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Life & Work with Kendell Smith

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kendell Smith.

Hi Kendell, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Being a singer-songwriting, guitarist and full-time musician is a childhood dream. I remember being five years old, playing hide and go seek with my older brother and sister and all I could think about was performing. Then, was the youngest, but I was also very fast, so they would somehow always make sure I was ‘It’. I would walk around the ‘searching’ for them as I sang and imagined being on stage with my rock band. Music is what truly makes me happy. My journey has taken me from singing in Middle school choir, getting my first guitar at 13, majoring in music and to writing and recording for myself and others and teaching. I recently accepted a new journey as an Elementary Music Voice Teacher to TK-5 grades. We have an absolute blast every day. Children are the best participants and will sing their hearts out.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I am not sure if anyone’s road is ever smooth or is it supposed to be. I believe it unfolds itself to you as you are ready and prepared for the next step. My greatest example recently was an Assistant Principal of Special Education for the previous four years. I have been a public educator for over 15 years while pursuing my dream to do music full-time. I decided to make the switch because you must follow the path that you believe is meant for you, no matter how good you are at the other paths. Being able to do music, perform and record, getting calls or messages to write songs for others makes waking up so much more exciting. Even when you are exhausted, you cannot wait to keep going and create more. It is truly special.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I will follow my wife’s advice on this one. My voice is what sets me apart. I have a great singing voice and coupled with the songs I write I the results are great. I follow the advice of a trumpet player that used to play for Frank Sinatra. I played some guitar for him and he said, “That’s great. But if you want to get somewhere, you have to sing.” I have a great feel for phrasing and range that is broad for many styles. I like to call myself a Songsmith. I gravitate towards writing songs. I can sit down and write about any situation. However, I try to focus on songs that help people celebrate and dance. We are on this rock for a short time and we need to enjoy as much of it as possible. For example, I have been requested to write songs in Cumbia and other Latin styles, or Hip Hop, Blues and R & B. For me, I follow in the philosophy of Louis Armstrong, “There is two kinds of music, the good, and the bad. I play the good kind.” I focus on feeling and really connecting with the listener. I get to do what I absolutely love, I enjoy creating music that listeners not only fall in love with but really make it a part of themselves.

To me, that is the mark of a good song. I work as a singer. People really enjoy my voice. I love to get into the recording room and make a song come to life. And I am a guitarist for hire. I love playing rhythm and soloing and really making a song better. Adding that flavor. My most recent compliment I received was after playing with a group for the very first time, just one rehearsal before the performance, the sound guy runs up to us and says, “You guys really sound great together.” He was referring to the lead singer on acoustic guitar and me backing up on electric with different effects. I a direct from the beginning and let everyone I work with know I will provide what you need. I will write, I will sing, I will play guitar and add some dancing just for fun. I am there to make the music better.

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
When I was in college, I was referred to audition for a Barry White cover band that was heading out to tour in Japan. I backed out because I was in my fourth year of university, my final semester was about to begin and I wanted to complete my education. I sometimes wonder if maybe I could have taken a semester off and had that experience.

Contact Info:

  • Email: kendellsmithmusic@gmail.com
  • Website: kendellsmith.com
  • Instagram: kendellsmusic
  • Facebook: kendellsmithmusic

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