For Payton Smith, the appeal of his new single “Like I Knew You Would” lies in its simplicity.
The song’s lyric video, premiered exclusively with Taste of Country, offers a nostalgic interpretation of the song. The scratchy intercuts are reminiscent of a VHS cassette from the 90s on which Smith plays the guitar while the lyrics appear on the screen. The singer, co-written by Smith, Ronnie Bowman and Dan Fernandez, says the plot was created out of simplicity.
“It’s really just an attempt to get away from the party with that special person you knew would drive you crazy, that made you feel that way,” Smith told Taste of Country. “There was so much melody in this song and the story was so simple and I love not trying to overwrite things. I love painting a simple story.”
Smith describes how the song’s pop country melody, which blends in with the classic feel of the steel guitar, represents the sound he wants to establish in his emerging career.
“I like to keep it simple, but also to attract people,” he adds to the text video, calling it a “representation of who I am.”
The day before the video was released, Smith announced that he would make his Grand Ole Opry debut on February 22. He found out about the opportunity to change his career when Chris Young called him on FaceTime to not only tell him the news, but also to reveal that he would be introducing Smith to the stage personally on the night of his debut.
“I didn’t believe him, I thought he was going to mess with me,” Smith laughs at his reaction. “It was a crazy way to find out. Chris was such a great guy. He was such a great fan of the music and he supported it.”
The 19-year-old says he has been an Opry fan since he was five and is listening to the famous radio show with his grandparents in his hometown of Houma, La. He expects tears on the night of his debut, but is determined to give the audience the best possible show while enjoying the magic of this sacred stage.
“There were so many emotions, you are happy and somehow overwhelmed and all of these emotions are bundled into one,” he says. “I always grew up with Opry and always saw it as the highlight of country music. The idea of being able to stand in this circle and having the opportunity to represent country music in this way makes me feel very grateful and humble. “
Smith will also act as a supporting act on Young’s 2020 Town Ain’t Big Enough Tour this summer.
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