Smithfield are a duo of life-long family friends, Trey Smith and Jennifer Fielder, formed in 2011 in their home state of Texas. When the duo came together in college and forced a get-together to realize that their vocal style meshed so well with their perfectly blending vocal harmonies, that they knew this was their destiny. The duos name, Smithfield, coming from a combination of both of their last names with (Trey)Smith and (Jennifer)Field(er) creating their name Smithfield.
The two have been through many obstacles in their career including having their now radio hit single turned down for being to ‘Depressing’ to having a label they were on fold up and continuing on and we’re glad that they did as they wouldn’t have become the powerful country duo that they are today. Now based in Nashville, Tennessee, Smithfield is producing their own style of unique country music with a distinctive rock edge to it. Smithfield releasing their self-titled EP in November 2015, which contained their debut single, “Nothing But The Night” and their latest radio single “Hey Whiskey.”
No, Smithfield is in no relation to the Smithfield Ham & Bacon company but the duo is sizzling with success with their flawless fusion of harmonies and their song writing expertise writing 300+ songs to date for themselves which sometimes turn to songs being cut by other country artists. Check out Andrew Wendowski’s exclusive discussion with the duo below, where we talked about their upcoming performance at CMA Fest in Nashville on June 8th, Touring with Granger Smith and Kane Brown, Performing at their first ACM Party for a Cause, and the near future of Smithfield.
We recently saw you guys perform as support for Granger Smith on the Don’t Tread On Me Tour in Philadelphia and you guys put on such an incredible show. How did the tour opportunity with Granger come about?
Jennifer Fielder: Oh Awesome, Thanks for coming.
Trey Smith: So, We actually opened two shows for him at the end of last year and just got to talk to him for a little bit. He liked our show and he reached out to our booking agent after that and said I really love their music and I love them, I want to get them on my winter tour.
That is awesome for you guys, Did you get to learn about Granger Smith’s signature YeeYee?
Trey Smith: Yes, we got inducted into the YeeYee nation pretty soon, soon as we started touring with him.
On the topic of touring, Smithfield just ended a brief run with Kane Brown. How was that?
Jennifer Fielder: It was awesome, Kane Brown fans are a whole other beast. They are like so loyal to him and he brings in a huge crowd, so it was great to open for him and be able to make new fans and we’re actually going to be opening a couple more shows for him coming up as well as opening more Granger shows. So, we are looking forward to that. So, Apparently we are doing something right.
Can you give us a brief background on Smithfield and how the duo came to be and some of your influences?
Jennifer Fielder: Trey and I met when we were ten years old, and our families go back three generations, so our grandparents knew each other, and our parents knew each other in high school and so we grew up together. Then we were apart in High School and were still singing but not together and then in college Trey reached out to me and said that he thought we’d sound great together, can we try singing together. I said yes because he’s a family friend of mine and I didn’t want to be rude and say no cause then you’d hear about it somewhere down the line. So, I was like yeah sure come over, thinking it be a one and done thing. Then he came over and we just had these really beautiful harmonies together, Our voices blend so well. So, we knew it was something special from day one and decided to chase the dream together and my influences are from me growing up on country music. Growing up on Faith Hill, LeeAnn Rimes, and Shania Twain were like my heroes and the reason why I love country music so much.
Trey Smith: I was more rock influenced, so I grow up on classic rock like Boston and The Eagles and I loved a lot of like 90’s rock bands like the Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox Twenty. But I will say that the artist who brought be back around to country was Keith Urban, I really loved the rock influence in what he brought to country music and it showed me that what I do could actually exist in that world.
With Trey coming from a rock background and Jennifer coming from a country girl background, how did it come about to combine your influences to become the country duo that you are today?
