You might remember the man from his two black-and-white art covers for Summer Rain and Everything To Me, two singles that gave us a pretty good idea of who Alex Smart is. Enough to want to interview him as the first artist of 2022. The Country artist from Greer, South Carolina, uses his guitar as the medium to his soul, as the keyhole for the public to peek through. Inside, you’ll see a family man, a loving husband, a dedicated musician, and most recently, a hard-working businessman. Read on to meet Alex Smart. Figuratively but also very literally as we’ve linked his social media accounts at the bottom of the interview 😉
There is a mesmerizing quality about Alex’s image and music. This is not a guy here to impress you or convince you. He’s here to sing his heart out, play his guitar, and profess his love for his wife and family. He comes off so unapologetically authentic, stolid, and unaffected by the outer world that you feel tempted to ask if he needs travel buddies or just someone to help with cleaning around the house.
“So what’s your own favorite song?” goes our opening question because you know, we at Blue Rhymez Entertainment don’t do anything by the norm. “Wow, coming out hot with the first question! That’s a tough one. I think right now my favorite song is How I Rolled. That song is inspired by my son and my own childhood. I tried to portray it as clearly as possible from the very first verse. We all come to know the meaning of friends, family, getting older, mistakes, and the dream of being something bigger.”
How I Rolled is indeed a spectacular display of vivid details and of course, the very manly, raspy, yet warm voice of Alex Smart. Slingshots and baseball gloves/ Grass stained jeans and BB-guns/ A lego house when that monster comes/ And tears it to the ground/ Magic sets and puzzle boards/ Batman poster on the door/ Steel pot hats, sticks for swords/ Just a king with a paper crown, goes the first verse of How I Rolled for those who remember better when seeing rather than hearing.
One more song and you’ll find yourself wondering how did this man become so comfortable with wearing his heart on his sleeve? Sure, we all go through different phases in life but few have the courage to go for the real depth of it AND share it with the world. “I am comfortable telling my story because that’s just who I am,” says Alex. To which he adds, “I’m not trying to be anyone I’m not. When I first started writing songs in my late teens, I would try to write similar songs I heard on the radio. Because I did not live the story or really believe the words I was saying, they all came out like garbage. To me, the best songs are the ones where you can feel the writer’s emotion in the story.” And yes, we highlighted that one sentence for all the indie artists reading this interview. Sometimes you need to be reminded of that.
When asked WHY Country, Alex Smart enjoys taking his time answering and for good reason. “Country music has always been a part of my life. There is just something about it to me that feels like home. Some of my fondest childhood memories were riding around with my dad in his Volkswagen convertible singing to John Michael Montgomery’s Be My Baby Tonight or to George Strait and Alan Jackson. There is a truth to the genre that I am drawn to and that is why I am still singing it today. I draw inspiration from many different artists. If I had to name a few, I would say I’ve been influenced by Tom Petty, Jason Isbell, and Eric Church. Each of them has inspired and influenced the way that I write music. I’m in awe of Tom Petty’s sound, Jason Isbell’s lyricism, and Eric Church’s wild wordplay and melodies.”
A guitar always takes on the mood the artist engraves upon it. You want it dark, dark it will go. You want it light and breezy, follow it will. Alex Smart’s guitar is a tranquil one. Just like the music the talent has been professionally writing and releasing for the past two years. “I have been playing the guitar for nearly 20 years. I got my first guitar when I was about 10 years old as a Christmas gift from my parents. It had spent around three years in the closet before I decided I wanted to learn to play. I went through a big rock ‘n’ roll phase around the same time, listening to Slash with Guns N’ Roses, and Kirk Hammett from Metallica really made me say “I want to do that!” At that time, my dad signed me up for lessons with Eric Blackmon, an incredible guitar teacher in Greenville SC. I took lessons with him for a few years on and off and have been playing ever since,” shares Alex Smart.
