Ernest is the mononymous stage of American country singer Ernest Keith Smith, who was born and raised in Nashville, TN. A baseball player in college, he returned to his hometown and began writing songs informed by childhood influences of rap and country music. One of his earliest compositions was Florida Georgia Line's "Dig Your Roots," which became the title track of the duo's platinum-selling third album in 2016. One year later, Ernest made his debut as a solo artist with "Doperman" and "Bad Boy." Although neither song charted, his success as a songwriter landed him a record deal with Big Loud, who released his debut album, Locals Only, in October 2019. One year later, Ernest co-write Chris Lane's "Big Big Plans," Sam Hunt's "Breaking Up Was Easy in the 90s," and Morgan Wallen's "More Than My Hometown," all of which reached Number 1 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart. Although Locals Only had failed to chart, Ernest's string of chart-topping hit songs for other artists helped reignite interest in his solo career, and he earned a Top 40 single of his own with 2021's "Flower Shops." A duet with Morgan Wallen, "Flower Shops" reached Number 15 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, Number 22 on Country Airplay, and Number 67 on the Hot 100, while also cracking the Top 50 in Australia and Canada.