Twelve years after releasing his first album, the man known as Big Smo has become a superstar. He mashes country and rap into what the mammoth Tennessee native affectionately calls hick-hop. After years of struggle, Big Smo has used every medium at his disposal to finally catapult himself to fame. It took millions of YouTube views of his songs before he could sign with a record label and now finds himself the star of an A&E reality show that bears his name.
A day before his tour takes him to BB King's in West Palm, New Times spoke with Smo about the blessings and pitfalls of fame, why he stuck with music, and what other large men he would like to make music with.
New Times: Were you a fan of reality shows before you starred in one?
Big Smo: Yes. Kitchen nightmares, Bar Rescue, and Duck Dynasty are three of my favorites because I can relate to each of them on some level.
How has your life changed since A&E started airing your reality show?
Well, I can't go to WalMart any more. Really, it's been a blessing. Having such a huge vehicle to team up with, Warner Nashville, and get my music out to the world has been incredible.
Has fame gotten in the way of writing new songs or has it inspired you?
It has definitely inspired me. With every new life experience I'm offered a new level of creativity that was previously unattainable.
You recorded "My Place" with Darius Rucker how did that duet come about?
I have an incredible team at Warner. Cris Lacy my A&R rep made this collaboration happen. She's believed in me since the first day we walked into Warner.
Are there any other artists you'd love to work with?
I'd love to do something with a hip-hop artist now that I've done a country collaboration. Specifically Rick Ross would be huge.
You were rapping for years before making it big how did you stay motivated?
When you have the support of your family and an amazing team around you, combined with doing something you love, why would anyone want to give up?
What do you hope audiences take away from one of your live shows?
That we are the genuine product that these huge companies are promoting. We are the real deal.
Big Smo with Demun Jones. 9 p.m., tonight, BB King's, 550 S Rosemary Ave, West Palm Beach. Visit bbkingclubs.com.