Smithfield: ‘We Make Our Own’ Is the Duo’s Career Anthem
On one level, the title of Smithfield's new EP, We Make Our Own, comes from a drive the duo took through a tiny town one day, while they were on tour and on the way from one gig to another.
"We were just driving through the middle of nowhere, you know, on tour in the van, and I think she looked out the window," says Trey Smith, nodding to his bandmate Jennifer Fiedler. "She goes, 'Man, what do people do for fun around here?' I was like, 'I think they have to make their own.' And that gave me the idea for the title, and we went in and wrote the song, "We Make Our Own.""
The more Smithfield thought about it, however, the more the concept became about more than just small-town life.
"As we kept listening to it and running over it in our heads, it kind of became an anthem for us: for our whole experience, for our whole career," Smith continues. "We make our own way; we do our own thing. So we decided pretty early on, that needs to be the title of our next EP, and it needs to be the title track, because that's what it means to us."
When it comes to music, Smithfield have "made their own" in a literal sense: After their label, Bigger Picture Music Group, abruptly folded, the duo launched a Kickstarter campaign to independently fund their debut EP. Smith and Fiedler are still independent to this day, although their grassroots outreach and ability to make their own success have massively grown their fanbase.
Part of that growth, the two explain, has been the result of the changes in how fans listen to music. "Not that Spotify wasn't around [when we released our first EP], but playlisting had really just started in terms of curating in the [country] format," Fiedler explains. "And [SiriusXM's country radio station] The Highway and their program, Highway Finds, has been huge for radio play. I mean, it's the equivalent of having the second-largest radio station in the country play you."
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As listener access to music broadens, so does Smithfield's fanbase. "When we started with the first EP, we had, like, 1,000 followers. Now we have 75,000," she adds.
Through it all, Smithfield have worked hard to stay true to the kind of music that made them love performing together in the first place. That determination to remain focused on their style comes through loud and clear on We Make Our Own's title track.
"There's a part in the bridge that's like, 'It's in our blood, it's in our veins / We ain't ever gonna change / Nothin' wrong with same ol' same,'" Fiedler notes. "That, to us, is like -- Trey and I aren't ever going to change who we are as artists, and what we stand for, and what we do. For anybody."
Furthermore, there's a message for listeners in that anthem: "I hope that other artists, or really, anybody who has a dream to do something bigger than themselves ... maybe our story and our anthem can encourage them to go for it," she continues.
Smith agrees: "If nothing else, it's a message of empowerment: Believe in yourself and what you're capable of, you know?"
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