Conner Smith surprised by 'I Hate Alabama' TikTok success: "It changed everything"

18 March 2024, 12:46 | Updated: 18 March 2024, 14:16

Conner Smith talks to Smooth Country
Conner Smith talks to Smooth Country. Picture: Smooth/Global/Conner Smith

By Tom Eames

Conner Smith is one of the most exciting new stars of country music.

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He released his first single in 2022, and has since gained a large following and has performed around the world.

Conner performed at this year's Country 2 Country (C2C) Festival in the UK, bringing his hits including 'Creek Will Rise' and 'Take it Slow' to new audiences.

Smooth Country's Eamonn Kelly caught up with Conner about the show, plus his debut album Smoky Mountains and working with the likes of Thomas Rhett and Sam Hunt.

  • Watch the interview on Global Player or below:

Conner Smith surprised by 'I Hate Alabama' TikTok success: "It changed everything"

Conner spoke about the surprise viral success of his 2021 song 'I Hate Alabama', which saw it gain millions of streams on social platforms including TikTok.

The song is about the heartbreak of a relationship that was ended in the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama that Conner had experienced, comparing it to the Third Saturday in October college football rivalry between Alabama and Tennessee.

"It's an interesting thing," he said. "I think every artist's journey is different and story is different. And I think that social media as a whole is such a massive ability and platform to reach so many people.

Conner Smith - I Hate Alabama

"I mean, it was never the game plan to go viral by any means. This song just kind of did its on its own. I don't even have TikTok on my phone, I'm sporadic on Instagram. But this song, 'I Hate Alabama', came out, and it was funny.

"We were in Norway last night, and a guy yelled out for me to play this song, and I was telling them, 'when I put out this song, it was a song about Tennessee and their rival Alabama, and I didn't think anybody outside of the state of Tennessee would care about it'. And then here we are in Norway, and some dude yells it out.

"And so that song just took on a life of its own and really changed everything. As a new artist, to have a song that whether you love it or hate it, it makes people want to know who's singing that. I think that changes everything."