I learned of the amazing and talented artist a few weeks back and fell in love with his melodic world music like sound. I love the uniqueness of his playing. I was able to ask him a few questions regarding his musical journey and where he's headed. This is what he told me.
Give me a little bit about your background. Where are you from and how did you get started in music?
I was born in November 1989 in Lansing, Michigan, and lived there for a few years before my Dad’s job moved us to Grand Rapids, Michigan. When I was around 10 years old, we moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At age 20 I moved to Chicago to attend Columbia College.
I got started in music through my Dad. He played Hammond organ in his teen years and had an acoustic guitar laying around the house when I was growing up. In 3rd grade I wanted to follow in my big sister’s footsteps so I tried violin, but for only a couple of months. In 4th grade, I played trumpet in the school bands up until my Sophomore year of high school. Then, I put down the trumpet and picked up my little sister’s acoustic guitar. I ended up trading with my neighbor for his electric guitar. I fell in love with the guitar and the rest is history. What was the most memorable moment in your music career?
It’s very difficult to pick only one “most” memorable moment, but if I had to pick only one it would be finishing this Adinkra album and releasing it to the world after 7 years of working on the writing and recording of it! I am very grateful for so many moments… From the first time playing on the World Stage of the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise to the numerous times playing at Buddy Guy’s Legends with the Michael Coleman and Biscuit Miller bands, to
The small restaurant gig I hired my Dad to play keyboards and key-bass, or the many great memories recording in various studios working with people I admire. What was your most challenging moment?
Again, a tough question, only picking one moment. I think the most challenging moment for me was, and continues to be, learning how to live with my depression and not let it get the best of me so I can continue to work and create. Who are your musical influences?
Pretty much every bit of music that tickles my ears can be considered to be an influence. Michael Coleman taught me a lot about music through his years of mentorship. If you could do a duet and or have someone write a song for you from your favorite artist, dead or alive, who would it be?
Oh wow, it would be pretty cool to record a song with Jimi Hendrix.
What is the last song you’ve listened to by another artist and who are your present favorites?
The last song I’ve listened to is “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Prince. My current favorites include some of the fusion jazz guys like Al Di Meola and Scott Henderson. Chick Corea, his style has always been a favorite of mine. What was your most embarrassing moment while at a live performance or interview?
Ha! We (Biscuit Miller and the Mix) played a festival on St. John’s, US Virgin Islands. Our band leader told us we had to wear all white dress attire and the only white I had were these that went above my knees and had a weird stain on them (I don’t know where it came from). It wasn’t so bad, except that I have chicken legs so I’ve never been a fan of wearing shorts! How many singles/albums do you have out presently and are there any projects in the works?
Including this latest solo album, Adinkra, I have a self-released blues album I recorded in high school. I have some recordings available on www.bluepotatorecords.com which I’ve produced and played on for various artists. I currently have a solo album due out (hopefully) mid-November 2020. The instruments are all recorded but I may end up writing and recording vocals, which could push the release back a little bit. Due to the CoVid19 pandemic canceling live performances I’ve been focusing a lot more on writing and recording. I try to keep up to date with social media platforms as well.
are your either weird habits or traditions before performing live or recording?
I don’t like to have bulky things in my pockets when playing guitar or working on music, I like to have my pockets empty when I perform or record. I don’t think that’s too weird though.
What advice would you like to give to upcoming artists?
Don’t give up and sometimes it’s okay to step away from something and come back to it.
Try to trust yourself.
NEW ALBUM ADRINKA Link: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/alexsmith1/alex-smith-adinkra