Canaan Smith is embracing his love of traditional country music with his new single, “Colder Than You.” The song, which he co-wrote with Corey Crowder and Jared Mullins, was co-produced by Canaan, along with Florida Georgia Line‘s Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, and is a return to the traditional sounds of country music, which was an intentional decision by the singer.
“Well it’s about time,” Canaan Smith told Everything Nash. “It’s about time country music sounds like country music. In my life, that’s my mission going forward is just to just fully embrace it and to stop trying to push boundaries of country music and just embrace the parts about it that I love.”
“Colder Than You” was inspired by a former relationship that Canaan was in, becoming a form of therapy years after the romance ended.
“Jared had had the idea of ‘Colder Than You,'” Canaan recalled. “I could relate right away to that title because I dated a girl, not in the too distant past. My family never liked her. My friends never liked her. It was very real to life for me to be able to just kind of remember what that felt like. And then also, to be able to get it off my chest, what needed to be said to her for a long time.”
The release of “Colder Than You” marks both a return to what made Canaan fall in love with country music in the first place, as well as the beginning of a new chapter for him, as a singer and songwriter.
“I remember listening back to the demo,” Canaan recounted. “The day we wrote it, I sang the demo that evening. And I just remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, I do sing country music.’ I can’t speak for everybody, but for me, I moved here 16 years ago and my vision 16 years ago was, was to do basic storytelling country music. George Strait-style country music was kind of what got me here. And then things happened.
“People break boundaries and the format changes its sound,” he continued. “If you’re trying to get on the radio, you can start trying to play that game of trying to keep up instead of staying true and I’m guilty. I’m guilty of a couple misses where I’ve felt like I was too interested in being so different and creating like this, a boundary-pushing sound.”
Canaan has never been afraid to forge his own path, in music or in life, but it took “Colder Than You” to remind him of who he wanted to be in country music.
“Early on I was wearing high tops, and trying to do the country music thing with a song called ‘We Got Us’ back in 2011,” Canaan shared. “It was so unheard of to not be wearing cowboy boots and doing that whole thing, because I wanted to be different. I’ve always valued being different.”
Canaan had several hits at radio, including his No. 1 hit, “Love You Like That,” as well as his Top 20 “Hole in a Bottle.” But successes aside, the Indiana native is ready to make the music he wants to make, without regard to whatever formula may or may not work within country music.
“Somewhere along the way, I do remember making a conscious choice to try to blaze a new path,” Canaan shared. “And I wouldn’t change a thing. I don’t have any regrets about it, but what I do know is that now more than ever, I feel like I’m less interested in blazing a new path, and more interested in just trying to be as authentic as I can with what I love about country music, what I want to say, how I want to say it, and how I want it to sound.”
“Colder Than You” is from a new album, which will be released on Florida Georgia Line’s Round Here Records.
“I’ve got a good portion of it done, and a lot of songs written for it,” Canaan revealed. “It’s definitely an entire cohesive project that’s all kind of from the same vantage point of where I am now in life. I think if you love ‘Colder Than You,’ then you will love the rest of it. It’s got its own sound to it, in that it’s just simplistic. Nothing on it is programmed … It’s just a live band and a great mix.”