Everyone starts as a new artist at some point, and while it may seem like Shinedown have ruled active rock radio for an eternity now, they very much had lessons to learn early on. In a new interview with Ryan Castle for the Audacy Check In, Shinedown's Brent Smith says that it was 3 Doors Down's Brad Arnold that served as his mentor in the early days.

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While Arnold was not long out of high school when 3 Doors Down arrived in the music scene circa 2000, by the time Shinedown were enjoying their breakout a few years later, they were vets in the industry. In fact, 3 Doors Down, who were touring in support of Away From the Sun at the time, took Shinedown out on what Smith calls their "first real tour."

"Just watching Brad interact not only with just his crew, how things were run and how he was so gracious onstage to the fans ... and it was not in a corny way, not in a cheesy way, it was very real. But just watching him and being able to hang out with him and pick his brain and hang out at catering and sit with him and talk and just befriending him [was crucial]," said Smith.

The singer then revealed a favorite saying of his pertaining to the audience was actually somewhat borrowed from Arnold. "I always say in Shinedown we only have one boss, it just happens to be everyone in the audience. But a lot of that came from Brad," said Smith. "He would tell me, 'You can borrow things from other people, but make sure when you're onstage and you're the frontman, you have to find yourself up there, and it can take time, but don't be shy with it either. Explore a lot of different things. You will eventually find what works for you. But you gotta keep at it and you can never phone it in,' which I will never do."

Within the chat, Smith also shared his own path to music, stressing the importance of dedication and determination. "You're talking to a very, very lucky individual, and the reason I say that is because from the moment I entered the earth, I'm doing what I always wanted to do. I always had a very firm knowledge of what I wanted to do, what profession I wanted to be in, that I wanted to be an artist, that I wanted to be a performer, that I wanted to be a songwriter, that I wanted to be a singer and that I never ever looked back," says Smith.

He adds, "I've often told people, don't worry about having a Plan B. Whatever your A Plan is, do that. It doesn't matter how long it takes either to get there, just get there. I think sometimes people are a bit afraid of failure, but you need that in your life. I don't think the foundation of your legacy will be built by your failure, I think the foundation of your legacy will be built by the fact that you refused to give up."

The vocalist recalled getting a fake ID at the age of 14 just so he could go play clubs, and occasionally having to sneak out of the house in order to do so. But looking back on the early struggles, he adds, "That stuff doesn't become something that's a drag when you're inside of it. When you're young and you're hustling and you're grinding and you're struggling, you're still struggling to be able to get onstage to be able to express yourself and to perform, because I always figured I had something to say. So not eating for a couple of days or maybe just getting one meal a day, it didn't really affect me when I was younger."

These days, Smith doesn't have to worry much about having his ID handy to be able to perform at a local club. In fact, the singer was recently given the key to Knox County, Tennessee by mayor Glenn Jacobs (aka pro wrestler Kane) during a stop in Knoxville. Be sure to catch Shinedown out on tour and get your tickets here.

Shinedown's Brent Smith Speaks With Ryan Castle on the Audacy Check In

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