“How do you go about writing your songs?,” one must know as Alex Smart’s creativity is screamingly and beautifully endless. When you think you’ve reached the end of Country variations, this man is waiting for you right there with his acoustic guitar ready to take on the challenge without even trying. He’s just made of another mold. “Well first and foremost, I need quiet. I’ve read articles in the past from songwriters who can pen a hit in no time at all in a loud coffee shop. That’s not the way my brain works. I need my quiet place to focus on my thoughts or I get a lot of nothing. My go-to writing spots are my home office or my truck. As I’m sure you probably know, the creative process changes here and there. Nine times out of ten though, for me it all starts with the guitar. I’ll start playing until I find something I like and from there I’ll jot down ideas. I use the recordings on my phone and just embrace the trial and error until I’ve got something locked down,” explains the Country singer.
We admire when an independent musician KNOWS who he is and what he needs. In today’s world, it is scarily easy to get swayed by the loud music professionals and masters when the truth of the matter is that art CAN NOT be pinned down. You can guess it, estimate it, generalize it, but there will NEVER be one formula for all genres or musicians. And Alex Smart knows this.
Usually, musicians have a fat learning curve when they start approaching their talent from the perspective of a potential full-time career. “What was the hardest thing to accept since you’ve become a professional artist 2 years ago?” To which Alex responds that that was a good question and adds: “In the past, all I ever had to worry about was writing songs. Now a lot of my time consists of promoting and marketing through social media and other local sources. I am not just a songwriter/musician anymore, I’m also a business owner, a marketing manager, a self-promoter, a husband, and a father. I also work full-time to support my family AND my music career. So to sum it all up, I guess the hardest thing to accept was that it is not just about the music anymore.”
After more details on how Alex Smart came to BE Alex Smart, the Country singer proves that behind every great man, there’s a mom before anyone else: “Generally, my family has really supported me. But if I had to pick one person, I would say that would be my mom. She’s always made me feel like I was a thousand times better than I really was. Ha! She still makes me feel like that today honestly. From 4th grade chorus-singing Christmas carols outside of the local grocery store, to today singing my own songs around Upstate South Carolina, it is something else knowing that she is always there for me.” Alex, I think other artists would happily pay to hire your mom as a hype woman.
Do y’all remember how much sh*t Post Malone had to eat in 2017 as a Hip Hop head listening to Bob Dylan? Sincerely, it is high time we stopped stigmatizing artists just off the genre they make or they listen to. They’re ARTISTS. To prove this, now we have a Country artist, a well-rounded family man who we admire and highly favor sharing one of the coolest things of February 2022.
“What song of another genre do you secretly enjoy listening to?” we ask of Alex Smart.
“Hands down Juicy from The Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready To Die album!” he answers without pondering. End of story. For this chapter, not for the interview.
As in all of our interviews, we like posing one abstract question to really get a glimpse of the creative mind’s core. Alex’s fun question was: “If Country music was a landform, which one would it be and why?” And allow us to add a swift remark: Alex Smart holds true to his name.
“At first glance, I think most people would say Country music is most like hills or mountains. But honestly, I feel Country is more of a cave. It’s a landform you recognize right away from the outside, but once you step inside, it could be something completely different. Country music can come in many different forms and styles and that is what I love about it,” details the artist with enthusiasm. Well, we now got a philosopher too, ay?
“What are your plans for this year?” we ask as we’re nearing the end of the interview. “I’ve got some exciting things happening! I thought I would let you be the first to know, I have another EP scheduled to come out later this year. I am really excited about this project and cannot wait to release it for everyone to hear. I can’t really talk about it too much at the moment, but what I can say is that you can expect something different from this one!” hypes us up Alex Smart while not revealing anything specific. We’ll have to wait and discover for ourselves.
“How about any special shoutouts?” we ask the last question. To which the artist grabs the opportunity to let the readers know who he appreciates the most in his life: “Yeah, first off I wanna give a big shout out to all of my fans for all the support and love that they have shown me! Also a shout out to my producer, Ben Reno, for working with me and treating my family and me like his own. Of course my wife, Nicole, for always believing in me and pushing me to be not just a better artist, but a better man.”
You can personally reach out and share your interview and music impressions with Alex Smart on Facebook or Instagram. Make sure you also do your part in supporting indie artists by adding Alex’s songs to your playlist on Amazon HERE, on YouTube Music HERE, on Deezer HERE, on Apple Music HERE, and on Spotify below:
Interview conducted by Mariana Berdianu
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