Legendary Rockers Shinedown Are Back at It with the Inspiring 'Daylight': 'It's an Epiphany'

"When you're in a writing session and something like 'Daylight' happens, we call it a gift because it kind of writes itself," Smith tells PEOPLE of the new single

Shinedown - Daylight Photo - credit Sanjay Parikh
Shinedown. Photo: Sanjay Parikh

Shinedown's Brent Smith is not one to be easily discouraged, even when the world seems to be falling down.

"It motivates me," Smith, 44, tells PEOPLE in an interview mere hours after the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas that took the lives of 19 children and two of their teachers. "I'm motivated to do the work. You can talk about it all you want, but you must take those conversations and put them into action. We're all on this planet together. We've got to figure out ways to take care of one another." He pauses. "You don't have to bow to the chaos. You must figure out a way."

It's an uplifting message that Smith and his Shinedown bandmates — Zach Myers, Eric Bass, and Barry Kerch— has been spreading ever since the band's earliest days.

"If there's one thing that this band is, it's honest," Smith says of the groundbreaking band, who have long taken up the mental health flag proudly. "We don't pull this material out of thin air and make it up. A lot of what we write is about the situations that we've been involved in and the life that we lead and the people we meet."

And now, it's this most important of messages that the multi-platinum band is spreading yet again via their new single "Daylight," the most powerful of pop-rock songs created to remind us that we are truly all in this together.

"The song was born out from what we all dealt with for the last three years, which was a global pandemic," says Smith of the song he wrote in California alongside Zach Myers, Eric Bass and Dave Bassett back in June of 2020. "We wanted to try to write it as if we were looking three years ahead of us."

And while this look into the future started off as optimistic, Smith remembers soon feeling as if the pandemic was going to end up being a longer journey than anyone could have imagined.

But still, the songwriter in him persevered.

"It was about understanding all of those elements during the pandemic, but it could also just be about life in general," Smith explains. "It's an epiphany. It's a light bulb. It's a reminder that we must learn to live with one another and that should be celebrated, and not just tolerated."

And once Smith and his co-writers allowed themselves to fall into that creative pocket, the song began to pour from their collective souls.

"'Daylight' fell out of the sky," he says of the song which was written in the span of just 45 minutes and will soon be found on Shinedown's seventh studio album Planet Zero come July. "The words came so quickly. When you're in a writing session and something like 'Daylight' happens, we call it a gift because it kind of writes itself. The universe is real. And if you listen to it, it will guide you in the direction that you need to go in. It will also guide you in the direction of the people you need to get it in front of."

To ensure that the message of the song came through, Smith says that the modern rock powerhouses with the slew of No. 1 hits had to be very specific as to how the song was recorded and mixed.

"We didn't want to focus on bombastic elements such as distorted guitars and such," Smith recalls. "We wanted the intent of the song to be heard."

And it was heard loud and clear back in April, when more than 14,000 fans were on hand to hear Shinedown perform the emotional "Daylight" for the first time.

"I had this calm come over me right before we played it," remembers Smith, who will head out for the group's Planet Zero World Tour through the U.S. this September, following summer dates in Canada, Europe, and the UK. "The song just took over. The song wrapped its arms around us and said, 'I got you.'"

And at the end of the day, Smith hopes that it's these kinds of songs and these kinds of messages end up being Shinedown's legacy forevermore.

"I believe that human beings are inherently good and that we inherently want to take care of each other," he concludes. "I just don't want people to lose their empathy towards each other. If you see someone on their knees, don't walk past them… pick them up."

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