New Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Connie Smith says she hopes each new artist in country music will take time to find their own individual voice.
Erika Goldring, Getty Images
"I hear so many of the young people today sing and I think they have a good voice, yet I wonder if they'll ever know that they sound alike," Connie tells The Boot. "I still like to see it come from their heart. Sometimes it needs to bypass the head."
Connie first traveled to Nashville at the encouragement of Bill Anderson, who saw her perform in her home state of Ohio. "When I came to Nashville, there was room for a million but only one of each. We tried very hard not to sound like anyone else," the singer explains. "We had to be different or we couldn't have gotten in at the time I was here. I want these artists to know that they can sing from the heart and be who they are and create their own space. I do think there are a lot of people being who they are; that's what I want for all the artists ... let their heart express who they are. It comes from just loving the music and loving the people who are your fans."
Although singing has always remained her focus, Connie reveals that one her favorite parts of being a performer has always been signing autographs after her shows. "We sign until everybody's gone," she says. "That is one of the ways we have of getting the input of the hearts and people who come out to see us, who are our fans and the reason we are here."
Connie is still in awe that she will be in the Hall of Fame with so many of her heroes, including Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells and Patsy Cline. At the same time, she doesn't see the honor as an opportunity to retire.
"We just put