British Columbia native Dallas Smith is a multiple JUNO and CCMA Award winning entertainer, who is one of the most celebrated artists in Canadian Country music. In November, he picked up multiple awards at the 2021 CCMA Awards including Entertainer of the Year for the third year in a row! He has Amassed 18 CRIA gold-certified singles, three CRIA gold-certified albums, and four CRIA platinum-certified singles along with more than 500 Million collective streams to date. As far as introductions go, that looks pretty impressive, and I think goes a long way to showing why Big Loud Records have recently signed him to a global deal!
It’s always really strange when you view the paradox that time differences bring and when we do Zoom calls across the Atlantic it is typically as we are getting to the end of our day whilst the guys we are talking to are just kicking theirs off. Dallas, being on the west coast of Canada is eight hours behind us but luckily the magic of coffee and 2 children is all that is needed for him to be up and at it. The other beauty of Zoom calls is the insight that it brings into other people’s worlds and clearly looking around the room I could see there was something else that was a really big part of his life. “I’m a huge hockey fan like most Canadians. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in the dressing room of some of my favourite teams, meet some cool players and get some jerseys signed. It’s like a job perk which is pretty cool. (Vancouver) Canucks are my team. My dad took me there as a kid, we used to split season tickets with my aunt and uncle, so I went to lots of games as a kid and I take my kids along now.” Smith recently released his latest single “Hide From A Broken Heart” (which is out now and available to stream or download HERE) which is his first new music since his 2020 album “Timeless” so is his first new music for a little while and will build excitement for his upcoming Some Things Never Change Tour which takes place across May and June with dates right across Canada. “After a year and a half with the pandemic over here, releasing music to radio and not being able to really do anything with it, this time feels different. We took a break at radio for a few months which I had never done in the ten years, then reset with the new song and it feels different. I can imagine playing this song live, starting to think about setlists and where it fits in so it’s a different time around this single, for sure.”
“Hide From A Broken Heart” was written by Lauren LaRue, Ernest Keith Smith, Geoff Warburton & Mark Holman (then the recording was produced by Joey Moi), so how did the song find its way to him and what was it about this song in particular that was fitting to lead into the next project? “We had some pitch meetings, and some songs were kicking around, there were some great tunes, and we were really comfortable recording any one of those. Then Joey, my friend and producer sent me a little voice message over to Ernest, who’s a big writer down in Nashville. I’ve met Ernest a few times, he’s a good dude and the same sort of crew, then he fired this song over to Joey who immediately sent it over to me. We both thought this was one that had a chance and was what we were looking for to launch this project with. Right away when I heard it, I fell in love with it and I am a huge fan of Ernest so anything from him with a bit of flair on it, I’m a big fan of!”
From here, we moved on to talking about where this single leads in regard to new music and the next project being on the way along with his upcoming release strategy. “The tour is starting at the middle slash end of May and I think the goal is to get an EP or some sort of physical product out as a collection of songs. I would imagine we’re probably going to release another single before we go ahead and do that. Being in Canada, we are not quite as open as things are down in the US yet so it’s a bit of a challenge to get down there and work, which is kind of the next thing on my list. I’m doing some promo stuff the best that I can from here and hopefully make my way down in the next month to get to work on the record. I’ve got a vocal booth here in my house so I can do some recording here but it’s nothing like going down to Nashville and being immersed in that when it’s faced to face in a room with people. Hopefully that’s what I’m going to be doing and then just building into this tour, the artists that I work with and help manage, it’s a collective thing trying to get us all out of this with some live shows and get ready for the door opening again here.” The tour name is taken from his number one song (which was a collaboration with Big Loud labelmate HARDY) and dates will also feature performances from James Barker Band (who UK fans will be familiar with from a number of pre pandemic trips with their electric live performances), one of the most exciting emerging artists in country music anywhere on the planet; Meghan Patrick, our friend and purveyor of “Country Punk” Manny Blu along with some newer names to us over here (where you can find full details on his WEBSITE) so it looks like a really fun filled set of nights on the cards. “Manny is really outside the box, which is cool. It’s very different. We’ve got Jojo Mason, Shawn Austin is hopping on too and we’ve also got Kelly Prescott. All of these artists are my friends first and foremost but like I said we’ve been sitting around on our hands for quite a while, and I know the fans want to come out and see people play as well. I wanted to cram as many friends and as many people as I could on this tour. We’re all dying to work, put some money back in our pockets and entertain people again. I think it’s good bang for the buck and fans getting to see as many artists as they can for a ticket. They’re all just like me, itching to get music out and show what they can do, so that’s what this tour is going to be, a big platform and rolling festival.”
