You may have heard the single “Love You Like That” lately — in fact, if you’re a country fan, there’s no doubt you have. What you might not know is the man behind the track is up-and-coming artist Canaan Smith, who just earned his first No. 1 on Billboard’s country airplay chart. His hit shows off his catchy twang, along with his meaningful lyrics, but that is just a small snapshot of Smith, who is everything you could want in a country heartthrob and more.
After recently topping the charts and releasing his debut album, Bronco, Smith might just be the rising star of the summer. SheKnows, however, wanted to get personal with this “nitty-gritty boy,” as he coins himself in his hit, and we were left feeling more starstruck than ever. We also have an exclusive music video premiere for his track “Good Kinda Bad (Acoustic).”
But first, get to know Smith.
1. He is from a small town, and it shows in his unique work
“My hometown is small and quiet. I grew up on the outskirts where we kinda played by our own rules. That’s still my mentality,” said Smith. Born and raised in Williamsburg, Virginia, Smith was one of six children.
2. Before he was Canaan Smith, country star, he was Canaan on The Amazing Race
He was the sixth team to be eliminated, along with his then-girlfriend, Mika Combs, on the 15th season of The Amazing Race.
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3. He has experienced tragic loss
The title track off his album, Bronco, is about the tragic death of his older brother, Nathaniel, who rolled his 1986 Ford Bronco, resulting in his premature death. Smith was 12 at the time and has said in an interview how important this track was to him. “When I set out to write this album I didn’t think I could fully say this is who I am without including that story, because its shaped who I am… this song in particular is my attempt to let him know that he is still a part of what I do on a regular basis,” said Smith.
4. It took him a while to realize he had a shot in country music
“I think I realized I had a shot when people started showing up to hear me sing at a little coffee shop in Williamsburg, Virginia. They kept coming back… and bringing people with them,” said Smith, “definitely not when I lost in the opening round of the Colgate Country Showdown!”
5. His wife starred in one of his music videos with him
The “Love You Like That” music video is as romantic as the track, and most of that might have to do with the fact that Smith’s wife, Christy, was the leading lady in the video. Smith said it was “a most natural, special memory we won’t forget.”
6. You know how Noah from The Notebook, Magic Mike and basically everyone gorgeous makes furniture? Well…
… so does Smith. Along with snowboarding and biking, Smith said building furniture was one of his hobbies.
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7. He really is all about his fans
Smith crashed and performed at a wedding for a pair of his fans who planned to have “Love You Like That” be their first dance song. Smith said his devotion to his fans was spurred from an experience he had with one of his own idols as a child. “I remember meeting my NASCAR hero, Kyle Petty, when I was a kid. He was so thankful I was pulling for him, and I could feel it. I want my fans to feel that same gratitude.”
8. He didn’t always live the life of a country star
Before he was topping the charts, Smith was in landscaping, which he said he loved, and was a janitor, which he said he hated.
9. He doesn’t believe country music has restrictions
With controversy and common misconceptions surrounding country music, Smith has one strong standpoint: “You can’t put it in a box.”
10. He is close with fellow country stars, such as Florida Georgia Line
He was a groomsman in Tyler Hubbard’s wedding. They became friends in college when they both attended Belmont University.