July 7, 2022

The leisure business loves an excellent story of survival. The extra compelling, the higher. Properly, if rising nation singer-songwriter Nate Smith has something going for him, it’s a extremely shifting backstory — a phoenix-y one about endurance and optimism within the face of tragedy. I’m not even being hyperbolic: Throughout the final 15-ish years, Smith’s tried to make it in Nashville a number of instances, skilled a divorce, and misplaced every thing he owned within the 2018 Paradise, California Camp Fireplace, together with his guitar. The bio virtually writes itself.

However now? Smith is signed to Sony Music Nashville and is taking up each TikTok Billboard’s Rising Artists chart together with his breakup ballad “Whiskey On You” — an enormously satisfying nation kiss-off anthem that sounds prefer it may’ve come from a Carrie Underwood-taught masterclass. Audiences are actually responding to Smith, who hit #1 on the aforementioned Rising Artists chart. “Whiskey On You” at present has greater than 8 million streams on Spotify.

“Whiskey On You” IS a country-pop crossover banger. The manufacturing is tight and crisp, and Smith’s vocals have oomph however are audibly weathered. The lyrics aren’t advanced, however they’re universally interesting, with a post-romance Smith sounding fed up with himself: “To hell with the lonely, and the why-don’t-you-want-me/ Yeah, bartender pour me a farewell spherical.” The music’s composition, too, is historically compact however performs with the pop framework by looping in a shredding guitar solo.

It’s arduous to not be compelled by Smith’s story. Initially from Paradise, he grew up listening to a spread of artists, each nation and never — Elvis, Bob Seger, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Nirvana, Garth Brooks, Michael Jackson — and was lively in his church, the place he was a worship chief. In his early 20s, Smith moved to Nashville, bought signed to a Christian music label, Phrase Data, and bought a publishing cope with Centricity Music. Round this time, he opened for artists like Brett Eldredge, Eli Younger Band, and X Ambassadors.

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Nashville didn’t stick, although. As Smith instructed Leisure Focus: “I had a publishing deal in Nashville, wrote songs for different folks, , however then I went by way of a tough divorce, it was arduous for each of us. We tried and tried and couldn’t make it work, and it left me not in an excellent place mentally and emotionally, and I simply wanted to be with my household once more. I form of left Nashville with my tail between my legs, and I misplaced my publishing deal as a result of I left city too.

“I used to be by no means planning on being an artist once more,” he continued. “I used to be going to be a nurse. I had been saying I used to be going to be a nurse for 13 years and by no means really went to high school to do it.” So Smith took a job at a hospital in his hometown, after which the Paradise fireplace occurred. Smith misplaced every thing. Whereas his household picked up and moved to Idaho, Smith began writing music once more.

“I began writing extra music after that time and performed reveals,” he mentioned. “My mates had all been encouraging me to make the transfer again to Nashville, so that they began a GoFundMe for me to get again. I packed up my automotive and drove throughout America for a month and a half, residing out of my automotive. Once I bought to Nashville, I met some unimaginable individuals who have been able to assist me out, and I ultimately landed administration, reserving, publishing and a file deal in just below a 12 months.”

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Collectively together with his pal Miykael Goodwin, Smith wrote “One Of These Days” as a tribute to Paradise, they usually launched the hometown pleasure observe beneath the moniker Chilly Climate Sons. “One Of These Days” took off on social media after Smith carried out it on an area information channel, singing, “I can nonetheless bear in mind the primary time that I fell in love with this city. The tall inexperienced timber, the mountain breeze, the lady that made me shake in my knees. I’m going to overlook it. I already miss it.” Some constructive press protection inspired Smith to go again to Nashville, and his subsequent single, “Wildfire,” went viral on TikTok with 3 million views.

The mix of native press protection and constructing an natural viewers on the still-fledgling video platform little question helped Smith nab a file cope with Sony Music Nashville, who launched his subsequent single, “Raised Up,” final 12 months. You’ll be able to see the trail to “Whiskey” on the piano-led “Raised Up,” which finds Smith leaning into that beaten-broken-down survivalist narrative. It’s clear how the business’s promoting Smith: He’s a homegrown man, somebody you’d have a beer with. He’s taken some knocks, however he’s a lot stronger for it. He’s nonetheless devotional, however not isolating. Musically, he’s a vocal powerhouse, however his pitch has a gruff, ragged edge. I don’t imply to current any of this cynically — Smith’s output since signing with Sony went from “having potential” to “pristine.” No matter producer/co-writer collaborations Sony’s bringing to the desk look and sound nice on him.

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This previous 12 months, Smith teamed up with Tenille Townes on the wedding-ready “I Don’t Wanna Go To Heaven.” (He’d initially launched “Heaven” final 12 months, however it sounds method higher as a duet.) That just about brings us as much as “Whiskey On You,” which, in comparison with Smith’s earlier singles, is a pleasant change of tempo. Smith was already promising as an earnest albeit roughed-up balladeer with songs about love, hope, group, and only a sprinkle of worship-speak, however “Whiskey” is a unifying blast of fuck-you enjoyable — you may hoedown to it at any bar, anyplace all over the world. Hopefully extra songs prefer it are on the best way.