On A High Note

Joanna Smith – a real tribute to country music

Joanna Smith

Joanna Smith

Joanna Smith

If you spend any time in Nashville, you will hear bustling throughout the bushes, with many a soul sighing and groaning about the lack of “country” in country music.

Well – fear no more – Joanna Smith may save the day…or at least the ear of the listener who is praying for “country” music.

A native of Georgia, Smith has been in Nashville for just under 8 years, and has made some significant strides. But according to her bio, she has thought of herself as a country music singer ever since she was 5 years old. At that time, her mother had entered her in the Little Miss King Cotton Horse Show pageant, and each contestant had an interview…and one of the questions was: Now Joanna, what would you like to be when you grow up?” Her response was: “…well, I’m already a country music singer, I just don’t get to get up on stage much.” The next week she had a gig singing at the Little Miss Peanut pageant.

Growing up in Georgia, Smith says she was a farm girl, and also had a huge fondness for horses. When her dad brought home their first horse, she couldn’t wait to get on it…and even stood on the tailgate, so her dad could lift her on to ride behind him. And though she still has that same love for horses today – and loves to ride her own horse, Jack, when she’s at home in Nashville, with radio tours, writing and recording, it doesn’t always leave as much time for riding as she would like.

After leaving high school, Smith originally attended college at Auburn to study political science. But she only attended for a year, before she found herself entering a talent show, then auditioning with a band, and alas, moving to Nashville; which proved to be a good move. And though she admits it was a little hard on her parents to see her leave college to follow her dream, Smith says they have always been supportive of her and her music.

At a recent showcase at 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville, there was an overwhelming turnout and great response to Smith’s performance. Not only is she an incredibly gifted singer and songwriter, it turns out she is also genuine, charming, and almost – dare we say it – wholesome? The whole audience seemed to be intrigued by the girl on the stage who was shimmering – not only in dress – but who was also shining on in her gracious performance. She thanked the audience appropriately, told the right stories or made the right introductions…and yet none of it seemed “pre-planned” – even if it had been. It was overall, a refreshing experience for those in attendance.

With a lilt of “Dolly” in her speaking voice, her southern draw – truly “draws” you in, and is only personified by her humanness and obvious love for what she is doing. But despite the little “Dolly-ism”, and though admittedly a huge fan of Dolly’s (can you name someone who isn’t?) Smith says she was also greatly influenced by Reba McIntyre, KT Oslin and Patty Loveless.

Joanna Smith

Joanna Smith

Since being in Nashville, she has written with many incredible songwriters, some who could only be called “greats” in the songwriting world. From Jim McCormick and Aaron Scherz, to Jeffrey Steele & Leslie Satcher – Smith has earned herself a spot with some of Nashville’s finest. And Smith says she is even open to recording songs she didn’t write on, such as her new single, “We Can’t Be Friends,” – that was written by Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Shelley Skidmore.

Having performed at the world famous “Tootsies Orchid Lounge” for four years before being “discovered” is also part of Joanna’s hat-rack of Nashville experiences. She no longer plays there, but says it gave her time to learn how to really express herself – and give the song what it deserved – by way of her voice.

When asked to relate a little of her experience with the recording experiences as it pertains to “the record deal,” Smith says she thinks every artist is different. For her, she has had the opportunity to work with several great producers to date, but considers Buddy Cannon to be her current producer, as he produced her last 7 songs, and she feels honored to work with him.

A few final questions:
Q: Joanna, what is something your fans might be surprised to learn about you?
A: I think they’d probably be surprised to learn that when I first moved to Nashville, I majored in International politics at Vanderbilt.

Q: Are you big into politics now?
A: Well – I love it; maybe not domestic politics – because I think all of us get disillusioned with that. But I like to follow international events – Syria, Africa – you know anything humanitarian is what sparks my interest.

Joanna Smith and her horse, Jack

Joanna Smith and her horse, Jack

Q: What are your long term goals for your music?
A: Well, I’m not sure I’ll get this quote right, but there’s an expression that says something like: “If you shoot for the moon, you’ll land among the stars” and I’m a big dreamer. I went to see U2’s 360 tour last summer and I’d love to land somewhere in that big of a production…and reach that many people. That would be great.

Joanna Smith is currently signed with Sony Music Nashville, and her latest single is: “We Can’t Be Friends.” Also look for and enjoy her previous singles: “Georgia Mud” and “Gettin’ Married.”

For more, visit www.joannasmithofficial.com or email Craig Campbell at Campbell Entertainment: craig@campbellentertainmentgroup.com