Conner Smith got his big break as a songwriter in Nashville when he was just 16, but it wasn't until late 2021 that he broke out as an artist.

His major breakout song, "I Hate Alabama," was released in October of 2021 and quickly went viral on social media. Smith didn't write the song, but when it was sent to him, he knew it had to make it happen.

With his new Smoky Mountains album out now, the rising country singer sat down with us for a one-on-one on the Taste of Country Nights, On Demand podcast. We got to talking about his viral song, of course.

We asked him if there is a downside to your first song going wildly viral, as his did, and he says yes — absolutely.

"Yeah, the label wants you to keep going viral," Smith explains. The "Creek Will Rise" singer adds:

"I don't even have TikTok on my phone. I'm here to write country songs, and there's a whole other side of this industry now. I'm very thankful for kind of what it allows you to do and the way you can get your music out to people and connect with the fans."

"I'm very grateful, but also, I found that it's not always healthy for me just to stay on those apps," he clarifies. "That's the only downside to it."

Not the answer you might expect from a 22-year-old artist who got a jumpstart by going viral. Most would assume being of his generation and having a popular song on social media, they'd be a big user of those platforms.

Not the case for Smith — he is an old soul in a young man's body, and he is here to write and perform country songs. Going viral is a plus for him, but he doesn't want it to shape his career.

Check out the full interview on this episode of Taste of Country Nights, On Demand. Smith does a deep-dive into the songs on his first full album release, Smoky Mountains, which arrived on January 26.

Evan Paul is the host of Taste of Country Nights, a syndicated radio show heard on more than 120 country radio stations nationwide, every night from 7PM to midnight. He plays the best new country music and interviews today's top stars, like Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Dan + Shay, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Lady A, Morgan Wallen, + more! 

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