For many FFA members, their interest in agriculture can intersect with another passion — for Sam L. Smith of the Montgomery County FFA Chapter in Kentucky, that passion happens to be music. A junior in high school, Smith is an independent country Christian recording artist, and his most recent single (available on Spotify and other platforms) is all about the FFA experience.
Sam L. Smith (not to be confused with “How Do You Sleep?” singer Sam Smith) was inspired to create the song “Blue Jackets” after his experience as a National FFA Talent Competition finalist at the 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo in 2019.
“Seeing all the blue jackets and all the things that were going on during that week really had a big impact on me,” Smith said. “Once you go to national convention, it hits different. You don’t really see the real FFA until you walk into national convention in Indianapolis and see all the blue corduroys and the gold letters.”
On his way home from national convention, the idea for an FFA-inspired song came to Smith, and he contacted his producer. Collaborating with instrumentalists in Nashville, Smith recorded his vocals in Winchester, Ky., and then “Blue Jackets” debuted in March.
Smith comes from an agricultural background; he grew up on a farm and has competed in barrel racing competitions for several years. For music, he shared one of his formative memories from a middle school choir recital.
“They wanted me to sing ‘Blue Christmas,’” Smith said. “I’d never sung in front of people at all, and it was new. I realized that was kind of my thing; it’s what I wanted to do.”
On his journey as a recording artist, Smith not only got to travel to Indianapolis for national convention — his music has propelled him to perform at churches, festivals and county fairs around Kentucky and beyond.
“I’ve auditioned for The Voice – didn’t make the TV round,” Smith said. “I’ve won the National Barrel Horse Association Idol Contest.”
Smith said he would love to continue working as a recording artist for his career, but he has the field of business in mind as a back-up option.
“Just knowing that song’s out and everybody’s enjoying it so much makes me so happy because I’ve done something good for the blue jackets.”