There’s nothing like life on the road to transform a promising young talent into a superstar in the making. Case in point: Canaan Smith. Since bursting on the scene with the compelling single “We Got Us,” the young singer/songwriter has been touring with Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley and Florida Georgia Line, and now his latest single, “Love You Like That” is fast becoming a sizzling summer hit.
“It’s like gasoline in the tank,” Smith says. “It’s got an energy that gets the crowd high, and I love performing it. The first verse says “I ain’t gonna do it like a pretty city boy, I’m a fishin’ in the dark nitty gritty boy” and right off the bat, it sets a tone for the message of the song and what’s coming next.”
Smith is an intriguing blend of the everyday working man and rowdy thrill seeker with a poet’s heart and pirate’s ambition. A native of Williamsburg, Virginia, he grew up singing along to everything from George Strait to Rage Against the Machine. He relocated to Nashville during college and began to perform around Music City’s local bars. He landed a publishing deal with Disney Music and teamed with Brett Beavers (Dierks Bentley) to produce his Mercury Records debut.
“I’ve been on the road for two and a half years since ‘We Got Us’ and I’ve grown so much,” he notes. “I’ve learned from the audiences how to talk to them. It’s my job to make sure the crowd has a good time, and that’s so important to me because my live show is such an integral part of what I do. And that connection with the audience influences my songwriting.”
In addition to writing for his album, Smith co-wrote Love and Theft’s top ten hit “Runaway” and co-wrote Jason Aldean’s “Black Tears” with FGL’s Tyler Hubbard as well as “Party Wasn’t Over” with Hubbard and Cole Swindell…the song will appear on Swindell’s next album. “Whenever I show up to write a song, it could be either for me or somebody else,” he says. “I feel like 95% of the songs that I’m writing on a daily basis I can see myself doing, but obviously I’m not going to have 100 songs on an album, so I have no problem pitching them to other artists.”
Canaan Smith is a songwriter of considerable depth and authenticity, and he possesses a voice that drives audiences to their feet dancing one minute and can have them crying in their beer the next. “I’m an everyday guy, but I want people to see the layers,” he says. “I’ve known my share of pain and I’ve got a lot to say.”