Chattanooga Native to Perform at Opry on Sunday
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Chattanooga native and country music singer Conner Smith has a big show at the Opry this weekend.
He’s joining other up and coming artists at the historic venue Sunday night to represent the Opry’s NextStage Class of 2022.
Smith still calls himself a Chattanooga native, even though he moved from the Scenic City to Nashville when he was five.
“I still claim it and my grandparents all live down there, and so I try to go down as much as possible,” he said. “I love it down there, so anytime we play a show around there or whatever it’s really fun.”
Conner helped pack out The Signal back in February, while opening for Ryan Hurd.
A few months later, he played Honeybee Festival in LaFayette, Georgia.
“It was one of the funnest shows we’ve ever done,” Conner said. “It was like a small town of about 8,000 people, but I think every person in the town showed up.”
He more recently wrapped up a tour with Thomas Rhett.
Conner is only 22, and developed an interest in music at a very young age.
“My mom’s a TV reporter and so she worked for the local station here, and she would interview songwriters,” he said. “I learned that being a songwriter was a job when I was like six years old, and I was just like that’s just what I want to do, so I’ve been writing songs since I was six, and kind of been chasing down the dream ever since then.”
This year, Conner wrote five of the six songs on his debut album Didn’t Go Too Far. He even wrote “Not Every Cowboy” for Dustin Lynch.
“That was one of the songs that it was hard to let go, because I loved it so much, but at the same time you know, I can’t say I’m a cowboy, so it fit with Dustin.”
As much as Conner loves writing songs, he says he really enjoys performing them, and hearing people sing his music back. Especially when playing hometown shows in Knoxville, Nashville, and Chattanooga.
“Just because all my friends are up at school in Knoxville, we’ve got so much family in Chattanooga, and then of course this is where I grew up in Nashville, and so anytime we play a show there, it’s just really special because there’s so many people at the show that have been so involved in my journey.”
A big highlight of that journey was playing the Grand Ole Opry for the first time on May 28, 2022.
“It was a life-changing moment,” Conner said. “I mean standing up on that stage and just taking that in, it felt like my wedding day into country music, because it was like this acceptance into this dream, and at the same time I had like 60 plus family and friends out in the crowd watching, so it was an overwhelming moment.”
And Conner’s about to perform at the historic venue again on Sunday – this time as one of the Opry’s NextStage Artists.
You can bet he’ll have a large crowd of family and friends supporting him there. Something he says he doesn’t take for granted.
“That’s the joy of this whole thing is stepping into these dreams with the people that you love, and getting to experience it with them. That just makes it mean way more now.”
The show featuring Conner and other artists from the Opry’s NextStage Class of 2022 will be Sunday at 7:30 p.m. CT at the Opry House in Nashville.
You can get tickets to the show here.
Conner also told News 12 he wants to give a shout out to Lupi’s Pizza in Chattanooga.
He said if he got to pick his last meal, it would be Lupi’s, and he would love a sponsorship.
Related article: Chattanooga Native Conner Smith to Release New Song Friday – WDEF