Photo of Big Smo

20 Things You Need to Know About Smo

By Dena Ross Higgins

Think you know Smo? Whether you're a longtime fan of the artist or just getting to know the A&E star, you'll be surprised by some of these fun facts about the new king of hick-hop.

1.     Smo's real name is John Smith. No, really.

2.     He got the name Big Smo from his older brother, whose nickname was "Schma." Instead of people calling Smo "Little Schma" they started calling him "Big Smo." Smo says, "It was like a brother thing: 'Schma' and 'Smo.'"

3.     Smo grew up playing instruments. He played the trumpet in middle school and was in his high school band's drum line.

4.     The first two cassette tapes he got as a kid were from Hank Williams, Jr. and The Fat Boys.

5.     Smo started writing in high school. "I hated school. I hated homework," he says. "But I loved to write: poetry, stories, songs."

6.     The first concert Smo ever went to was Warrant, FireHouse, and Trixter. "I was 14 years old. I snuck out and went with a friend of mine who was 16," he says. "We snuck in — we didn't even pay to get into the concert. It was at Starwood in Nashville. It was great."

7.     Big Smo's dad was in the Navy for 25 years and then worked on an Air Force base for another 27 years. He was strict, but took good care of Big Smo and his family.

8.     Smo has a special place in his heart for his fans, whom he considers his family, which is why he calls them "kinfoke."

9.     Smo makes his own barbeque sauce, Meat Mud, that he sells at shows.

10.    Once Smo realized so many kids were listening to his music, he started cleaning up his lyrics.

11.    Smo prefers his moonshine flavored. His favorite is peach.

12.    Smo loves to cook. His specialty is over-sized stuffed shells.

13.    Smo says he has a birthmark on his back that looks like Tennessee upside down.

14.    Big Smo started his music career by performing at a bar called M T Bottle in Murfeesboro, Tennessee. The bar was going downhill, so Big Smo brought in Jon Taffer from the show Bar Rescue to help fix it up. Jon wound up successfully transforming and improving the bar, which is now renamed Bottles and Cans.

15.    If Smo could have ribs with three dead musicians, they'd be Jim Morrison, Jerry Reed, and Johnny Cash. "What a song we would come up with," he says.

16.    The recording studio on Smo's property was his great-grandfather's country store.

17.     Smo's got an '88 K5 Chevrolet with 35-inch tires that he uses to go mudding.

18.    The craziest thing Smo says he has seen on tour is his fans, but a close second is when his hype man, Alex, vomited off of the back of the stage mid-show.

19.     Smo met his girlfriend Whitney after one of her friends left a jacket at one of his shows. He started hanging out with the friend and one day the friend brought Whitney along. "When I saw Whitney, I immediately fell in love," Smo says.

20.    Smo says the best advice his mother ever gave him is "Finish your plate."