and to watch your streams go up, I had no idea what to expect. It’s been a very humbling yet great experience overall, for sure.”
Locked & Loaded Up
“My single, ‘Load It Up,’ is kind of my college party song. It summed up my college years of going out and having a good time with my friends. It’s funny because I wrote it about this bar in Lafayette—Jefferson Street Pub—and that’s where we always went and hung out. I wrote it with that in mind, and that’s the first place I heard the song play when it was out after it was produced. It was awkward as hell because I didn’t expect it, and all my friends go crazy and look at me, and I didn’t know what to do. It finishes, and I still didn’t know what to do. You can’t sit there and sing to it and dance to it—not your own song [laughing]. But they actually play it pretty regularly at Jefferson’s as their closing song now. So when 2 a.m. hits, my song plays and drives the people out. Hopefully it gets stuck in their heads. Right now it’s doing really well, No. 44 on Billboard’s Indicator chart and No. 46 on the Music Row chart.”

 


Source: Country Weekly

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