Didn't Go Too Far - EP
Newcomer Conner Smith made quite a splash with “I Hate Alabama,” an SEC football-inspired breakup song that’s easily one of commercial country’s more clever recent releases. On his debut EP, Didn’t Go Too Far, Smith shows that he’s more than just a one-hit wonder, though. He’s already scored another hit single in “Learn From It,” a heartfelt, often humorous look at lessons learned, big and small. New track and rowdy EP opener “College Town,” which slips personal details into an ode to party schools, is sure to be a hit as part of his live set. And the title nods to Smith’s Middle Tennessee roots and his path to a career in music. The 21-year-old says that, while he’s excited “I Hate Alabama” struck such a chord, he’s grateful that fans will have more music from him, especially as he prepares to tour in earnest throughout 2022. “Overall, I’m just excited to have more music out that we get to play live, and that people will get to sing back at the shows,” he tells Apple Music. “This is going to be a special year, and I think it’s a good first step.” Below, Smith walks us through each of the tracks on Didn’t Go Too Far.
“College Town” “This last year, we had a ton of shows, and did a lot of those shows in these college towns. We went to as many schools as we could get to. Me and my band would go do these two-hour sets. It was amazing, and we’re looking forward to doing more of that, especially as I’m 21. As you can imagine, ‘I Hate Alabama’ does well in college markets, but when you’re getting out on the road and getting to perform, your perspective as a songwriter kind of shifts a little bit. You start to realize, ‘OK, what’s my goal? How do I write a song that, in these college towns, will get people hyped? What do I want to say?’”
“Learn From It” “In the same way ‘College Town’ is, it’s sort of an introduction to me. I think that was part of a lot of the decisions we made on this EP, like, ‘Hey, obviously, we want to put out the best songs we can right now, but we’re also looking at the big picture. We want this EP to really be an introduction to who Conner Smith is.’ Really, every line of that song is true and has a story I could tell you behind it, and so that’s what I love about it. That’s our first single to country radio, and it’s been cool to hear people’s ‘Learn From It’ stories. I think everybody can relate to that song at a certain level.”
“Didn’t Go Too Far” “First off, it’s one of my favorite songs I’ve written. When we looked at the title for this EP, for me, as a kid growing up in Nashville and being from Franklin/Brentwood, just 12 minutes from Music Row, it was this idea that I didn’t have to go too far to chase my dream. It was kind of this play on that title, which was why we picked it. It’s an introduction to who I am and explains that it’s a kid from Nashville who dreamed his whole life to write country songs, and is 21. All of his friends are at college, and he’s down here chasing his dream.”
“Take It Slow” “I wrote that song with Ryan Hurd and Mark Trussell. I had that title, ‘Take It Slow.’ That was kind of the idea for me: ‘Let’s do a fun, upbeat song called “Take It Slow.”’ We just started singing melodies, and it fell out and really felt special right off the bat. When I got back that demo, it was so stripped, and just really cool and something we hadn’t done before. I love the simple yet descriptive imagery. It’s cool and mysterious, and all that.”
“I Hate Alabama” “You can’t put into words what that song’s done for me. It was such lightning in a bottle. I mean, it’s the first song that I’ve recorded that I didn’t write. The song was sent to me by Hunter Phelps, who wrote the song, and he knew I was a big Tennessee fan. At first, I loved it just because it’s a funny way to chirp at Alabama, which we can’t ever do because we suck at football. Then, just the brilliance of the way it’s written and the twist, it made me fall in love with this song. At first, it was like people didn’t really see the vision for it because it’s like, ‘So, you’re telling me that we have three songs out, and we’re going to go ahead and put out a song that’s about hating an entire state?’...Alabama lost the very next day after we put it out. That just poured gasoline on everything. I mean, as a new artist, having a song like that makes people remember your name. Whether you love it or hate it, it makes you think, and it makes you remember it. So, it’s been massive.”
“Somewhere in a Small Town” “That was the first song I wrote that, I think, turned a corner in my artistry, where it was like, ‘OK, this feels like a hit song.’ I wrote that song probably three years ago, so it’s by far the oldest on the EP. It’s just one of those that stuck around. Honestly, the reason we put it out on this EP over some other songs was because we start the live show with it, and it’s this upbeat, fun song. We start every show with it, and we felt like people probably needed to have it if we were doing that.”