The story of how Smithfield became a band is a little different than most. Trey and Jennifer have known each other since they were ten years old. Their families go back three generations, and the two would occasionally see each other at parties. However, it wasn’t until college that they joined forces musically. At the time both had been performing for awhile, Trey in a rock band and Jennifer playing country music. One Thanksgiving the two families were together. Jennifer’s cousin suggested they sing together. Being a family friend and all Jennifer asked her to tell him to reach out.. After sending a message on Facebook, he came over to her college apartment. Not thinking anything of it they tried out a few songs, and right away their was musical chemistry. “We discovered our harmonies and our voices blended so well naturally. Nothing was forced. We both discovered that day that this was something special” Jennifer recalls.
Wanting to expand their horizons the new duo started making trips back and forth from Texas to Nashville to write and network. They finally decided to take a leap of faith and give Music City a permanent go a year later, and haven’t looked back.
Smithfield just released their brand new single When You’re Gone. It is their third single on Sirius XM The Highway and the duo couldn’t be more proud. “It’s a little bit different from what we’ve typically done in the past but I feel it’s a good evolution” describes Trey.
When Trey and Jennifer first started their musical journey, they noticed that it was the norm for duos to sing about how much they love each other. “We wanted to do something different. When people come to our show and hear a song like Hey Whiskey that rips their heart out or fun party songs they are like we didn’t expect that” explains Jennifer. The two take turns on lead vocals, which they love because it opens up doors to different subject matters in writing.
A year ago the duo got their first big break when they were chosen to be a Highway Find on Sirius XM. Being new and not having much of a fanbase yet the two were concerned about selling the single. But it did well. Their second single did even better, doubling in sales. Around this time Trey and Jennifer went on the road for The Highway Tour, hitting 27 major cities. “I don’t think I really realized how much the Highway reaches until we went on the tour. We were selling out every show and none of us were on country radio. It blew my mind that we could do that” Jennifer exclaims. The duo was joined by fellow Highway artists Steve Moakler and Drew.
Smithfield literally started from the ground up. The duo is proud of how far they have come, as they should be. We’re told that there are shows when singing Hey Whiskey that by the time they reach the last chorus the audience is singing so loud that the volume is over the band. “We just turn the mic on them and let them sing. Chills every time that happens.. It’s the coolest thing ever” Trey gushes.
When Trey and Jennifer first arrived in Nashville they played all over town, honing their craft. “Anytime I feel bad thinking we’re not where we want to be I look back five years ago. And I’m like we were broke and singing for our supper.” Jennifer recalls. They had a blast performing at the various honky tonk’s, but are thrilled to have the opportunity to expand and take their music to other markets.
The duo is fortunate to have played the Opry on more than one occasion and holds it sacred. “It’s the gold standard. When you play the Opry you’ve made something of yourself.” Trey believes. He remembers the first time they played there, and being presented with the family album. In it was a quote “The Opry is the culmination of the blood sweat and tears you put into the moment.. I think hearing those words really drove it home for me.” Trey reminisces.
For Jennifer it takes on another meaning. She grew up performing at small Opry’s all over Texas as a child. She still remembers her parents taking her to Nashville to see a show at the Opry. Then and there she decided she would be up on that stage one day. “When we got that phone call it was like the Superbowl of Opry’s. In my grandma’s day if you played the Opry you were the biggest star in country music.” she recalls. It was extra special to be able to fly Grandma out for the show, who got the biggest kick out of it and thought of them as stars.
“It’s magical out there. You have 8.5 minutes to talk and play two songs. It’s crazy that we worked six years for 8.5 minutes but it was worth it. Jennifer quips.
Another career highlight was hearing themselves on the radio for the first time. The two were sitting in the car together waiting for the premiere. “It was 8am in the morning and we were crying. It’s one of those things you work so hard for and it floods over you” Trey confides.
“My mind goes back to the creation and all those hours in the studio writing” Jennifer adds.
Smithfield is shooting for the stars. “I always said this. I want country radio. I want it to be on a massive scale. I want to be the next duo of the year at the CMAs. I want to prove that a girl-guy duo can sustain a long career” Jennifer enthuses.
“If you listen to country radio there’s no guy-girl duos, and I feel that’s a void.” Trey notes.
The two would describe their lives as the lead character in the movie Almost Famous. “We’d go to New York and are treated like the biggest act ever. Then we’d go to this other market and nobody knew who we were” Jennifer contrasts.
“We’ll go play a show and people are singing our songs. then we come back here and it’s like man welcome back” Trey comments.
“My family is so old school and they are like what are y’all doing back there? They just want to be able to turn on their terrestrial radio and hear it” Jennifer says.
The band is stoked to begin filming the music video for When Your Gone, which will premiere on CMT sometime early August. Jennifer and Trey are also in the middle of new material for a new EP, which they are hoping to release later this fall. Keep your eyes peeled for more on this rising duo!