Christian Smith is a Singer-Songwriter from Cambridge, writing in a way that fuses Americana music with hard-hitting rock melodies.
Who are your influences?
CS: Brian Fallon, Noel Gallagher, Jason Isbell, Dave Hause, Bruce Springsteen + many more
Anyone in your family musical? Describe your family member’s musical interests and abilities.
CS: Not really, music was always on and a big part of my childhood but no one in the family play any instruments or have pursued music
Which famous musicians have you learned from?
CS: Mainly the artist’s that inspire me. Brian Fallon + Bruce Springsteen in particular. They inspire honest song writing and how to be true in your songs.
How would you describe your style?
CS: Americana Rock fused with a punky edge
How many tracks have you released?
CS: Quite a few. I’ve released an E.P and an album that I class as being where my music releases properly started. I dabbled with some low budget recoding before that but they were more like demos that I shared to start with. But songs that have gained traction and airplay and the ones that I count as ‘releases’ started when I released the E.P ‘Keepsake’. Revival being the latest album.
Not wanting to talk much about Covid as we know how badly musicians have been affected, what, if any, are the positives that you have taken during this time?
CS: Time to reflect and recapture what it is I want from music and where I want to go with it.
How have you occupied yourself during lockdown?
CS: Writing a lot of new material as well as playing online livestream shows.
Do you feel lockdown has put you back a year from where you wanted to be, or has it gone the other way?
CS: 100%. This tour was initially arranged for April 2020 and I had planned to build on it. But there’s nothing we can do about it now, just take what’s been learned from the situation and move forward.
How excited are you now that you have a UK Tour booked in?
CS: Extremely! It’s been a while since I’ve played some of these cities, I can’t wait to get back out and play to people again, especially with a whole bunch of newly written songs that haven’t been heard yet.
Do you think it is easier or harder these days to be a musician?
CS: It varies. The takeover of social media makes everything more accessible but it also present more of a challenge to stay relevant as there are so many artist’s trying to achieve the same thing that you’re aiming for.
Have you played any festivals? What are they like for you?
CS: I’ve played a lot of festivals, each one very different to the others, I love playing festivals as they open you up to a much wider audience that might not have discovered your music if not for being in that place at that time.
Which song do you most like to perform, and why?
CS: It has to be Auburn Sky, This was the first release from my album ‘Revival’ and it got such an incredible response when we released it. Especially as it charted inside the top 5 of the iTunes country chart. It definitely seems to be a crowd favourite at shows now.
What types of music do you enjoy listening to when you are hanging out?
CS: I have a very extensive taste in music. I can go from listening to country to pop punk and anything in between. Some of my favourites to listen to lately have been: Oasis, Gerry Cinnamon, Dave Hause
What’s your song writing process? What comes first lyrics or melody?
CS: It generally depends on where I am and how the idea comes up. Lately I have a bunch of lyric ideas stored in my phone so when I sit down, I work out a chord pattern on an acoustic and see if any of the ideas can fit into a song.
Would you say your sound has developed over the years, and now do you feel it is in the right place?
CS: Definitely. I started out as a singer songwriter writing lyrics over an acoustic chord pattern, but I now tend to write songs with the intention of building them into full studio tracks, paying attention to where other parts may fit into the song to make it sound the best it can.
What musician, other than yourself, have you ever wanted to be?
CS: I’ve always been fascinated with the Gallagher brothers (Noel and Liam). Watching oasis create what they created in the 90’s was incredible and I always wondered what that might have been like.
What artist/group would you like to support?
CS: Too many to note! The Gaslight Anthem, Dave Hause, Bruce Springsteen, Lucero
If you could choose any singer/musician to join you on stage, who would it be and why?
CS: That’s a HUGE question! If we’re talking world dominating tour where you can choose any artist in the world then I’d have to say Springsteen! Imagine the reaction!
What’s your favourite condiment?
CS: BBQ Sauce! On anything!
What’s different in the music industry today compared to when you first started?
CS: I mean, I didn’t start that long ago but there’s definitely been an influx of new artists, which is great, it’s always good to see new artists breaking out. It does mean that opportunities become tighter for everyone though as there are just so many artists around now! Everything’s gone a lot more digital now as well, when I started out, releasing a physical E.P was an incredible thing, whereas everything now seems to go through Spotify, which has it perks and is great in its own way but I do feel that it takes something away from releasing physical music.
What would you do differently if you were just entering the industry today?
CS: Take chances as soon as they arise and consider international gigs sooner, I feel I learnt a lot from touring abroad and if I’d have learnt some of those things a bit sooner I think they could have helped a lot. Also, collaborate with other artists/producers more. There are so many different opinions and thought processes that can help with what you’re creating.
What do you enjoy most about being a musician? What do you hate most?
CS: The part I enjoy the most has to be touring as it allows me to see so many new places and play to so many different people. I wouldn’t say I HATE anything but the thing that I dislike a lot is how so many artists see the music industry as a big competition and tend to not support other artists because of it. If you’re not playing a show and another band/artist is, go along and support them!!
What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?
CS: Listening to R.E.M and Dire Straits in the car on the way to a holiday growing up. The soundtracks to those journeys definitely inspired me to get into music.
Do you get nervous before a performance?
CS: I used to. I think once you get used to being on stage, the nerves turn to excitement and eventually you start to get more of a buzz to do it rather than nerves.
What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?
CS: Just go out and enjoy it. Be OK with not getting it perfect first time. Just keep going and learn from every show you play. The nerves will subside eventually.
What album has got you through some hard times?
CS: Handwritten by The Gaslight Anthem, that’s a go to album now!
How do you find the recording process?
CS: Exciting yet can be tiring. I love the feeling of getting into a studio and starting work on a new project. Seeing an album/ E.P all come together is one of the best things about being in music. Yet on the flip side, the amount of work that goes into these projects does mean that you’re in for long days and you have to put in the hours to get the best finished product. It is tiring but it’s so worth it.
A shortened version of this interview first appeared on GrapevineLIVE.