“Writing to me is almost like breathing,” he said. “Sitting on a computer typing with keys really doesn’t sit with me. It takes a bit away from it.”
Instead, the composer, singer and guitarist sits cross-legged on the hardwood floor of his studio, a small room in the back of his house. Surrounded by pages of loose-leaf paper and tattered notebooks covered in scribbles, his pen moves to strike something from the page.
“There are a lot of times that I think I’ve made a mistake and will cross out a line that will actually go into a song I’ll write six months later,” he said. The 30-year-old looks up as his 5-year-old daughter, Emery, runs across the room, and chastises her use of lip gloss with a smile. “How much of that did you put on your face?”
Smith, who’s divorced and has sole custody of Emery, said it’s easier to find time for music now that she’s older. Three years ago he had no time at all between his landscaping business, his job with the city of Oxford and caring for his daughter.
When Smith practices, Emery sings along. She knows all the lyrics, he said. She’ll sit in his studio with him, bouncing her Disney Princess ball or putting her toy angel to sleep.
“It’s pretty neat to have her influence. I love it when she sings with me now,” Smith said. “I was performing in Oxford last week and she was out there dancing.”
In August, Smith released his first album, “From the Corners of My Mind.” Instead of releasing a full album, which he had more than enough material to do, Smith decided to release an EP of only five songs.
“I’m a nobody. Throwing everything I had at people all at once didn’t seem like the right thing to do,” he said.
Still, for the self-proclaimed nobody, things are happening quickly. Production companies in Canada and Austin, Texas, are waiting on press kits and Smith’s EP has already been played in Spain, Canada, California and Florida.
“On Saturday my song, ‘Acoustic Dreams,’ was playing on a radio program like Pandora in Spain,” he said. “I got excited and called my daddy.”
Smith bought his first guitar for $20 and began playing when he was 14. He found his voice by listening to bands like U2 and REM while landscaping with his brother.
“There were more in the lyrics of a song then than there are today,” he said. “There are so many things I see in my own life and others’ lives so there’s so much to sing about. When I write a song I want it to touch someone.”
Smith writes songs about life, whether it be his own or someone else’s. His songs, “AM Moment,” “Happy Birthday” and “Acoustic Dreams” all come from his own memories. He said he used to feel like he could write better songs if he had his heart broken or broke someone else’s heart, but now he knows better
“Inspiration is everywhere and you don’t know when it’s going to hit you,” he said.
Though he is proud of his first album, Smith said there are some things he wished he had done differently — especially the CD artwork.
“The cover got messed up and it looks like something from the 1970s,” he said. “But I figure it’s all about the music anyways. I really like to know people can hear the songs, otherwise they’d just end up in a closet somewhere.”
Smith’s album, “From the Corners of My Mind,” is available on iTunes and Amazon for $5.
Staff Writer Madasyn Czebiniak: 256-235-3553. On Twitter: @Mczebiniak_star