These are the songs that Nate Smith listened to as a young and growing artist. In our original series titled Songs I Grew Up On, he expresses his value with each piece and how they work as a good scope for his sound. At one point, Smith made an inspirational analogy between music and tools saying, “You take something from them (the songs) as if they’re tools you can take” – regarding going on to creating his own music. From our friendly chat with Nate Smith over Instagram Live, we understood what helped influence his work.
1. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana (1991)
For this classic, Nate Smith humorously explains how as a kid, he and his friends weren’t allowed to listen to certain music and had to listen to this band in secret. “It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard,” Smith exclaims as he describes his first listen to this Nirvana track. Kurt Cobain and this song helped influence Nate to play the guitar. Even today, it’s still a favorite of his and is one he listens to if he wants to get fired up.
2. “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls (1998)
To Smith, this song “felt like an anthem of love…it was an epic.” The Goo Goo Dolls instrumental style is something Smith is influenced by, and he is excited by the bridges and guitar solos from their music – such as those found in this piece.
3. “The Dance” Garth Brooks (1989)
This Garth Brooks track is a melody that feels touching for Smith. “I think of my mom with that song,” he said. Brooks is one of his mother’s favorite artists, and Smith wrote the song “Heart of a Country Song” for her that explicitly references “The Dance” in its chorus.
4. “I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty (1989)
“California sunshine and driving in the desert” is how Smith describes the vibe when listening to this tune. In his song, “Sleeve,” Smith produces a similar sensation of cruising down the road in your car. This Tom Petty track began to introduce Smith to new and different artists.
5. “What Hurts The Most” by Rascal Flatts (2010)
Nate Smith appreciated the genre-blending style that seemed to work in a pop-like formula in this infamous Rascal Flatts song. This track features nice bouncing notes with heartfelt lyrics that produce another anthem for Smith.
Smith also chatted about the story behind his very own single, “I Don’t Wanna Go To Heaven.” The origins of his latest song began as a demo track that he used on TikTok. After popular demand, Smith and his team operated what he called a “country music emergency” by managing to knock the entire song out in three days. They got a choir to sing along for the song, which produced an insane and remarkable experience for Smith. He made sure to state that more surprises will come with this new track, so make sure to stay tuned.
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