Jennifer Fielder: You will hear in our music those kinds of influences as you got Pop, Rock, and Country and that is kind of what me and Trey both grew up on and I was going to say that when Smithfield was born what influenced both of us was the country duo, The Civil Wars. So their harmonies and probably Lady Antebellum harmonies, as at the time when we were getting together both of those artists were at the peak of their careers. They were so huge, and that is really what influenced us when we work together as a group and a duo.
Being that you have been friends since you were very young, how would say your friendship has impacted your music?
Trey Smith: I think that there is just this chemistry that comes with just being so comfortable with the person you’re on stage with. Like Jenn said our families go back for three generations, we’ve known each other since we were little kids and I think that when you have that comfortability with somebody it just kind of translates through your music and through your performance on stage.
Your single “Hey Whiskey” just impacted Country Music radio, while you were writing this song in Trey’s apartment did you ever think it would become a radio single after so many years of you guys pushing it?
Trey Smith: Yea, well we actually cowrote it with Casey Derhak and Adam Wood. It was just one of those songs that Jenn brought in the idea and we all kind of kicked it around for a little bit and came up with a cool angle to write it and I think the impact that it has had on people has been really apparent since day one. When we originally had it, we didn’t really play out for a long time because our first label didn’t think it was any good so we didn’t play out till like a year and a half after that. But, then one night we played it in our set and we had a woman come up to us after our show just in tears and She told us how much she related to it and that it was her personal story and that was the first time we saw the impact it’s gonna have on people and it has truly been amazing to see the impact it has had on everybody that’s heard it.
Could you tell us a little bit more about this single “Hey Whiskey” and What inspired the lyrics to the single?
Jennifer Fielder: Yeah, So as Trey said I brought this idea of you only miss me after Whiskey, you only want me when you’re gone. And I had this like super old school melody that nobody would ever want to hear now but that’s what I came in with. All the boys shot it down and they said that we didn’t need another song in Country music that is about Whiskey. I am super stubborn and very opinionated and I just like I really feel like this is something special here, lets come at it from a different angle that you haven’t heard it before and then Trey had my back and started playing the melody to it and I think between my stubbornness and Trey’s great melody is what convinced our co-writers to be like okay we’ll take this for a little bit. As we began to talk about the story, I could tell this I can tell he’s been with you on nights like this, It’s almost like he was cheating on her with another woman and we thought that was so cool cause if you didn’t know the title of it and just listened to the first verse, the way we painted it was very much so in that light like oh he’s cheating on her with another woman and then bam “Hey Whiskey.” You realize that the perspective is so unique and different, it’s kind of a new twist on a heartbreak, it’s like so often you hear the girls always blaming the guy. Saying oh it’s your fault, it’s your fault, and in the song you can tell she’s still in love with him and wants that to work out but she just is heartbroken over what Whiskey does to her lover and it is just a unique perspective and I knew that day when we wrote it that it was something special. That day we all looked at each other and were like hey, we have not yet heard that before. I think this is why people latch on to the song so much because it is a subject you’ve heard a million times but I don’t know you’ve heard it in that way before.
This week Rolling Stone included you guys in the 10 Best Country songs of the week, how does it feel to mentioned by one of the largest music magazines in the U.S. complimenting you new single “Hey Whiskey”?
Trey Smith: I mean it was kind of unbelievable cause we’re on that list with so many artists that we respect, you know as songwriters and performers and we really look up to them. So, to be included among them was truly amazing. I think we really couldn’t believe it at first because it was like WOW, we are on the list with those people, wow.
Have you guys ever written music for other artists?
Jennifer Fielder: Yes, actually Trey and I started as songwriters and in the songwriting community for the first like three or four years of moving to Nashville and we always go in to the room with the intention of writing a song for us because were artists too. However, sometimes our ideas, when we get done with a song were like well thats not really good for us. So, we have written over 300 songs to date and we actually just got our first cut in Canada by a group called Rivertown Saints. Not only did they cut it but it’s a single in Canada right now, so we are kind of hoping for a Number One for “Hey Whiskey” in America and a Number One in Canada with Rivertown Saints song we wrote. Hopefully, we make more cuts along the way.
