Any country artist trying to make their dreams come true knows that radio is king. Without radio play, it’s going to be a steep uphill climb. To get your song on the radio, artists embark on a radio tour and it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. It often requires long travel hours and often little sleep. Country duo, Smithfield (Trey Smith and
Jennifer Fiedler), recently headed out on their radio tour for their single, “Hey Whiskey.” They recently chatted with Country Fancast about what radio means to them, how it’s influenced them as artists, and what their radio tour has been like.
Country Fancast: “What are your earliest memories of the radio?”
Trey: “I was either 10 or 11 years old and my favorite band of all time was the Goo Goo Dolls. They had just released their ‘Dizzy Up The Girl’ album and one of the local radio stations said they would play the whole album if they got enough calls. I remember calling and calling trying to make sure the radio station would play the whole album. It worked.”
Jennifer: “I remember listening to Kidd Kraddick a lot growing up. He was such a great radio personality and I listen to 106.1 kiss fm just to hear him. I also listened to 99.5 The Wolf. That was the country station that really made me fall in love with country music. They mean a lot to me because a year and a half ago they helped with a benefit concert for my father in my hometown to support my family. We raised 30,000 dollars in ticket sales because 99.5 jumped right in to sponsor and promote.”
CF: “Who were some specific artists you remember listening to on the radio growing up?”
Trey: “I know I may sound like a broken record, but it would be Goo Goo Dolls for me. I also listened to Matchbox 22 a lot. Then, Keith Urban was really the one who introduced me to country music.”
Jennifer: “LeAnn Rimes, Faith Hill, and Shania Twain were always my idols. Of course, Trey and I grew up in the 90’s pop era too, so I listened to lots of pop as well like NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguliera!”
CF: “What does a ‘day-in-the-life-of look like on radio tour?”
Trey: “It depends on what our schedule looks like, but normally involves an early morning. Typically our first visit is around 9am or 10am. After that, we get in the car and drive to the next location. Sometimes we will hit as many as three stations in a day. It’s a lot of driving, a lot of getting ready in a car, especially Jennifer. She’s had to do her make-up in the car several times.”
Jennifer: “Depending where the station is, we may fly in the night before, get up early the next morning, have a visit, drive a couple hours to the next the next , do our visit and then load back up in the car to drive another couple hours to a new station in a different city. It can be taxing for sure with all the travel!”
CF: “Favorite memories from radio tour?”
Jennifer: “We are big fans of the TV show, The Office, so when we were driving through Pennsylvania we stopped in Scranton and found Poor Richard’s pub where all the characters in the office go to have a drink after work. So of course we went inside and took a shot! It was really fun!”
CF: What challenges do you face as independent artists going on a radio tour?
Smithfield: “Being independent, it’s certainly more challenging to get adds. Since we don’t have a major label, we don’t have the leverage to encourage radio stations to play our song. So, we go into each meeting and do the very best we can to get the add. Every add we get is a true belief in us and our song and nothing else. We really believe in the power of our song because we have seen how it’s touched people and connected with them. It does feel very David vs. Goliath, but we really believe we have the best stone possible with a song like ‘Hey Whiskey’ and it is worth taking the shot!”
CF: “What advice would you give to other artists about to embark on their first radio tour?”
Smithfield: “It’s a marathon not a sprint.”
Enjoy Smithfield’s official “Hey Whiskey” music video below!
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