Granger Smith is a true Texan, born and raised in the Lone Star State. He is an independent country music artist who travels the world playing music. Smith has had eight Top 10 singles on the Texas Music Chart. Smith came to San Marcos on Saturday and played at the Texas Music Theater. Before the show, he spoke to The University Star about his music.
AG: Where did you go to college?
GS: I went to Texas A&M in 1998 and finished in 2005. In the beginning of my junior year, I signed a deal with EMI Publishing in Nashville, Tennessee. I had to move there to fulfill the commitment with them for five years and wrote songs for them.
AG: How would you evaluate your songwriting ability when you started versus when you completed your contract with EMI Publishing?
GS: I learned a lot about the craft of songwriting from some of the older guys, some of the veterans that have been there for a long time. Just by sitting in rooms with those guys and watching how they crafted ideas, how they kept notes, how they worked on melodies, how they thought about lyrics and how they asked questions about lyrics. I learned a whole lot. I credit a lot of my writing now to the older guys that I learned from.
AG: Do you write all of your own songs now? What is your process like?
GS: Yes I do. The process varies by song, but a lot of times I will get ideas just during normal days. I will get an idea, whether it is a melody or a lyric idea, and I will record it on my phone memo. I will collect a whole lot of those and then when I am ready to write, usually in the mornings, I will get a cup of coffee and get alone, just me and my guitar or keyboard.
AG: How did you meet your band mates?
GS: Through all different ways. Sometimes it’s through friends, other musicians we’ve met on the road, recommendations from other people, and sometimes it’s just online. You might see a guy on YouTube and hit him up with a message, saying “Hey, I like your style. Do you want to audition for us?”
AG: I heard you performed on an airplane recently. Can you tell me about that?
GS: Yeah, I played for Southwest Airlines. I did a show with them on the way to Dallas for the Boot Campaign, a military organization that we do a lot of work for. There was a soldier who was returning home, and when he got to Dallas the Boot Campaign was awarding his wife and him with a brand new home. I played on the airplane during flight. It was very interesting. I think a lot of people liked it, and a lot of people wished I would shut up so they could go back to their nap.
AG: You mentioned you do a lot of work for the United States military. What has that been like for you?
GS: I have been over to Iraq three different times. It has been life changing for me, musically and for my life. Traveling there and seeing how they operate, what their day-to-day is like without breaks and holidays. To see that firsthand and to talk with them really changes perspective on the freedom and the life that we have over here. Knowing that they are the same age as me, and they are volunteering over there has really opened my eyes. On the flipside, it has also shown me the power of music and what it does for people. Even if they don’t know the artist or the song, just feeling the music and hearing the lyrics can make an impact on someone who is missing home pretty bad.