Jennifer Fielder and Trey Smith, better known as Smithfield, spent most of their lives making music. The duo, who officially formed in 2011, have known each other since childhood, never imagining that their paths would eventually converge into pursuing their passion, together.
Their self-titled freshman EP, released in 2015, included their hit, "Hey Whiskey," which was streamed more than four million times on Spotify. Smithfield is now back, this time with We Make Our Own, out on Friday, March 1.
"Three and a half years since we've released new music so it's very exciting for us," Fielder told PopCulture.com. "The title track is 'We Make Our Own.' But for us, it is our anthem for 2019. It kind of symbolizes our personal journeys as artists and how we've always had to make our own path, being indie, and the things that we've gone through – just paving the way differently, and hope that our story and our music can inspire other artists to go for their dreams and feel like they can do it own their own, make your own."
Smithfield wrote all but two songs on We Make Our Own. As both artists and songwriters, the pair find just as much value in choosing outside songs as they do in writing all of their tunes themselves.
"To me, picking songs is just as important as writing because you have to be a good A&R person in this town," Smith conceded. "We wrote the majority of the ones on the album, but there were two that we ended up cutting and one of them's called 'Our World.' 'Our World' is actually the current radio single. It was one of those things where we were riding in the car one day and we had been sent this song, and we never cut outside songs because we just never could find one that we felt like we connected with.
"This one, pretty immediately, we were just like, 'Wow. How has someone not cut that song yet?' he added. "And so we're like, 'We need to call and tell them we wanna cut that.' Ended up turning out great. It sounded great and we were like, 'That needs to be the next radio single.'"
Smithfield might have had a little bit of time between projects, but they insist they weren't enjoying any downtime. Instead, both Fielder and Smith worked harder than ever, especially after the success of "Hey Whiskey."
"Well, we were very fortunate," Fielder said. "When we moved to Nashville, we got a record deal really quickly, which doesn't happen. And when that label folded, we didn't get our music back. So the reason it took so long to get our first project out was 'cause we had to raise the money online with Kickstarter. That was a long process. And then through that, we did a music video after we put out the record, then that went to CMT. And then SiriusXM The Highway heard music off of it. It took about two years to build the buzz around an indie record.
"And then we got on the road 'cause our touring started to pick up, which before, we were just in town writing songs forever," she continued. "And then the next thing you know, we're all over the country playing shows, which took our time away from writing new material and being able to record new material. And then all of 2018, we were on a radio tour introducing ourselves to country radio for the first time. Three years sounds like a long time. It does not seem that long ago to me."
Smithfield has opened for some of country music's biggest artists, including Brothers Osborne, Old Dominion, Dustin Lynch, Granger Smith and more. But they both acknowledge that those opportunities likely would never have even existed without the success of "Hey Whiskey."
"It's just amazing how many people connected with it, to me," said Smith. "We wrote it just out of pure emotion. It kind of happened one day, and just put it out there and hoped that people would connect to it. If you go to YouTube, it's funny. We checked this one time, and there's just tons and tons of stories on the video. The guys are like, 'I'm that guy.' And the girls are like, 'I was with that guy and he did this.' It's just amazing to see how it connected with people."
Smithfield believe fans will connect with all the songs off of We Make Our Own as well, especially their current single, "Our World." And thankfully, fans likely won't have to wait three and a half years for more music this time.
"Believe it or not, we are actually working on even more new music at the moment," Smith revealed. "See, we bottled up for three and a half years, now we're just gonna let a flood of it go out. And then we have a lot of touring coming up. It'll pick up in April. Right now, we're in a creative space. We're trying to spend some time here and launch the new EP, and get some new creative ideas, but it's gonna be a big year."0comments
Purchase or stream We Make Our Own, and find tour dates, at Smithfield's official website.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Smithfield