Smithfield is a musical duo from Texas formed in 2011 by vocalists and life-long friends Jennifer Fielder and Trey Smith. The duo, now based in Nashville, Tennessee, is working on producing their unique country music that has a distinctive rock edge. Smithfield recently granted a joint exclusive interview, where they discussed their career, current projects, and hopes for the future:
Meagan Meehan (MM) of Entertainment Vine: How did you get into country music and how would you describe your personal style within the genre?
Jennifer Fielder (JF): My dad and grandma introduced me to country music at a very young age. My first records were a Patsy Cline greatest hits album, Faith hill, and Leanne Rimes. I absolutley fell in love with Genre from those influences. I also grew up singing country music since I was nine years old at Opry’s all over the state of Texas. I love all types of music, but country was always my heart and soul and what I was drawn to pursue.
Trey Smith (TS): I was first introduced to country music when I was four years old. I remember being in the living room, watching the Garth Brooks live from Central Park on TV. I was so mesmerized by the songs and his performance. Then later on in life, I discovered Keith Urban, who really kind of pulled me back into the country scene, since I had spent most of my teenage and college years playing and singing alternative rock/pop music. I think I for sure fit in the vein of a blend of the two. I tend to have a more rock/pop vocal, but sing country music.
MM: You’ve been friends since you were kids so how do you think your bond has impacted your music?
Smithfield: We believe that it has made our music career and songwriting that much better being as close as we are from a very young age. There is a level a trust and bond that comes with knowing someone that long that you can’t manufacture. We are comfortable in the writer’s room to share our feelings and ideas without having to worry about hurting each other’s feelings if we don’t like something. Also, when making career decisions it is so important to know that we have each other’s back and truly want what is best for each other as a whole and not individual. It’s makes us very unique.
MM: What inspired you to collaborate in the first place?
JF: Trey had reached out to me on Facebook when we were both in college because his rock band had broken up and he thought a duo would be a good idea to try. I was so hesitant at first because I had been doing my own thing, but again because we were so close and he was family friend all these years I couldn’t say no. He came over to sing with me and we discovered that our harmony together was truly something special. and the rest is history!
TS: I think to sing harmony really well with someone else, you almost have to be able to anticipate every little detail when they’re singing, so I think that certainly plays a big role in why our harmony has become our strongest suite. There’s also a comfortability that you have with someone on stage when you’re so familiar with them, and that turns in to great stage chemistry.
MM: When did you decide you wanted to make music for a living and what have been some of the big highlights so far?
JF: I have known since I was nine years old that I wanted to do this. What nine-year-old already knows what they want to be? I did…I always have known I was destined to do this. For me playing the Grand Ole Opry and hearing our music on the radio have been two of the biggest highlights. Things that I only could dream would ever happen.
TS: I decided to pursue music professionally after our first trip to Nashville. We visited during CMA fest in 2011, and had met with an agent at WME who told us that if we got serious about it, that we could have a shot. It really kind of took that kind of obvious thing for me to say, “ok, this is what we’re supposed to do”. Since then, there have been several highlights, but I must say that hearing our song on the radio for the very first time was something I had dreamed about since I was a little kid. That was very special moment for me.
MM: What are some of your favorite or most special interactions with fans?
Smithfield: The most special interactions are being out on the road all over the country and seeing them sing our songs with us. As songwriters and as artists that is the coolest bond you could ever have. One woman though at this moment stands out. After a show in Philly she came up crying her eyes out saying how much our music meant to her, and that it has helped her personally get through some things in her life. That is why we do what we do. Music us meant to make you feel something, We hope to continue to impact people’s lives through our music.
MM: How many songs have you written in total and do you have any that you consider favorites?
Smithfield: Gosh we have probably written over 250 songs to date. We definitely have favorites. “Hey Whiskey” was one of the special ones that you just don’t write every day. It’s probably the top for us..so far….
MM: You released a new single, “When You’re Gone,” last Friday. What inspired that song specifically?
Smithfield: Trey had the title “When You’re Gone”, but had the idea of it being a sad song like when your physically gone after a relationship. We all decided it was too serious and had been done before. After a song like “Hey Whiskey” the bar is raised pretty high to write clever ideas and lyrics. Brennin our co- writer had the lead guitar lick down that morning before we even showed up and we totally dug it. It was vibey and different from anything we had done before. Through our conversations we discovered writing it from a different angle would make it stand out. “When You’re Gone” as in when your tipsy. It’s a sexy, sultry tune about a guy whose girl turns him on when she has a little too much to drink. She’s the perfect girl that everyone wants to be at the party and he can’t believe he is with her.
Coming up next is making more music! We are so excited about this next project we have been working on. Our plan is to have it out by the fall this year. We are also all over the country this summer playing the major country music festivals into the fall! To learn more, visit our website–“Smithfield Music”–and search for us on iTunes.