Sue Bonzell:                 My guest today is Nate Smith. He’s going to play his song Sleeve, and share with you his SpongeBob impersonation. You’re watching Up N Country. I’m your host, Sue Bonzell. It’s all powered by V Live Cast. Okay, are you ready to meet Nate? He has over 5 million streams on Spotify of his song Sleeve, and he just came off of a tour with Brett Eldredge and Nate Smith is here.

Nate Smith:                  Man.

Sue Bonzell:                 Nate. How’s it going?

Nate Smith:                  What is happening, Sue? Nice to meet you.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yes, it’s great to see you. Okay, you just did a tour, we’re back touring, which is super exciting. Tell me about being out with Brett Eldredge.

Nate Smith:                  It was an absolute blast. I was just a student and just able to watch him play and watch Morgan play and just figure out how to get some of my awkward kinks out a little bit. For instance, an example would be, my first couple shows at the end, I would walk over on my hands and knees and hand each person a guitar pick, like I’m Santa Claus handing out candy canes. I was like, “No, maybe that’s not the way, maybe you’re supposed to throw it out there or something like that.” I watched them. I’m like, “Okay, there’s prop, check one,” but it’s been a blast.

Sue Bonzell:                 It’s like rockstar university, right?

Nate Smith:                  I don’t know what I’m doing, but my dad ended up coming out for a week of that run and drove the van and stuff. he played dodge ball with Brett and I guess he hit Brett pretty good in the leg. Brett was like, how old is your dad? Because he is a superhero. So, no, I didn’t even play dodge ball. I was like, nah, I don’t know.

Sue Bonzell:                 That’s what goes on behind the scenes, dodge ball? Is that what’s going on?

Nate Smith:                  Dodge ball and pickle ball and a lot of [crosstalk].

Sue Bonzell:                 I love that. Yeah. Congratulations, your song Sleeve has found huge success on Spotify, getting out there. I love this song. Tell me about writing it.

Nate Smith:                  Man, it’s one of my most personal songs. I went through a pretty hard breakup around 12 years ago. I just feel when we go through hard times and stuff, we have a choice to make, what we’re going to do with that. It’s like, we can just go, “I’m never doing that again.”

Sue Bonzell:                 Right.

Nate Smith:                  Or we can be in denial, like everything’s cool. You’re high on cocaine. You’re like the idea of it is like just in denial.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yes.

Nate Smith:                  “Yeah, I’m good,” putting on your smile and stuff or you can just be foolish and just always wear it on your heart. I think I kind of lean the way of, “I’m going to try again and try again.” I just didn’t really feel like I wanted to be a victim of the hard stuff that I went through and I was just like, “You know what, I’m not going to let it change me. I’m going to just try and put my best foot forward.” That’s what the song’s about. I think there’s a little element of hope in there.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yeah.

Nate Smith:                  Even though it’s kind of a sad song.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yeah. Well, I think a lot of people can relate to that. We’ve all been through those breakups, aren’t they fun?

Nate Smith:                  Oh, such a good time, such a good time.

Sue Bonzell:                 But they make such great country music. I mean, come on.

Nate Smith:                  They do. Hey, we wouldn’t, we wouldn’t have good songs without that.

Sue Bonzell:                 That’s right. That’s right. That was a hard time for you. I know that you grew up in Paradise, California, is that correct?

Nate Smith:                  Yes. Yes.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yes. I’m from Santa Rosa and Paradise fire several years ago, what happened with your family and you living there?

Nate Smith:                  We were super lucky. I was living there at the time, so was my brother, his wife and their first baby. I was helping my brother out, the youth group there. I was working full-time at a hospital. I wasn’t pursuing music at all. Then the fire happened and I got out quick enough because I had a doctor’s appointment in Chico right there. I got out, I didn’t realize how bad it was, when I got out of there.

                                    Then as soon as I got down the hill, I looked back up and was like, “Oh my gosh.” It quickly spiraled out of control and it was kind of a whole ordeal, but yeah, there’s unfortunately almost a hundred people passed away in that fire. I know you guys have had your go in Santa Rosa, it’s been… California is kind of, it’s like is the greatest threat earthquakes or is it fires? I would have to say fires, man. All day.

Sue Bonzell:                 Right. These days, I mean, who cares about an quake? Big deal.

Nate Smith:                  Yeah. That’s the thing. I mean.

Sue Bonzell:                 Big deal.

Nate Smith:                  Yeah, yeah. But the fires…

Sue Bonzell:                 We just have fires and droughts, it’s good.

Nate Smith:                  The droughts too. That’s another big thing there.

