As this year's National Smile Day approaches (May 30), who better to talk to about the upside-down frown than a Country singer known the world over for his permanent grin -- Niko Moon? "Hey, you know I like to smile," Niko tells Audacy's Katie Neal. "I can't help it!"
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Back in high school, Katie assumes, Niko simply had to be in the running for 'Best Smile.' "You know, I wasn't popular but I wasn't not popular -- I was kind of like in the middle if that makes any sense. I was invisible," he admits.
Niko is anything but "invisible" these days. Besides following up the massive success of his first number-one single "GOOD TIME" with the newly released "NO SAD SONGS," Niko is also currently gearing up to head out on the road along with Lady A, Carly Pearce, and Tenille Arts on their What A Song Can Do tour. "I'm so pumped," he tells Katie. "Live music is back, baby!"
Getting into his brand new single, Niko explained how the idea came about. "I was driving down the road one day, it was sunny, I was feeling good, I had the windows down... and like, three sad songs came on in a row. Nothing against a sad song, sometimes it's a good time for one, but that was not the mood I was in at the moment. I just thought to myself, 'I don't wanna hear no sad songs right now!"
"I wanted this to be my second single," Niko adds, "because we're getting back to life, we're getting back to live music, getting back to normalness -- and I feel like we're in such a celebratory time right now as a country. You know, sad songs are fine but they can wait 'til 2022! It's time to have fun right now."
For Katie, it's already become one of the songs that she sees soundtracking the inevitable "roaring '20s" that approach as the pandemic eventually fades. In the new song, Niko name drops some of his favorite non-sad songs like Darius Rucker's "Wagon Wheel," Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," Zac Brown Band's "Chicken Fried," and Neil Diamond's always epic "Sweet Caroline." If you're looking to make a smile-heavy playlist for your next cookout, look no further. Niko says he would expand his faves with "maybe a little 'hole in the bottle'" by Kelsea Ballerini; maybe a little 'Strawberry Wine'," by Deana Carter; 'Friends In Low Places'," by Garth Brooks; and maybe '5 O'Clock Somewhere'," by Alan Jackson.
Niko has been keeping fans entertained with his weekly at-home live sessions, but getting the invite call to go on tour with Lady A after such a long break was exactly what he's been waiting for all this time. "Yeah, real people not on a screen... I can touch you! You are real! I'm so pumped, Niko says with his signature smile. "When I found out I was so excited... it's like 30-something shows, so it's amazing. I'm playing a bunch of shows as well, outside of that -- I think I've got 90 shows between now and the end of the year."
Niko told Katie he's also excited to write with Lady A's Charles Kelly while they're in each other's company. "I've got some ideas that I know are gonna be just so perfect for them, that I can't wait to share it with him." Other than that to look forward to this summer, Niko says, although "it's really a simple thing... going out to restaurants to eat. I just took it for granted and I'm never going to take it for granted again. I don't think I'm gonna eat at home for the next year!"
Watch the full interview with Katie Neal and Niko Moon above, and stay tuned for more conversations with your favorite artists right here on Audacy.