A native of Alexandria, Louisiana, Smith is the product of two generations of musicians, with his father and grandfather both influencing his interest, albeit indirectly. Until his early teens, Alex had little desire to follow the same path his father had as a working musician, mainly because, he says, "it was kind of cliché." The youngster even quit piano lessons, a decision he admittedly still regrets. But even as a toddler, he recalls being influenced by country music. After moving to Nashville, Smith was introduced by his manager to superstar Vince Gill, an iconic performer whose songs were a constant source of pleasure during his earliest years. When Smith called his mother, a pharmacist in Alexandria, to tell her of the encounter, she excitedly asked him, "Did you tell him you wanted him to come to your birthday party when you were three?" (For the record, he didn't.) Still, while country music had been imprinted on him early on, he had no desire to play an instrument, even though his dad owned a plethora of guitars. It took a "virtual" instrument to finally turn things around.
"I was about 13 when [the videogame] Guitar Hero came out," he recalls. "I thought, 'Well, this is kind of fun! I wonder what it would be like on a real guitar.' One of my buddies had a guitar at his house and I learned 'Smoke on the Water'." Armed with a baby Taylor his dad gave him, the teenager voraciously studied other players' YouTube videos and quickly advanced his natural skills. During his junior year at Holy Savior Menard High School he progressed to playing guitar for school masses. By the following year he was also beginning to sing.
Although he had relocated to Lafayette, La., to attend college, for the first couple of years music was merely a hobby, something to play for his buddies around the house. That changed, however, when he took note of some friends who were playing around Lafayette and making good money for just a few hours "work." Picking up a gig at a pool party at the apartment complex where he lived, fate intervened when he was spotted by the manager of a local daiquiri shop, who offered to let him play a one-hour show there. Smith packed the house, and the one-hour set became a three-hour showcase. "It kind of snowballed from there and I played everywhere in Lafayette after that," he says.
When the singer-songwriter began making trips to Nashville, his future became clearer. Still, he graduated in December 2015, with a degree in hospitality management. "It's a good fallback," he says, sensibly. "You end up with a business degree, too. I learned a lot of business stuff throughout." But rather than opt for a job within that industry, Alex moved to Music City, fully immersing himself in co-writing, recording and performing.