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If he could do it again, he would do it the same

If you’re looking for catchy tunes with honest lyrics, Corey Smith might just be your man. This artist has a knack for getting straight to the heart of things through his everyman appeal. With a style that can’t be contained to just one genre, he’s sure to please even the pickiest music snob. Smith takes the Florida Theater stage Oct. 29. Buy your tickets now – it’s reserved seating for the show, so the earlier you buy, the better your seat. In the meantime, check out this Q&A to get to know the man behind the music.

Where do you get your inspiration for your lyrics?
Most of them are written from very personal experience. I think that most songs are therapeutic for me, I’m writing them for no other reason than I feel the need to write them — like I’m tied up inside, and writing a song is sort of a way of working an issue out and resolving whatever tension is there.

With your growing popularity, it must be difficult for you to play smaller shows. Do you ever play unannounced or in bars near your home?
Yeah, we do those from time to time whenever the opportunity pops up. Even just last Saturday, after my show in Athens, I played in a bar down the street with my brother and the guys in my band. We love to play music, so it’s hard to pass up when you have chances.

What is your main goal as an artist?
My goal is to reach as many people as I can with my art without sacrificing integrity. Often it’s easy to lose sight of the essence of the art when you’re trying to get more popularity for the sake of reaching more people. It’s why a lot of the pop stars, I don’t think are artists.

Have you ever forgotten lyrics or had any embarrassing moments on stage?
Oh yeah, I mean, I forget lyrics every night; it’s part of the live experience. One time I played a show in my hometown, at the high school a few years ago. You know, my whole family’s there, high school teachers, friends, it was a very special time. “If I Could Do It Again” is arguably my most popular song, so I’ve played it a thousand times or more. It was our encore song that night, and I got up there, and I just couldn’t remember a single word of the song. I didn’t even know where to start! I couldn’t remember the first line, and … I just had to laugh; that’s pretty bad.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
You have to be able to find enjoyment in music for its own sake. If you’re doing it to gain popularity or impress a girl, or to try to make a bunch of money, odds are you’re never going to find happiness. But if you can learn to do music … or be creative, whatever your art form is. If you learn to create art for its own sake, just pretty much for its enjoyment, then it doesn’t matter how many people know who you are.

Out of all of the songs you’ve written, do you have a favorite?
The most recent songs are always the most relevant to me. They’re the closest to my heart, cause they express whatever struggle I’m currently going through – so they’re always my favorite, even though they may not be the most well-known. When I perform, I have to remember the Corey that I was when I wrote that song – go back to that Corey, and remember all the things that were happening and perform it from that place.

Do you think there will come a time when you want to take a break from this lifestyle, or will you keep writing and playing as long as people are listening?
It’s hard to predict the future. I see art being a part of my life … maybe, that’s … it’s hard to say. Now I don’t really see myself stopping, but who knows what’s around the corner. I’m one of those people that’s kind of like … you see, what’ll happen is I’ll do this. If I see a door open, and it looks interesting, sometimes I’ll go through the door. I just keep exploring opportunities and see where life takes me.

Are you excited to be playing in Jacksonville?
Yeah, I would like to say that the Jacksonville show is one of the most special shows of the year because it’s the night before the Florida-Georgia game. And me being a Georgia fan, it creates an interesting dynamic because the crowd ends up being pretty evenly divided between Georgia fans and Florida fans. There’s obviously a lot of rivalry in the room, but to me, the night illustrates perfectly how music can bring people together and transcend boundaries. Because the Georgia-Florida fans, they’re alike, some of them sing along to the songs, they dance, they drink beer – it’s a pretty powerful experience and one of the highlights of my year.
For more information call 904.355.2787 (Florida Theater) for tickets or go to www.ticketmaster.com.

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