Sue Bonzell:                 Right. Now, did you guys lose your home in that fire? You and your brother?

Nate Smith:                  Yeah. I lost my apartment. I didn’t have renters insurance either.

Sue Bonzell:                 Wow.

Nate Smith:                  It’s fine losing like your clothes and stuff like that, even guitars, it’s kind of sad, but it’s not, but it’s more of like the baby stuff, stuff I had as a baby.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yes.

Nate Smith:                  Family videos and stuff that you can’t replace that stuff.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yeah.

Nate Smith:                  That’s what was hard about it for me.

Sue Bonzell:                 You wrote a song about it, of course. Yeah.

Nate Smith:                  Yeah. A friend of mine sent me a guitar, which was so kind to my dad’s house in Chico and wrote a song about just to help out the community a little bit and stuff. Ended up raising some money and giving it to a single mom who was trying to relocate and stuff. That was really fun to do that.

Sue Bonzell:                 Nice.

Nate Smith:                  Then that just opened up doors to start playing concerts. I started writing songs again, I started doing shows and ultimately it led me to the point where I moved back to Nashville, which I’d never, ever thought I was going to do.

Sue Bonzell:                 Wow.

Nate Smith:                  It wasn’t on my radar at all. Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 You’re like, “Okay.” It’s interesting, it’s these things that happen that are so horrible and so horrible for a lot of people.

Nate Smith:                  Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 Then, for someone and like you where it’s like, “Yes, lost everything,” but look where it sent you and where you are now.

Nate Smith:                  For sure.

Sue Bonzell:                 Okay. Kind of blessing disguise, kind of thing.

Nate Smith:                  Blessing in disguise, but really gave me a purpose.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yeah.

Nate Smith:                  Like for me, I saw the power of what a song can do. It helped. I remember when I put the one about Paradise out, people were saying things which was awesome. We haven’t been able to cry this whole time. We heard the song and it’s helping me heal through this process.

Sue Bonzell:                 Oh, yeah.

Nate Smith:                  I’m like, “Gosh, man, if a song can do that, what else can I do?” I think my purpose for music now is I’ve got fun songs that are up tempo and all this stuff and everything.

Sue Bonzell:                 Sure.

Nate Smith:                  But I got songs that I really want to touch people and I want it to really make a difference. That’s kind of my reason for it.

Sue Bonzell:                 That’s awesome.

Nate Smith:                  Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 I love that. I did a little stalking of you online.

Nate Smith:                  Cool.

Sue Bonzell:                 Saw a video. I think I saw a video of you doing a SpongeBob impersonation.

Nate Smith:                  Yeah. Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 Can you do it for us?

Nate Smith:                  Mr. Crab. Stop. You heard it here first, folks.

Sue Bonzell:                 Okay.

Nate Smith:                  You heard it here first.

Sue Bonzell:                 Right? Okay. That is priceless. Priceless. How did you learn how to do that? Did you just practice?

Nate Smith:                  I tried it, I guess. It just kind of came out. I was like, “Oh, down that’s…” I mean, it’s hard to do because it’s so high and you have to… But you have to do it in the back of your throat and it, but yeah. It’s fun. Cool party trick.

Sue Bonzell:                 Do you ever do that? When you’re on stage or anything, throw out one of those?

Nate Smith:                  Not yet. I think I might though. I think that would be a good idea to say, “Hey, anybody like this show,” I don’t know.

Sue Bonzell:                 Well, you can connect. I mean, I watched a lot of those episodes, I know exactly what you’re talking about and I’m, “Oh my gosh, you sound just like him.”

Nate Smith:                  For sure. That would be hilarious if I should do, yeah, I should do that.

Sue Bonzell:                 Well while we’re having fun, I’m going to do a little round of favorites.

Nate Smith:                  All right.

Sue Bonzell:                 We’re going to… I’m going to ask you about some of your favorite things.

Nate Smith:                  Okay.

Sue Bonzell:                 What is your favorite movie?

Nate Smith:                  I’d probably have to say Stepbrothers.

Sue Bonzell:                 Okay. Oh yeah. That’s, I agree.

Nate Smith:                  It’s kind of the mood.

Sue Bonzell:                 That’s such a guy movie too, though.

Nate Smith:                  I know.

Sue Bonzell:                 That’s such a guy movie.

Nate Smith:                  I know, it’s absolutely vile. It’s horrible. But I just like… I think, you know what it is about Stepbrothers? I think I like quoting it more than actually watching it.

Sue Bonzell:                 Right.

Nate Smith:                  That’s probably one of my top movies.

Sue Bonzell:                 I’m like, “Oh, I can’t use… I probably shouldn’t use a swear word.”

