Over the summer he released the catchy single Like You That Way and recently he released his excellent new single This Night Back, a song he previewed live at C2C. He’s about to kick off his Long Way From The Freeway headline tour in the US and he’s busy working on his new album.
I caught up with Canaan to talk about what he’s been up to since we last spoke, find out where in the new album process he is and discuss his plans to come back to the UK.
It’s been a few months since we last spoke. What have you been doing since then?
Man I’ve been on the road here in the States, just nonstop this summer. I’ve been promoting new music, writing new music and trying to get as much time in front of my fans as possible. We’re just finishing up our summer dates now and then we start rehearsing for our headlining tour, which starts soon. I’ve just been staying busy with all that man!
What can fans expect from the headline tour? Are you going to be previewing some of the new music you’re working on?
Yeah I’ll be playing some new songs and I’m working on some new production elements as well that we haven’t done yet with some video and things like that. I’m really excited about that. Overall it’ll just be a good time. It’s always a good time out on the road.
What kind of show will you be giving, a band performance or acoustic?
It’s a full band show with lights, smoke, video… the whole shebang (laughs) but I’ll strip it down for an acoustic portion of the set. We’ll make it more intimate for the fans with that.
We got spoiled earlier this year when you played in the UK because we got both full band and acoustic shows…
That’s right! That was such a good time, it really was.
Are you planning on bringing this tour over to the UK now that you’ve built your fanbase here and connected with your fans?
I intend to be back there soon as I can. We don’t have anything planned right now because I’m working on my new album here and trying to try to map out what’s going on before I can commit. As soon as it makes sense to be able to do that I’ll be ready. We’ll keep you posted. I definitely intend on coming as soon as I can.
You recently released your new single This Night Back. What’s the story behind that song?
I’ve learned how short life is and that it really matters that you make the most of it. It matters that you try to squeeze the most out of life as it goes and as it comes, make memories of it. This song is all about living with that mentality and staying in the moment.
In the song you name check Janet Jackson. Are you a fan of hers?
Yes I am. I think it’s more about trying to show that picture of what it looks like when girls are dancing like Janet Jackson. That was something I hope people will be able to see in their head pretty easily.
It’s quite vivid imagery depending on which era of Janet you’re referring to you. It could be pretty saucy…
(laughs) Yeah, not the Super Bowl nip-slip Janet Jackson though (laughs)
There’s a place for that but maybe not in this song…
(laughs) Yes exactly!
This Night Back is very different to Like You That Way sonically. Did you want to show another side to your abilities?
This has been my favourite song for a long time. Like It That Way was a pretty big departure from what I’ve been doing. I just wanted to do something different with Like You That Way and we did. I’m not proud of it. I’ve no regret with that at all. I think that the fans really enjoyed that song but as far as getting back to my sound and the core of what I do, I think This Night Back is a good fit for that.
You’ve been previewing new material throughout the year. Whereabouts in the new album process are you?
We’re taking our time with it. We’re trying to get it done as we go but not rushing the process. I’ve definitely found, or written, half of the songs for the album. They haven’t been recorded in their entirety yet but we’ve already started the process so it won’t be too long man. I don’t know that I’ll put it all out simultaneously, the whole album at the same time, or maybe just release one song every few months leading up to the album, that might be the way I do it.
Are you planning any collaboration for the album or do you want to concentrate on you?
I’m always open to collaborations, I think that could be really cool. I don’t have that plan or anything. We haven’t really sought that out but it’s definitely always in the back of my mind. I’m always thinking of people that would be a good fit with. I wouldn’t be surprised if something like that happens.
Now that you’ve had a bit of time to look back and reflect on the success of Bronco, are there any lessons that you would you learned from that record as you go into the next one?
I think people really like when you are vulnerable as a songwriter and you share your story, open up and try to be an honest person in your songs. That’s something that I try to always do. Bronco I think set the bar for that and I don’t want to shy away from that.
Are there any plans for a vinyl release of Bronco? I’m desperate to have that album on vinyl…
That would be so cool. I would love that. I don’t know if that’s part of the plan or not. I’ve always wanted to have my album on vinyl too so we’ll see how it pans out. I try to take things a day at a time and just be in the moment like This Night Back. I do what I do now and work with what I got now and make the most of it.
You mentioned that your headline tour will take up the rest of the year for you. How do you prepare for something that is as gruelling as it is fun and enjoyable?
It takes a lot of prep. We’ve got a couple rehearsal days on the calendar. We’ve got to get together with the lighting programmer and make sure that all the lights are programmed the right way for the new songs and the transitions between sets. We’re going to have some video elements that have to be pre-produced and we need to make sure everybody is aware of the shows so we’ll be promoting and marketing the shows. There’s a lot that goes into that but it never feels like work on my end because I’m playing music and that’s always a blast!
As a live performer you really give your all when you’re on a stage. How do you keep your voice in such good shape?
I learned how to do that just through voice lessons. They taught me how to basically take care of my voice, the proper way to sing so I don’t blow it out and sleep, I think that’s the biggest part and staying hydrated.
What else do you have in the pipeline at the moment?
There’s the tour and I’m going to start recording more songs for the album. I’m really about some of the songs I’ve decided to record. There’s some great songs that we’ve got coming out in the next project. I’m not sure how long it will take but we’re going to start next week. When it feels right we’ll put it out.
Canaan Smith’s new single This Night Back is available to stream and download now.