Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Ready Up”?
Definitely! “Ready Up” is a Hip-Hop/Pop collaboration with Cincinnati’s Meggie York that I started writing in April of 2018. It’s a positive song that focuses on self-reflection and resilience that I think most people can relate to. Something for people who have been going through a lot and need to look back at just how far they’ve come so they can, you know, use that motivation to keep pushing forward. Working with Meggie on the single was great, she’s incredibly talented, and together I really feel like we made a song worth listening to.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
So I started writing this song a few weeks after I released a 15-track project called “Smoke Before Fire,” which was something I worked on with an engineer named Ryan Rajagopal for about an 8-month period. During that time, any free time I had was spent writing, recording, and planning for a release, not to mention all of the tracking, mixing & mastering Ryan had done. At the end of it, the project didn’t really go anywhere and that was a hard pill to swallow. I was down on myself and questioning whether or not I was cut out for this industry and I just started writing to organize my thoughts. And when I heard the instrumental for “Ready Up” my mood turned on a dime and I started reflecting on how far I had come from when I started making music and all the people that have supported me and I wanted to show I recognized all of it and that I’m ready for what’s next to come.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
YES! The Ready Up Music Video comes out on January 24th on YouTube. Lexy Kadey directed, shot and edited the whole video and I can’t wait to work with her again. I don’t want to give too much away, but we wanted to make something for our family and friends and I’m excited to show everyone what we’ve worked hard on. Be sure to subscribe and check it out!
How was the recording and writing process?
After I had written my lyrics, recording was a little all over the place. I recorded with Ryan here at his place in Nashville, then sent a rough draft to Meggie to give her an idea of what we were working with. After she wrote the hook and the bridge, she recorded her vocals, sent them to me, then I sent everything back to Blacklite Studios in Cincinnati for final mixing and mastering. Tony over at Blacklite really gave the song what it needed, he definitely knows what he’s doing in the studio.
What role does Nashville play in your music?
I feel like being in Nashville has given my music a big step up, especially in quality. I’ve met a lot of creative people since I started recording, but in Nashville it feels like you meet more people that are willing to work together rather than try to use one another to get ahead. Working as a Hip-Hop artist in a country-dominated city has its challenges, but there’s a reason it’s called Music City and working with upcoming talent like artist Brittany Bishop and producer Austin Shawn has led to memorable experiences I wouldn’t find anywhere else.
Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than in your own?
No, not necessarily. If I know I’ll be working with someone, I may try to add a couple lines that reference the artist for a more collaborative feel, but that’s about it. I think it’s important to make sure the song reflects your thoughts and perspective first, even if you’re working on someone else’s song. That’s the kind of consistency that makes you authentic and will really hit home with the fans that are following you.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along? Any tentative release date or title in mind?
Yes, for sure! I’ve got some unreleased music stocked away and we are planning release dates right now. We’re still in the early stages, but you can expect “Sorta, Kinda, Famous” with Brittany Bishop and “Black Pen” with Ryan Oakes within the next couple months.
Any plans to hit the road?
Nothing set in stone, but we are working with some venues and artists to book some 2019 shows and events. If you want to see me in your city, send an email to my manager Nick using our website!
What else is happening next in Z.SMITH’s world?
Right now a lot of focus is going into the Ready Up Music Video release, after that I’ll have some more updates. Thank you guys for having me here!