Canadian country music is really starting to have an impact in Nashville and wider afield. You are seeing an exciting crop of predominantly female artists such as Lindsay Ell, Tenille Townes, Tenille Arts, Madeline Merlo, MacKenzie Porter along with his tour mate Meghan Patrick really starting to make waves but as for the genre in Canada as a market, how is it centred? Is it driven more towards Canadian artists and what is it that is helping to push the growth of artists further? “It used to be. When I first came in here in ’09 and coming to events and stuff, streaming was in its infancy, it wasn’t really there, and it was more just iTunes sales. Streaming has definitely opened up access, but good music is good music, and the algorithm will find it no matter where you are in the world if you are looking for it. That has really helped Canadian country music to be properly represented and it’s starting to meld that it’s not sounding the same but not so indifferent that it belongs on the same playlists. There’s enough variety, spice and different flavours but still holds a general influence and stays between the lines somewhat. As much as I think it’s not in how I sing, you can hear different things in how I sing which will turn some people off down south how I sound Canadian or won’t sound authentic to them, but I’ve noticed in Australia and different parts of the world where they are not as directly influenced by the south it will definitely fly a little easier. It’s like a social experiment with streaming and how everything blends together then seeing how the world reacts to it.”
The wonderful world of analytics is a wonderful puzzle that plays into the world of streaming but how much does this help with gauging where your music is having an impact and where you are looking to target? “It’s really great to know that somebody is digging something that you have been influenced by and there’s a really big chance that they might just stumble upon your music where before you have to rely on radio contacts or a traditional launch. You would have to actually flick the switch on in the UK. Nobody was going to discover that music unless my label sends it to radio but it’s not like that anymore. It’s really inspiring to all of a sudden see things in your notifications saying things like ten people in Sri Lanka are listening to your song. It doesn’t mean anything for dollars and cents, but it is so cool to see that spread and people on the other side of the world are enjoying my music. I don’t know how to commentate on how it’s evolving but it’s just a constant what is going on here, that is cool to watch and try to fit yourself into how the business is working. As far as Canadian country music goes, getting access and getting our music out has never been easier and we have some great people at the DSP’s that really champion our music outside of the country so it’s fantastic to see the changes that streaming has brought.” So, talking about bringing things wider afield, is a trip across the pond something that is on the cards in the near future? “Yes!!!! Myself and my entire band and crew are chomping at the bit. We’ve been talking about it for a while, for years to try and get over there which we are hoping can happen in a couple of months, even if it’s just for promo stuff, to explore and life experiences. Doing these interviews and getting stuff going is a start, I keep my band updated with what I’m doing and talking overseas then the chances of going over are increasing but we’re really chomping at the bit. We’ve done a lot of touring in Canada, we feel we’re really represented well here but I’ve got a lot to prove, a lot of gas in the tank and a lot of music that I want to bring over to you guys and see what you all think. It’s important to me. I’m hoping that when I do get over my show will no matter what headspace you are in you are able to let loose and just feel things where you come out as a fresh person and that you’ve had a good time which is what I loved going to shows as a kid.”
In 2021, Smith launched the Lifted Dallas Smith Charitable Foundation - a non-profit organisation committed to ensuring that mental health services are accessible to anyone and everyone in need, so we rounded off with talking about the organisation and what they are looking to do across Canada. “It’s no secret that most people in the music business have some things going on. It’s something that’s touched me growing up and then especially with the pandemic, you’re not supposed to discover the world and grow up in this environment. As adults we try and hide the stresses of the world as best that we can, but it has been almost impossible in the last couple of years. I’m sure you are seeing the same over there that we have a generation of kids that are having a really hard time adjusting to the way that things have been for the last little while. Over here it is grossly underfunded and we’re doing our best to direct attention and I think culturally we are doing a very good job of that. It’s important to me, I’m trying to do every event that I can partner up with that I can direct the funds towards access for kids and young people to be able to get some mental help and to have easy access to it. It doesn’t cost anything, if people need a place to stay, we have some places that we fund, if people need help with drug or alcohol recovery or like a last door option if you have nowhere to go that this is where you can go to and try to rebuild where you want to go. What we’ve been doing the past couple of years has been building to that and it’s been a really humbling and amazing experience learning all the stories then seeing how this all works in society and how we can help. It’s really become a huge part of what I do and my career. All of the guys on the tour: Jojo, Shawn, Meghan, Kelly and all these other people have been really helpful in supporting this cause and hopefully it’s going to grow into something huge that goes beyond my career. There is such a huge stigma behind it but if we just talk about it more will just make it easier for people.”
The latest single “Hide From A Broken Heart” from Dallas Smith is out now and available to stream or download HERE. You can find out more about Dallas including his future tour dates on his WEBSITE and keep up to date with him socially via TWITTERFACEBOOKINSTAGRAMTIKTOK & YOUTUBE.
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks