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Sy Smith has long since solidified her place in the world of underground soul music (she’s often

called “the hardest working woman in underground soul”). This Los Angeles-based singer,

songwriter and producer helped cultivate the nu-soul scene in that city more than 10 years ago, a scene which now easily boasts some of the most progressive artists of that genre to date

some of whom came directly from Smith’s own band line-ups (including Thundercat and Kamasi Washington). Her catalog includes 5 studio albums, with contributions from a who’s who of producers (James Poyser of The Roots, Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest and Nicolay of The Foreign Exchange). All 5 of her albums, including her brand new project

“Sometimes A Rose Will Grow In Concrete” have been heralded by critics around the world

for Smith’s lyrical dexterity, her vocal whimsy (often colored with a very distinctive rhythmic

swing that’s all her own) and her ability to spin a story like few others in soul music.

Listeners often remark on Smith’s vocal range, which moves effortlessly from a speakeasy, gritty alto allthe way to a stratospheric soprano whistle register reminiscent of the late Minnie Riperton.

Smith’s career began as a backing vocalist on some of the music industry’s most coveted gigs.

She has provided supporting vocals for Whitney Houston, Sheila E., Meshell Ndegeocello,

Chaka Khan, Usher, Macy Gray and The Rickey Minor Band (as seen on American Idol for six

seasons and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno). Most recently though, she’s caught the ear of

jazz aficionados as a featured guest with Grammy-winning trumpeter Chris Botti. Audiences

around the world are often astounded to see Smith’s voice and Botti’s trumpet go note-for-note in playful competition on stage, and her performances of “The Look Of Love” on his Grammy-nominated DVD “Live In Boston” and “The Very Thought Of You” on his 2018 PBS special “Great Performances” are audience favorites. Jazz critics have also taken note of Smith’s solo performances in her genre-bending presentations (e.g. “SySingsJanet!”, her jazz-reworking of classic Janet Jackson songs), which include her often sitting in on piano, synth bass and

manipulating her own vocal effects on with an on-stage processor.

Smith has received two NAACP Theater Award nominations, both for best supporting actress in

a comedy/musical, for her theater work in Los Angeles (Michael Ajakwe’s If You Don’t Believe: A

Love Story, Body Language), and she has numerous television acting credits (Ally McBeal, How

I Met Your Mother, American Dad). Her voice can be heard as the character of Aisha on the

popular video game franchise Saint’s Row (she also wrote/produced some of the music for this

game!). She has an Emmy nomination for her songwriting (Best Music/Lyrics for “Welcome

Back All My Soulmates” for HBO’s Dancing In September). This NYC-born/Washington DC-

raised woman is a proud graduate of Howard University where she earned a bachelor of

science in psychology.

Artist's Website:  


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