Grant is an American Roots singer/songwriter. He produces and co-produces his original songs in Nashville. He also co-writes with other songwriters, and produces songs for other artists out of his own studio, using top Nashville instrumentalists.
Grant Maloy Smith is a Billboard Top 10 recording artist and MusicRow CountryBreakout charting songwriter of AMERICAN ROOTS music. His latest album, Dust Bowl - American Stories spent 17 weeks on the Billboard charts, including eleven weeks in the Top 10. The "Bible" of American Roots music, NO DEPRESSION magazine, raved:
“… lyrics and music as potent as Woody Guthrie ... A reminder of the darker period of Bob Dylan, and it’s that good, that memorable…”.
Grant made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2018 and has won numerous awards, including two Grammy® certificates. He will be appearing at Lincoln Center in late 2020, and Carnegie Hall again April 2021. He has just been inducted into the Indie Music Hall of Fame in Hollywood.
Whether he’s playing with a full band or performing solo, audiences are enthralled by his meaningful songs and his sense of humor. Grant is also an actor, appearing in the feature film Oildale filmed in Bakersfield, California.
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1 ReviewsEndorse Grant Maloy Smith
I had the privilege of playing fiddle on Grant's upcoming record. His songs are masterfully crafted, skillfully performed, and most importantly heart-felt. He is an artist that understands how music is put together and as a producer, knows the right people to call to carry out his vision. In addition to his musical chops, Grant is very easy to work with. So, if you're looking for a singer, player or producer who has a deep knowledge of his craft, you've found him right here.
Interview with Grant Maloy Smith
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Of course my new album APPALACHIA - AMERICAN STORIES is my current favorite, but before that, I wrote a song called "Man Of Steel" to honor our veterans, which was selected by the National Veterans Foundation as their official theme song. You can see the video and hear the song at www.nvf.org or on my website.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Just finishing a new album called APPALACHIA - AMERICAN STORIES, which I co-produced with Jeff Silverman in Nashville. I will release it in 2021.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Jeff Silverman is a great producer!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. Each has their place. All of the real-world sounds that we record should be preamped with as much analog gear as possible, so that we capture that warm, real sound. But after that, I like having everything in the computer because it's so easy to edit. I used to cut 2" tape with a razor blade, and I promise you that digital editing is way more accurate and fun to do.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: To do my very best to make them sound as good as I know how.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Being creative and working with other creative people. Pressing PLAY after mixing a new song and hearing it with fresh ears, even after I have listened to it 100 times during recording and mixing.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: "How do you write a song?" And the answer is that I am not sure, except that I work very hard at it. I read about songwriting from people I admire. I study it and apply myself. And I never stop trying to get better.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That it's easy and pays well.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Artistically, I want to know what their vision for the song is. If they are unsure I help them to discover it, because without that it's like going to the grocery store not really knowing what you want. Business-wise, I ask them what their goals are for the song, so that we can make a realistic plan to achieve them.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Listen to their work before you hire anyone.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: First I'd want to have survival gear! But if you mean only musical gear, I'd have to have my guitar and a LOT of strings and the tools needed to change them. A computer or some way to record, with a solar charging system to keep it running, headphones, and a bunch of external SSDs!
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I was in bands since the 1980s, then settled down with a family and did scoring for film and television for a long time. In the early 2010s I discovered my Kentucky family's roots in "mountain music" and I have never looked back.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Thoughtful American roots
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I'd like to work with Garth Brooks because I'd like to bring out a rootsy album from him. He's very Nashville country, but I think I could bring out a different side of him.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Adding more instruments or tracks than are necessary to a song is like continuing to pour water into a glass when it is already filled. Stop.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I am usually in the American Roots world, which spans roots itself, country, folk, bluegrass. But I work in other genres, too, like contemporary instrument, world, new age and rock.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Songs are stories. But so are arrangements and recordings. It's important to have a real sensibility about how to best tell the story of the song using the arrangement, which includes not just the format of the song (AABAB, etc), but the choice of instruments and the mood of it.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: When recording a demo, I usually play a scratch guide track on guitar or piano, then I use that as a reference to build a great rhythm section with the right groove. I spend as much time on this as necessary, because this is the foundation that the house is going to be built on. If it's not good, nothing will be good. Then I replace the guide track with one that works with the groove, and go on from there, depending on what's needed. Sometimes a scratch vocal is needed if other players are coming in to do overdubs, so that they know how to play around the vocal and not step on it. Then final vocals at the end.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a home studio based on a UAD Apollo 8 audio interface and Pro Tools running on a powerful iMac computer. I have a handful of good mics. My main instrument is acoustic guitar, so I am well set up to record acoustic instruments of all kinds. I can also cut drums here, but for most demo projects I create drum tracks using Superior Drummer.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Any one who gets great, warm and punchy acoustic tracks has a fan in me. I like things that sound organic and real. Songwriters who write from their heart and produce well-crafted songs. Players who bring their A game to every session.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: When I work for other artists, it usually takes the form of me helping them to finish a song that they are having trouble with, and then making a good quality demo for them in my own studio. In addition, I also make music videos for some of my clients.