We’ve written about AJ Smith a few times here on EP, back in 2020 with his single, ‘Billy Joel’, and most recently about the video for his latest release, ‘Nobody’. The video for his new track sees him put his best Regency Style foot forward, proving that the Nashville-based (yes!) artist is both talented and dashing as well. And so, gentle reader, Lisa asked Mr Smith to the ball…figuratively speaking.
Loving your video for ‘Nobody’ – it’s a very appropriate clip for now when everyone is experiencing Bridgerton fever! How did you come up with the concept?
Well, I have Bridgerton fever too! The song itself is about the temptation to act fake and use people on the road to trying to become “somebody” and it’s an attitude I really want to distance myself from. I found that clout-chasing type mentality super present in the Bridgerton environment. It’s part of what makes everything so dramatic. But it’s exhausting! So it felt like a perfect world in which to place my story.
You’re very good in the video – so much drama! Have you ever thought about getting into acting more seriously?
Thank you! I absolutely adore acting. And I’m challenging myself to improve those chops even more. It’s definitely something I would love to get into more seriously, but being engaged to an actress, I realize that it’s very much another full dedicated craft. So I’ll keep honing that craft through my music videos and hopefully I’ll eventually have enough acting chops to go after some more serious roles elsewhere!
You live in Nashville, essentially the heart of country music in the US – yet your style is pop rock. Did you ever contemplate going down the country route or do you feel there’s enough room in Nashville for pop artists as well?
I’m down to write anything for anyone and collaborate in any way on making cool music. The really amazing thing about being in a country-driven town is that there are just incredible musicians…really talented players in town. It’s influenced my sound, for sure, as I find myself playing my instruments live more than relying on synths – my records have been super guitar heavy lately, and that’s probably no accident, given my surroundings!
How’s the pandemic been treating you? How much of an effect has it had on your music career, and what’s next for you now that we’re moving out the other side?
It’s both been brutal and inspiring. I feel like I was on the brink of some really incredible success, but then COVID hit and touring opportunities vanished. In many ways, it was eye-opening though because now I’m putting out music at a pace I never have in my career – call it a new lease on life or new perspective, but I’m really motivated to share my art with people and hope that it can find the ones that need it.
Who or what inspires you the most in terms of music, and life?
Tough question! I’m inspired by a lot of what I read, the music I seek, and the people in my life. I love a good book. And I’m a sucker for a fantasy novel, for building a world where a person’s purpose is clearly laid out and, even if there are struggles, there’s a sense of destiny and going after dreams against all odds.
Musically, I draw from so many sources – classic rock and over-the-top personalities tend to speak loudly to me. From Queen or The Zombies to fun. and Panic at the Disco! to Harry Styles and The Struts – I love them all and dare to capture an ounce of the epic sounds they create.
If you could have a re-do, what, if anything, would you do differently, and why?
I would get a major in Music business and moved to Nashville sooner so that I could have been in the creative industry environment that treats music making like the job that it is earlier.
What’s the top 4 songs on your playlist right now, and what is it about them that put them there?
Could have been me – The Struts (My drummer’s favorite band)
Dress – Charlotte Sands (Absolutely love her work and this song is gold)
Better – AJ Smith (my newest song!)
Another One Bites the Dust – Queen (you’ll get why after you hear my next song, out June 3!)
What’s your favourite instrument to play? Do you have a favourite brand you always go back to, and if so, why?
Right now, I’m having a new tryst with my guitar. Fender, right now. I love my strat and tele.
Finally – what question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, and what’s the answer to that question?
I only want you to ask what you want to know! But, in this world of “what next” I guess, I’d only want you to ask me what I’ve got planned next so that I could have an excuse to tease what’s on the horizon. And the answer there would be more music, more music videos, more dramatic stories, and I hope, a whole lot of opportunities for us to sing in person together.