Everyone starts out as a new artist at some point, and while it may seem that way Shine down have ruled active rock radio for ages now, they had very early to learn. In a new interview with Ryan Castle for Audacity check inShinedown’s Brent Smith says it was 3 doors down‘s Brad Arnold who served as his mentor in the early days.
While Arnold wasn’t long out of high school when 3 Doors Down arrived on the music scene around 2000, by the time Shinedown enjoyed their breakout a few years later, they were industry vets. Actually 3 Doors Down, who were on tour in support of Away from the sun at that time, Shinedown embarked on what Smith calls their “first real tour.”
“Just watching Brad interact with not only just his crew, how things were run and how he was so gracious on stage to the fans … and it wasn’t in a corny way, not in a cheesy way, it was very really. But just seeing him and being able to hang out with him and pick his brain and hang out at catering and sit with him and talk and just be friends with him [was crucial]Smith said.
The singer then revealed that a favorite saying about his connection to the audience was actually somewhat borrowed from Arnold. “I always say in Shinedown we only have one boss, it happens to be everyone in the audience. But a lot of that came from Brad,” Smith said. “He said to me, ‘You can borrow things from other people, but make sure that when you’re on stage and you’re a frontman, you’ve got to find yourself up there, and it might take time, but don’t be shy about it either. Explore a lot of different things. You will eventually find what works for you. But you have to keep at it and you can never call it,’ which I never want to do.”
During the chat, Smith also shared his own path to music and emphasized the importance of dedication and determination. “You’re talking to a very, very lucky individual, and the reason I say that is because from the moment I entered the earth, I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always had a very firm knowledge of what I wanted to do, what profession I wanted to be in, that I wanted to be an artist, that I wanted to be a performer, that I wanted to be a songwriter, that I wanted to be a singer and that I never, ever looked back”, says Smith.
He adds: “I’ve often told people, don’t worry about having a plan B. Whatever your plan A is, do it. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get there, just get there . I think sometimes people are a little afraid to fail, but you need that in your life. I don’t think the foundation of your legacy will be built by your failure, I think the foundation of your legacy will be built by your refusal to give up.”
The vocalist recalled getting a fake ID at the age of 14 just so he could play clubs, occasionally having to sneak out of the house to do so. But looking back on those early struggles, he adds, “Those things don’t become something that’s a drag when you’re in it. When you’re young and you’re hustling and you’re grinding and you’re fighting, you still struggling to be able to get on stage to be able to express yourself and perform because I always thought I had something to say. So not eating for a few days or maybe just getting one meal a day that affected me not really when I was younger.”
These days, Smith doesn’t have to worry much about having his ID handy to perform at a local club. In fact, the singer was recently given the key to Knox County, Tennessee by Mayor Glenn Jacobs (aka pro wrestler Kane) during a stop in Knoxville. Be sure to catch Shinedown on tour and get your tickets here.
Shinedown’s Brent Smith talks to Ryan Castle at the Audacity Check-In
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