Not too long ago, in 2018, Nate Smith lost everything when his town of Paradise, California. He was working as a nurse assistant for about 13 years before he recorded "One of These Days" with a guitar sent to him by a friend after his own perished. "I ended up writing a song about the fire to at least help me process it and it ended up touching people. Ultimately that led me to a point where my friends were like, 'You need to go back to Nashville. This is what you're supposed to do,'" he tells us. He's now a recording artist under SONY Music and his latest single "I Don't Wanna To To Heaven" has taken off.
"I Don't Wanna Go To Heaven" has surpassed over 11 million streams on Spotify alone; it first gained traction on TikTok where Smith teased it to his followers."There's something really special about stopping for a minute and being grateful for what you have in your life and not taking anything for granted. That's really what the song's about," he states. Smith is an upbeat, funny guy, but when he talks about the subject matter of this visibly personal song, he's serious and poised. On TikTok, an app he was hesitant to join, he has amassed over 700 thousand followers and almost six million total likes.
In January of 2022, "I Don't Wanna Go To Heaven" got its first remodel with a choir version, done with the help of the Tennessee Echelon choir. He first got the idea when he watched a YouTube video by the band Amber Run. "I was like, that is so sick. I would love to do something like that but make it my own thing," he exclaims. He goes on to credit his producer Joel Bruyere and his musical director Chris Ashley for helping to bring his vision alive. Smith adds on, "I love the way it feels when the chorus hits. It just hits so much harder with the extra voices."
The most recent version of the track was released today, as a duet with Tenille Townes. Smith beams as he speaks about it stating, "My first choice, if I could pick anybody, I think the right person would be Tenille Townes." He humbly contacted her through Instagram DMs and she agreed to it. Through discovering Townes' discography and the subjects she sings about, he mentions the song "When I Meet My Maker," plus the unique tone of her voice, he knew she would be the perfect addition.
The duet is fully-produced with the addition of perceptible drums in the instrumental. Townes can first be heard in the first chorus and it comes as a beautiful shock to listeners; Though their voices are different, they come together like perfectly fitting puzzle pieces as they sing, "I don't wanna go to Heaven / When Heaven's right here lying next to me / I count every kiss and every blessing / As the only proof I'll ever need / I don't wanna go to Heaven / When Heaven's right here lying next to me."
Smith and Townes have also become good friends through the collaboration and recording process."It's been great getting to know her. She's unbelievably talented and has a really cool heart. It lines up," he shares. "Just grateful to have another person in my life that loves humans as much as I do and loves music like this."
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