Nate Smith:                  Oh yeah. I know, I’m like, “Ah, I probably won’t, probably won’t quote it on here.”

Sue Bonzell:                 You’re like, “Oh, it’s right there.”

Nate Smith:                  Yeah. Yeah. It’s not, nope.

Sue Bonzell:                 Okay. That’s a good one. I like that one. Okay. How about, we’re going to do a little food here? How about, favorite ice cream?

Nate Smith:                  That’s Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough. Chocolate chip cookie dough.

Sue Bonzell:                 Oh, there you go.

Nate Smith:                  That is my favorite cream.

Sue Bonzell:                 That’s Kind of like a classic.

Nate Smith:                  It’s a classic, but Jenny’s is growing on me, here in town. We’ve got a Jenny’s Ice Cream. It’s definitely, definitely growing on me. Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 Oh. Okay. Any strange flavors that they have or that are kind of different, or?

Nate Smith:                  They’re all weird. I don’t know. I like the last one I had.

Sue Bonzell:                 They’re all weird.

Nate Smith:                  Whatever, it was, it was so good. But Ben and Jerry’s is OG for life, 100%.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yes. That’s a go-to. That’s a go-to, For sure.

Nate Smith:                  Yep. Yep.

Sue Bonzell:                 How about your favorite fast food? Do you do any fast food at all?

Nate Smith:                  It’s actually kind of a sore subject for me, because we don’t have In N Out, out here.

Sue Bonzell:                 Really?

Nate Smith:                  That is my favorite fast food, for sure. Without a question.

Sue Bonzell:                 I call that cheating fast food, because it’s not really fast food. It’s, you know…

Nate Smith:                  It’s healthy.

Sue Bonzell:                 They’re real French fries.

Nate Smith:                  Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 They’re real potatoes.

Nate Smith:                  They’re real. The truth is, they are at all the restaurants.

Sue Bonzell:                 It makes me feel better about my…

Nate Smith:                  God, I get animal fries. Then I do the whole animal style burger and all that. Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 Oh, yeah. All that stuff. Oh yeah.

Nate Smith:                  Stuff, so good.

Sue Bonzell:                 Oh, there you go. But you don’t have it out there?

Nate Smith:                  No, we don’t have it.

Sue Bonzell:                 You’re in Nashville?

Nate Smith:                  I’m in Nashville. Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 Nashville.

Nate Smith:                  Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 Okay. All right. All right. Your favorite vacation spot?

Nate Smith:                  Favorite vacation spot. I would have to say probably Yosemite National Park.

Sue Bonzell:                 Oh, yeah.

Nate Smith:                  It’s just…

Sue Bonzell:                 Good call.

Nate Smith:                  It’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Yeah, I hope to go back soon.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yes, definitely.

Nate Smith:                  I love camping. Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 Come back to California and camp.

Nate Smith:                  Come on down.

Sue Bonzell:                 I know you… Come on down, come down to see me. You’ve been hanging out in Nashville too long. Okay. Favorite extreme sport that you’re too scared to do.

Nate Smith:                  Probably football. I definitely joined the team when I was in high school. I remember hitting day was coming up. I’m like, “Oh God, here we go.” My first hit, I’m like, “Yep, I think I broke my neck. I think I…” It didn’t take long before I left the team, after that. Coach didn’t think I was very fast anyway. He wasn’t upset. I’m like, “I think I’m quitting.” He’s like, “All right, man. You take it easy, buddy.”

Sue Bonzell:                 Okay. See you. Bye.

Nate Smith:                  See you. See you.

Sue Bonzell:                 Thanks.

Nate Smith:                  Didn’t care.

Sue Bonzell:                 “We need a water boy. We might need a water boy.” Yeah.

Nate Smith:                  I don’t even know if they trusted me with the water at that point. It was just go play trumpet in band, like you’ve been doing.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yeah. Right? Oh.

Nate Smith:                  I was a band kid.

Sue Bonzell:                 Okay. Favorite food to cook. Can you cook?

Nate Smith:                  Yeah. It’s a type of mac and cheese that I saw in the que. Random, but it’s…

Sue Bonzell:                 Okay.

Nate Smith:                  Rigatoni pasta with goat cheese and cream and rosemary chicken. You do a whole chicken, tear it all up. It’s insane. It’s called Lolo Mac. It’s really good. Mac and cheese.

Sue Bonzell:                 That sounds delicious.

Nate Smith:                  Any shape or form.

Sue Bonzell:                 You can cook that?

Nate Smith:                  I can cook that.

Sue Bonzell:                 Wow.

Nate Smith:                  About it.