Would you guys ever consider writing a song with Granger Smith?
Trey Smith: Absolutely, we would, I mean you got to stick with your fellow Texans right?
Jennifer Fielder: I’d be more Earl Dibbles.
Trey Smith: Oh, I don’t know I think the fun side of me would definitely say Earl Dibbles but you know Granger Smith is great. You know we had a chance to sit down with Granger at lunch one day and his musical intelligence is just insane. He is so knowledgeable about what he does, his craft and I mean I would absolutely love to write a song with him.
Smithfield will be performing at CMA Fest this year on the BREAKOUT Stage on June 8th, what are you most looking forward to at CMA Fest?
Jennifer Fielder: I always look forward to this cause every year since we moved to Nashville, we have played CMA Fest. We started out on a small little old corner stage with like three people, then the next year we got a bigger stage with like maybe thirty or forty people and then the next year we had a couple hundred, then last year we had like at least a thousand people at the Hard Rock Stage. It was packed, so I look forward to meeting and seeing the fans and it is kind of like a marker of growth each year moving forward, seeing how much farther we’ve come and the Breakout Stage is the next step like oh my gosh we moved forward this year and were going to have more fans exposed to our music. For me I just look forward to meeting the fans face to face that come from all over the world every year just for this. There is people who literally save up their money all year long just for CMA Fest and they truly love it and it’s really cool. It is really overwhelming and it can be hot and like oh so many people. Honestly, those people are the most passionate music people you’ll ever meet. They’re fans for life, I mean there is people that were there for our very first show, the first year that still come back every year and it’s pretty neat.
Trey Smith: The festival is crazy, like Jenn said people come from all over the world and it is a great showcase of the impact that Country Music really does have.
What are you favorites moments from CMA Fest, either from past year performances or from just attending CMA Fest as a fan?
Jennifer Fielder: My standout moment was last year, seeing people sing along to “Hey Whiskey” and at that point it was on Sirius XM Radio and Spotify but it was not on country radio like it is now. So to already see people respond to it and sing every word to it before that was pretty standout to me. Cause that is all you ever want as an artist or a songwriter is to have that connection with people and have them sing along with you at a show.
Trey Smith: Mine is kind of related to the one she had, I mean we had the opportunity to do a lot of country music festivals last year. Actually, some of the biggest ones in the country and I think that traveling to them all and seeing the passion that country fans have for country music and singing the words to some of our songs is awesome.
Smithfield has an upcoming performance at the ACM Party For A Cause next week on April 13th with Kip Moore, Aaron Watson, Cale Dodds, Stephanie Quayle, and Alex Williams. What are you most looking forward to about this performance?
Jennifer Fielder: This will be our first one, so we have never gone to the ACM’s before and we have never been invited to play. So it is pretty cool, again its another sign of moving forward. Trey and I have been doing this for seven years and we have been through a lot of ups and downs. So, during the downs you always question like am I doing the right thing? Should we still keep going? Is this working? But then every year it’s been like another mile marker for us and it’s like were going to the ACM’s this year and were playing Stoney’s. So it is showing us that we need to keep going and that it is working. Although, it may not be as fast as we want it to be. So, I am so excited to be there this year.
What cans fans expect from Smithfield in 2018, any new music? and where can fans find you online?
Trey Smith: We definitley have some new music brewing and we are pretty excited about it. We were actually just in the studio lastnight recording some stuff. I think you can expect that in the Summertime or Early Fall time. We are really excited to share it with everybody. We are going to be touring all over the country this summer and we are still out currently on our national radio tour. So we are excited to see all of the fans and see it grow.
Make sure you check out Smithfield’s latest radio single “Hey Whiskey” as well as their single “When You’re Gone.” Keep up to date with Smithfield’s tour dates and information at their website at: www.smithfieldmusic.com