Zachariah Smith Opens Up About ‘American Idol’s’ Attempt to Box Him In The “Country Lane,” Teases Rock-Infused Country EP

“They tried to box me into the country lane, and the thing with me is I love country and rock and roll. I can sing both,” Smith explained.

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Andrew Wendowski

Andrew Wendowski is the Founder and CEO of Music Mayhem. As a 29-year-old entrepreneur, he oversees content as the Editor-In-Chief for the independent brand. Wendowski, who splits time between Philadelphia, Penn., and Nashville, Tenn., has an extensive background in multimedia. Before launching Music Mayhem in 2014, he worked as a highly sought-after photojournalist and tour photographer, collaborating with such labels as Interscope Records and Republic Records. He has captured photos of some of the biggest names, including Taylor Swift, Metallica, Harry Styles, P!NK, Morgan Wallen, Carrie Underwood, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Shania Twain, and hundreds more. Wendowski’s photos and freelance work have appeared nationwide and can be seen everywhere from ad campaigns to various publications, including Billboard and Rolling Stone. When Wendowski isn’t running Music Mayhem, he enjoys spending time at concerts, traveling, and capturing photos.

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Posted on July 13, 2023

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Zachariah Smith; Photo Courtesy of American Idol ABC

Zachariah Smith has already given fans a glimpse into his growing catalog of music with his debut single, “American Grace,” but while catching up with Music Mayhem, he revealed that he’s “staying busy” and gearing up to release even more new music.

Rock Infused Country EP

During his time as a fan-favorite contestant on American Idol, Smith recalled feeling pressured to pursue country music when selecting songs to perform and establishing the beginning of his career. Instead, he wanted to keep an open mind when it came down to choosing a genre to lean into. 

“When I was with Idol, they basically pitched me ‘American Grace’ and they pitched me a bunch of songs. I’d given them a couple of songs that I had written, and they weren’t too sure about it. They tried to box me into the country lane, and the thing with me is I love country and rock and roll. I can sing both. And so I think that’s what fans can expect for this next EP or album, whatever you want to call it.”

Zachariah Has Always Been A Songwriter Since Before Idol

Songwriting has always been a part of Smith’s life, but the singing competition gave him the push to get the pen moving again. 

I was songwriting a little bit before Idol, but once Idol started, I kind of just stopped and focused on the whole Idol journey. And now that I’ve been out of Idol, I’ve been coming up with more ideas and I’ve kind of picked it back up again, and it feels great,” he shared. 

Once his journey on the show came to an end, Smith decided he was determined to stick to his gut and more forward in a way that allowed him to explore his genre-bending passions. This sparked an inkling to create a project that showcases a bit of both his country and rock sides. 

“I like to add my side of things to it. I like to add my spice. Everybody likes their steaks differently, and I just add a little bit more seasoning to mine,” he explained before adding, “with that being said, I do the same with music and I like to always keep it spiced up. I like to keep my viewers and my listeners engaged in the music.”

“Fun Music To Sing Along To”

With this forthcoming collection, Smith further explained that listeners can expect “fun music to sing along to” among songs that he describes as “American folk music, rock and roll, classic.”

“I’ll just let the fans decide, but either way, you can expect to have my name stamped all over it,” he added. 

The Mississippi native also teased that his next single will be based off a railroad station outside of Amory, MS. The release date for this tune has yet to be determined. 

“It’s not clear as to when I’m going to drop it just yet,” he explained. “I basically wanted to give a little bit more of that country, western rock type vibe. So this next single is going to be really cool.” 

Zachariah Smith; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC
Zachariah Smith; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC

Working On New Music With Nashville Songwriters

Zachariah Smith still resides in Mississippi, but he’s found ways to connect with fellow songwriters in Nashville and create music that explores his creativity. 

“I’ve got a couple of guys right now that I’m working on another song with, and they’re based outside of Nashville. So I get a couple people that reach out and ask if we could come up with something. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it just doesn’t. I like to be the owner of my music, and so really what it is, is I like to bring my creativity out through my words and through my music playing. So I try to give as much of me as possible, if that makes sense.”

Zachariah Smith; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC
Zachariah Smith; Photo Courtesy of American Idol/ABC

Performed With Foreigner And Upcoming Homecoming Concert

The 19-year-old singer/songwriter and dad of three recently made his way to Nashville where he made a surprise appearance at the Foreigner concert to sing in front of around 10,000 people.

He is next scheduled to appear in his hometown at Wabash County Fair. On July 17, he will take the stage in front of an excited crowd who sold out the tickets within two hours of the show being announced.

Then in the fall, Smith will perform on Sept. 9 in Indiana and in Fulton, MS on Sept. 22-24 for the Small Town Throw Down.

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Written by

Andrew Wendowski is the Founder and CEO of Music Mayhem. As a 29-year-old entrepreneur, he oversees content as the Editor-In-Chief for the independent brand. Wendowski, who splits time between Philadelphia, Penn., and Nashville, Tenn., has an extensive background in multimedia. Before launching Music Mayhem in 2014, he worked as a highly sought-after photojournalist and tour photographer, collaborating with such labels as Interscope Records and Republic Records. He has captured photos of some of the biggest names, including Taylor Swift, Metallica, Harry Styles, P!NK, Morgan Wallen, Carrie Underwood, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Shania Twain, and hundreds more. Wendowski’s photos and freelance work have appeared nationwide and can be seen everywhere from ad campaigns to various publications, including Billboard and Rolling Stone. When Wendowski isn’t running Music Mayhem, he enjoys spending time at concerts, traveling, and capturing photos.

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