When Caitlyn Smith writes for other artists, the songs are meant to tell their stories. That is until she worked on “Lonely Together” with fellow Nashville singer-songwriter Patrick Droney.
“I walked in thinking we were going to write a song for Patrick,” Smith told SPIN. “But as we were writing the song, I’m realizing, ‘No, no, no. This is my story we’re telling. This is my song.’ So I had to put it on my record.”
And that record is called Supernova.
The follow-up to her 2018 debut, Starfire, Smith opens the new album with “Long Time Coming,” which she co-wrote with producer Christian “Leggy” Langdon and songwriter Jen DeSilvio. While many people would think it’s about heartbreak, she sees it as a “little anthem of hope to myself” after just finishing up maternity leave and dealing with six months of postpartum depression.
“In the verses, it talks about dealing with anxiety and look at the mirror and looking at yourself and parts of you that you’re not so happy with,” Smith said. “And the chorus goes onto to say, ‘You know it’s been a while that I’ve dealt with this, but I’m gonna be OK. We’re going to make it through this.’”
Each of the 12 tracks on Supernova gives us the different nuances that explain Smith’s persona. They don’t shy away from revealing the more vulnerable parts of herself. And one of those songs became the title of the album.
“Supernova was one of the first songs I wrote,” she said. “For me, it became the cornerstone of the record — in the sense of how vulnerable it is and how true it is to my story.”
She continued after taking a breath, “When I put this album together, each little song is almost like its own little supernova — being a bright, beautiful, shining blast. And I kind of pictured each of these songs as tiny little supernovas of human emotion, everywhere from deep loss to loneliness to fear to love and everything in between. It’s one of my favorite songs on the record but is also the perfect name for this piece of art that we’ve created.”
Now that Supernova is out, Smith will be getting ready to hit the road, likely with her husband and two young sons who were born when she toured Starfire. And while that might seem hectic (and she reassures that it can be a “shitshow”), Smith the musician and Smith the mother are one and the same. And no matter where the music takes her, she always wants her children to know two things.
“When I feel stressed or anxious, I zoom out to my 80-year-old self. And what I want to be true at that point in my life is that my boys see love all over everything — more than music, more than songs, more than any cool thing that mom could do. I want them to know that they are loved and for them to love well.”
Supernova is out now on Monument Records.