Moms Of Country Stars Share How They Supported Their Kids’ Early Dreams On ‘Got It From My Momma’ Podcast

Recorded just south of Nashville in Brentwood, Tenn., the Got It From My Momma Podcast series launched on November 29 and features in-depth interviews with the moms of country music stars who share never-before-heard stories and parenting advice that is…

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Nicole Palsa

Nicole Palsa is a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Since 2012, she has written about the newcomers, superstars, and legends of country music for publications including Music Mayhem, Country Now, and Country Music Tattle Tale. Nicole has served as a volunteer guide with Musicians On Call since 2016 and is a Troubadour member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications and her Bachelor of Arts degree in French. In addition to being a devoted country music fan, Nicole is a family historian and genealogist who can often be found in stacks of research. She is also an avid traveler with a passion for wildlife and nature photography.

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Posted on December 19, 2022

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Lauren Alaina’s Mom Kristy White and Jennifer Vickery Smith; Photo Provided

Recorded just south of Nashville in Brentwood, Tenn., the Got It From My Momma Podcast series launched on November 29 and features in-depth interviews with the moms of country music stars who share never-before-heard stories and parenting advice that is relatable to any mom.

From Thomas Rhett to Parker McCollum, Lauren Alaina and Luke Bryan, host Jennifer Vickery Smith sits down with their moms to chat about their experiences raising the stars of today.

Smith chatted with Music Mayhem about the moment that sparked the idea for her new podcast, how she supported her own son’s musical aspirations and more.

As the mother of a fast-rising country singer/songwriter herself, Smith was inspired to start the podcast as a way of building a community she didn’t have yet. Her son Conner Smith signed a record deal at just 19 years old, so when he was in high school and other moms were often talking about college visits, she was seeking guidance about publishing deals and recording contracts.

“There’s not a lot of people that a mom can just pick up the phone and call and chat about that type of thing,” says Smith.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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When Connor made his Grand Ole Opry debut on May 28, 2022, his family and friends celebrated afterwards at the Nashville Palace, a classic honky tonk and restaurant across the street from the famed Opry House. At the celebration, Jennifer reflected on their journey and started brainstorming out loud, telling her friends “I would love to just be able to talk to other moms about how they supported their kids’ dreams through the process and how other artists got started.” Her supportive friends said they’d love to hear those types of conversations, so Jennifer began working on a podcast.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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As she started thinking about the themes she wanted to tackle in these intimate conversations, it was important for her to talk about the role that faith has played for families. “It’s been so important for ours,” she shares. Jennifer also wanted to peel back the layers of how fame impacts a family throughout an artist’s journey. “There isn’t anyone in the family that it doesn’t impact or affect… kind of the whole family goes along on the journey.”

In the first episode, Smith sat down with Thomas Rhett’s mom, Paige Lankford, and discussed the role of faith and family in country music and her proudest moment as his mom.

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Reflecting on her own son Conner, Smith says that she’s most proud of his character, “how he treats people off the stage.” She adds, “There’s a lot of pressure, a lot of things standing on a young man’s shoulders that he’s in charge of. Ultimately we tell him all the time, ‘You’re the CEO of you, your company, of this thing that is now known as Conner Smith music.”

Connor admits that he is learning as he goes, but Jennifer says she’s already witnessing his character while touring. “It’s how I see him treat the security guards at the venue, the people who set up the green room and bring catering, the people who clean up after them, his bus driver… those people who all play different size roles in the career. But he’s just so good to the people that are along on this journey. And I think that seeing his character play out and his leadership of his band and really staying true to who he is, I think that’s what makes me the most proud.”

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During Jennifer’s conversation with Thomas Rhett’s mom Paige, they also discussed how the demands of an artist’s career can impact the mother-son relationship. Jennifer revealed that it got harder to navigate her mom role when Conner got older and she had to take a step back in his career.

