American Idol fans have grown to love Amory resident Zachariah Smith this past season. He is undeniably talented and is releasing a new single today called “American Grace.”
By his side is his lovely wife, Crysta Marie Smith. The mother of three, the manager of her family’s famous restaurant and Amory staple, Bill’s Hamburgers, and the acting manager of her husband as he rises to fame, she defines the saying: “Women wear many hats.”
Our Mississippi Home had the opportunity to sit down with Crysta and talk about the American Idol experience, her family, and her perspective as a born and raised Amory native.
It’s a busy time for you and your family. How did this all begin?
“Zachariah has been obsessed with ‘American Idol’ since he was young. He’s always wanted to do this. When he talked with me about auditioning, I was supportive but hesitant because I knew he would be gone a lot. We have three young children, and I run a restaurant, so I was worried about that. He auditioned, and then ‘American Idol’ called me and walked me through everything. They told me the kids, and I could be there with him and be a part of everything. This comforted me so much, and now the rest is history!”
Zachariah is originally from Wabash, Indiana. In fact, he will be returning there with his family for a concert and homecoming parade after he leaves L.A. Many might wonder how did you and Zachariah meet?
“Zachariah and my sister were on a traveling youth evangelistic group together. They’d travel and sing in this group, and they became friends. My dad is a pastor in Nashville, and Zachariah started coming to my Dad’s church and singing there too. I go to Nashville often to see my parents, and I met Zachariah there at my dad’s church. Every time I’d see my family or see my sister sing, there he was! He was always there, and well, we fell in love!”
Fans know you and Zachariah through the American Idol spotlight, but is there anything readers might not know that you’d be willing to share?
“Many people don’t know that Zachariah has a younger brother, Nicholas, who is severely autistic. It’s a rare autism, so he cannot walk or talk. Their father died when Zachariah was just eight years old, so he had to become the man of the house at a very young age. Zachariah missed out on some things and sacrificed parts of his childhood because he would have to take the bus home from school, get his brother off the bus, and look after him until their mom got home from work. Things like after-school sports were kind of off the table. I think that’s why he focused so much on music. He would sit and play the guitar, and his brother would listen. Nicholas just comes to life when he hears Zachariah play. This is also one of the many reasons he is such an amazing dad.”
Outside of American Idol, what is a typical day for you like?
“We are very normal and average people. We wake up every morning at 6:30 and get our three kids ready for school. I get the two girls ready, and Zachariah is in charge of getting our son, Mayer, “Mayer-man,” ready and taking him to school. We have about an hour before work, so that’s our time together. We might eat breakfast or go for a walk, and then it’s time to get to the restaurant. Around three o’clock, it’s time to get our kids from school, and before you know it, it’s time for supper, and then we go to bed and get up and do it all over again. We are also very involved in our church. We attend Connect Church in Tupelo, and you know, we’re just a normal family.”
Smith has worked at Bill’s Hamburgers for 20 years. She is the restaurant manager and mentioned the damage that took place during the March 24 tornado.
“The restaurant did suffer damage from the storm. We were so busy until the storm hit because people came from all over to eat burgers and meet Zachariah. We even had people drive from Atlanta to give him a good luck charm — which he did take with him! I had to hire a new grill cook because Zachariah couldn’t cook anymore because he had so many people come to see him, talk with him, and take pictures. We’re hoping to be able to reopen Bill’s Hamburgers at the end of this month. Because the restaurant was closed, I could go to L.A. with Zachariah the entire time. I handled all of his social media and still do. I also handle his bookings. I’m playing manager right now and learning many new things!”
What’s it like having Zachariah and Colin Stough on the show this season and both from Amory?
“They are very good friends, and I think it’s absolutely wonderful! I was born and raised here, and I think it helps put Amory on the map and shows our musical talent. Trent Harmon is also from Amory, and he is so talented. I don’t know if many people realize how talented he is as a producer and songwriter, so he is really pouring into more of that side of his career right now. There is definitely something in the water here in Amory!”
Thank you so much, Crysta. Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
“Just…so many incredible things have happened for Zachariah and our family because of ‘American Idol’ and fan support. We have a lot in store for this next year! I’m doing my best to support my husband, encourage him, and be his rock, so he can do what he loves. I’m so incredibly proud of him.”