About two months ago, I featured the Belinda Smith / Tony Wood song “Not That You Died” in the encore series. One of the co-authors, Belinda Smith, commented on the post, and in a subsequent email exchange, I asked to do a mini-interview with her for the site. While it took a little while to pull off the logistics, here you go!
Daniel: What is your background? How did you get involved in songwriting?
Belinda: I grew up in West Virginia and my grandpa was the pastor of our church. He put me on stage very early, long before I could play the piano for myself, and let me sing in front of people. I bet everybody in the congregation hated that, now that I think about it. Anyway, I was invited to join a local gospel group probably around the 8th grade and I started writing songs by accident. It just started happening. Maybe we were getting tired of covering all the Nelons’ and Hoppers’ songs.
I was probably 13 when I took a cassette of two songs to a Cathedrals concert in Huntington, WV, and gave my first pitch to Roger Bennett. God bless that man for not laughing in my face. Instead, he wrote me a hand written letter of encouragement on group letterhead which I still have today. You can imagine how cool it was when Roger and Scott Fowler chose our song, “I Stand Redeemed,” for their first Legacy V single.
Anyway, when I really got serious about songwriting back in college, a friend from my area, John Darin Rowsey, took some of my songs to his publisher in Nashville. Niles Borop opened the door for me at Centergy Music, I moved to Nashville six months later, and here we are.
Daniel: Do any of your recent songs cut by Southern Gospel groups (say in the last 5 years or so) have an interesting story behind the song?
Belinda: I probably shouldn’t mention it till it’s actually out, but here we go. A brand new song that I think people will be hearing before too long (if things go according to today’s plan), will be on the new Legacy V record. The weird thing about this song is that I co-wrote it with Daywind writer Ben Storie and I don’t recall having ever met Ben. We’ve written this whole song by email, text, and phone calls, and I wouldn’t know Ben if I passed him on the street. Isn’t that crazy? Oh, and I’m not going to tell you the name of the new song. You’ll have to buy the CD to find out.
Daniel: How can people who’ve enjoyed one of your songs get in touch with you?
Belinda: The best way to get in touch with me is email. Melmak443@yahoo.com. I will say, just so we can avoid any awkwardness, that I cannot listen to any songs that songwriters might send. It’s purely legal stuff, but this way we’re all protected. For all the songwriters who’d like to further their careers, I suggest www.writeaboutjesus.com. It’s the best workshop of its kind for songwriters.
Daniel: Thank you!