“In the beginning, admittedly it was kind of hard because it was always he and I, from the time he was 7, 8, 9, 10 years old,” she recalls. “I was the one driving into the Bluebird to stand in line, hoping he got a spot on open mic night.” Although there were some meetings about his songwriting, she was primarily driving him to wherever he could get in. “He was the driver, but I was the literal driver, if that makes sense. So it was hard once people were involved, management, big-time meetings, because to be honest, it didn’t look too cool that mom was going to go sit in the room with Sony or whoever we were going to go talk to. But yet it had kind of been the two of us on this journey and it felt wrong for me to not know. And he was so young at the time when it was happening, we were having label meetings, he was like 17 years old.”

Stepping back made her nervous, but she says she’s better at it now. “I definitely did not wanna be involved in the big decisions and the choices, but I wanted to hear and know ‘What is your plan with Conner and how do you plan to guide his career?’ just so I would kind of be in the know.”

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Smith says that the best advice she’s received from fellow moms on the podcast has been to have a pulse on what’s going on in her son’s career.

“Surprisingly, a lot of the advice has been to stay involved somewhat, to know what’s going on, because at the end of the day, we know that the career from a business standpoint is about the bottom line and money and all of that.” The other helpful advice has been to keep things normal at home. “Don’t talk a lot about the music and the career and the touring and all of that when you’re home, make sure that home is a really safe place, that our conversations are normal, just mother-son kind of conversations.”

During the podcast’s second episode with Parker McCollum’s mother Stacey Yancey, Smith poses the question, “At what point did other moms start sleeping?” she laughs.

In the early days of Conner’s career, Smith was playing college bars, finishing at 2AM and driving a van and trailer overnight to the next town. “That’s been a big adjustment of just like, okay, did y’all make it safe? And try not to over-mom, right?” says Smith. McCollum’s mom Stacey said that when they got the bus, when somebody else that’s a professional was in charge of getting them from venue to venue, that’s when she started sleeping better. Smith says, “I identified with that so much… And there’s comradery in that.”

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Upcoming episodes will feature Luke Bryan’s mom, LeClaire Bryan, Lauren Alaina’s mom, Kristy White, Jessie James Decker’s mom Karen Parker, and more.

Smith says that after having these conversations with fellow moms of entertainers, she’s created a support group they didn’t know they needed. “This is so awesome to get to talk to other moms that are going through the experience,” says Smith. “It’s fun. I don’t want it to sound as if we need a therapist and we need to talk this out. It’s all the biggest blessing ever. But it’s so cool to relate to someone and say, oh yeah, when we started going out to eat in our hometown and we couldn’t really sit there without people coming up and talking to us, here’s kind of what we did.”

The heartwarming stories also help remind fans that artists who are often put on pedestals are human, too. “I think you realize how normal and real and everybody’s navigating it all the best they can.”

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Smith says she also hopes to have Morgan Wallen’s mother Lesli Wallen on the podcast at some point. “Her faith is the base of this journey and we have talked and it’s in the works,” Smith revealed. “Getting to know her has been really, really neat. We had very eye-opening conversations about some things, and she’s just a precious person. And I would say that hearing her get to tell her story of Morgan’s heart and who he is, aside from all the headlines, was really special. And I’m hoping to get to do that in a more public format because I think that what she has to say is really good and important.”

So what does Smith’s son Conner think about the podcast? “He sent me a really, really sweet text after I gave him a preview of the very first episode,” says Smith. “I was kind of nervous and his opinion really mattered to me… He said, ‘I’m so proud of you and I really think that the light that people are going to get to see an artist in through this podcast is going to be really special.’ And that meant a lot to me.”

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Nicole Palsa is a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Since 2012, she has written about the newcomers, superstars, and legends of country music for publications including Music Mayhem, Country Now, and Country Music Tattle Tale. Nicole has served as a volunteer guide with Musicians On Call since 2016 and is a Troubadour member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications and her Bachelor of Arts degree in French. In addition to being a devoted country music fan, Nicole is a family historian and genealogist who can often be found in stacks of research. She is also an avid traveler with a passion for wildlife and nature photography.

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