Sue Bonzell:                 That’s impressive about it.

Nate Smith:                  That’s about it.I can fry some pasta.

Sue Bonzell:                 That’s about it.

Nate Smith:                  You know?

Sue Bonzell:                 Maybe a grilled cheese sandwich? I don’t know.

Nate Smith:                  Yes. I could do a grilled cheese sandwich.

Sue Bonzell:                 Grill cheese sandwich. Okay, good.

Nate Smith:                  Yeah. Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 All right. We played a little game here. That was kind of fun.

Nate Smith:                  It was fun.

Sue Bonzell:                 I want to get back to your music. We talked about your song Sleeve. I’m wondering if you’d be willing to play it for us?

Nate Smith:                  I would love to play it for you.

Sue Bonzell:                 Oh, great.

Nate Smith:                  That is, ain’t no thing but a chicken wing. You know what? I think though, I think I need a capo here. I’m going to grab my capo really fast.

Sue Bonzell:                 Okay. We’ll get it.

Nate Smith:                  We’ll grab. Oh, you know what? It was on my guitar the whole time. What was I thinking here? It was the whole time, just sitting there. What are we doing?

Sue Bonzell:                 It was hiding in plain sight.

Nate Smith:                  I remember my first time playing. Yeah. That’s kind of what it felt like, but yeah. Here’s Sleeve. (singing)

Sue Bonzell:                 It looks, okay, that’s amazing. I love that song. Thank you so much for playing that.

Nate Smith:                  No problem, gosh.

Sue Bonzell:                 Do appreciate that.

Nate Smith:                  Thanks.

Sue Bonzell:                 What is next for Nate? What’s on the horizon? What’s going on?

Nate Smith:                  Yeah. Got a pretty big announcement coming. What is the date? Almost the end of October here. The first week of November, very, very big announcement. They’re going to announce with who, but I signed a record deal.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yes.

Nate Smith:                  They’re going to announce that on/around the fifth-ish, somewhere in that world. Then they’re also, we’re going to release a single that’ll be coming out on that same day. Going to be a pretty exciting situation there happening.

Sue Bonzell:                 That is very exciting. Well, congratulations to you that’s big, big news.

Nate Smith:                  Man, thank you. This is big news. This is big news. I’ve been having to kind of keep it a secret for a few months and it’s been hard.

Sue Bonzell:                 Of course.

Nate Smith:                  But, I’m just excited.

Sue Bonzell:                 I bet.

Nate Smith:                  This is an incredible team that has partnered with me and my management and everything in my publishing company. It’s going to be awesome. They’re passionate people.

Sue Bonzell:                 I’m just really, really thrilled for you. I’m so glad to hear that. We’re going to look for you, the new song, going to look for you everywhere. Where can we see you play next?

Nate Smith:                  Let’s see. I will be going out with a band called Whiskey Myers. I’ll be opening up for them for a handful of their shows in November. Beginning of November, I’ll be in Idaho, Boise out that way, and then I’ll be actually, I’m going to be in Santa Rosa. Believe it or not with this Whiskey Myers.

Sue Bonzell:                 What?

Nate Smith:                  Yes. Yes. I’m going to be in Santa Rosa. We’re going to have to figure that out and get you a ticket or something.

Sue Bonzell:                 Yes.

Nate Smith:                  Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 Oh my gosh. Yes, we definitely, yes. We’re going to have to raise a glass and something and celebrate you, for sure.

Nate Smith:                  I can’t believe that just dawned on me. I was like, “Wait, I’m literally playing in Santa Rosa.”

Sue Bonzell:                 Okay. Okay. We’re going to talk about this. I’m excited. I’m excited.

Nate Smith:                  We will. Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 I want to meet you in person. I like that.

Nate Smith:                  Yes, I would love that. I would love that.

Sue Bonzell:                 Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here today.

Nate Smith:                  Yeah.

Sue Bonzell:                 And having some fun with me and especially for playing your song.

Nate Smith:                  Sue, you’re awesome. Anytime. This was such a blast. Thanks for putting up with my weird quirkiness and everything. I look forward to seeing you in Santa Rosa.

Sue Bonzell:                 You’re perfect.

Nate Smith:                  All right.

Sue Bonzell:                 I look forward to it, too. Thank you.

Nate Smith:                  Sounds good.

Sue Bonzell:                 Thanks for tuning in to Up N Country, where we have new episodes every Tuesday and be sure to visit for all of the episodes and information about our VIP club, where you’re going to get exclusive backstage access. If you’re on Instagram or TikTok, make sure to follow me, Sue Bonzell. I’ll see you next week.