Corey Smith is taking a break from recording his 11th studio album to play some shows, including a Friday night stand at Manchester Music Hall, to get some live performance energy.
“Even though it’s work, performing is the best part of our day,” Smith, 37, said of his audience. “If we’re up there having a good time, then it resonates with our audience. They get to have a good time, sing along with us and dance with their friends. In the end, it’s a little vacation from reality.”
Smith “accidentally” got into music when he was growing up in Georgia, singing in church and school and then learning to play guitar. While in college, he played at a couple of bars, while pursuing a secondary education degree.
Out of all that I do, the writing process is my favorite. Focusing on one thing for such an extended amount of time and seeing it turn into something, it’s euphoric. It gives my life meaning.
“I didn’t want to be that cover guy,” Smith said, “someone who you pumped quarters into and they played whatever you wanted, like a jukebox.”
While teaching geography and world history at North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, Ga., Smith continued to write music and perform in coffee shops, mainly for his friends.
“Out of all that I do, the writing process is my favorite,” Smith said. “Focusing on one thing for such an extended amount of time and seeing it turn into something, it’s euphoric. It gives my life meaning.”
Smith recorded his first three albums while teaching, and with the help of social media like Myspace, his albums gained a lot of attention in his home state, and he became Myspace’s No. 1 unsigned artist for two years. Now, he has videos on YouTube with well over a million views and more than 230,00 followers on Facebook.
“I wasn’t thinking I had made anything wildly popular,” Smith said of his first album. “I just wanted to record my songs. (Those three albums) surpassed all my expectations. I realized I had an opportunity to make a career of it.”
Ten years later, Smith continues to grow his discography and add miles to his tours. During a six week stint on the west coast, Smith hit, what he called, his stride as a writer.
“Something just happened on the road,” Smith said. “I realized some things, and I got inspired.”
I’ve got myself, my band and my fans. They’re the only people I have to make music for.
His 11th studio album, “The Great Wide Underground,” is expected to be released next spring.
Part of the album’s inspiration came from Smith’s lack of commitment to a music label.
“Being under the radar gives me a lot more freedom,” he said. “I’ve got myself, my band and my fans. They’re the only people I have to make music for.
“My fans are very supporting. Sometimes they don’t like everything I produce.Sometimes I miss the mark. But, they know it’s me. They know I’m real, and that I’m human and humans make mistakes. They know I will get it right.”