His roots are rock n’ roll. He listens to Americana Jazz. His vocals give away his Danville, Kentucky upbringing. And his passion? Well, it’s making what he believes is ‘real music,’ while writing lyrics that are as unique as he is.
“If I were a piece of clothing I’d be a tuxedo t-shirt. I guess ‘cuz that’s just me—clean and conservative, but a little rough around the edges,” he said. Though he does have the charisma of the boy next door, Smith Ahnquist is no doubt original, and the music he makes is a reflection of that. “When I write a song I try to take normal everyday situations and describe them in ways that people wouldn’t normally think about… add in a little acoustic and base, some drums, piano and an occasional wind instrument…and then hope it hooks them enough to stick it on repeat. When somebody puts your song on repeat you know you’ve done something right.”
From whimsical love songs like “Her Memory,” and “Every Ounce of Me” to soulful upbeat tunes like “My Way” and “Don’t Stop Now,” Smith’s debut album, Move On, showcases his clean, conservative musical foundation that’s edgy mayhem makes it authentic. “Most of my music is inspired by love… wishing to have it, finding it, losing it, and then the hardest part—moving on when it’s done. I wrote these songs straight out of my heart based off of my own past experiences and mixed them into edgy acoustic melodies similar to the sound of Dave Matthews Band.”
Born on September 5, 1987 into a musical family, Smith was destined to possess a musical passion. “My dad was in a rock band when I was growing up.” “I remember him having all the guys over our house to practice and letting me play drums or guitar. We’d rock out to “Black Magic Woman” by Fleetwood Mac and “Knock on Wood” by Eddie Floyd. That’s when I knew I loved this.”
Smith attended high school at Boyle County H.S. where he played bass guitar in a jazz band and was a member of the choir. At graduation he wrote and performed the song, “Tomorrow,” after which he received a personal compliment from Eddie Montgomery, member of the modern duo country act Mongomery Gentry. “I guess the performance was alright,” Smith humbly alluded. His song “Raindown” also receives regular radio airplay on 107.1 WHIR “The Skunk” in Danville.
During 1 year of college at Valparaiso University in Indiana, Smith spent time writing songs and playing with his band at local venues and state fairs. In 2006, he moved to Nashville, TN where he currently lives and attends Belmont University. He is majoring in Music Business with an emphasis in Production. He is a member of NSAI, Nashville Songwriter’s Association International, and is currently working on pitching songs to publishers who can help him jumpstart his career. “I plan on interning within the next year while working on a second album,” he said. “Right now it’s about doing anything and everything I’ve got to do to get my foot in the door and make my dream happen.”
“This is what I’m going to do; there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “And hopefully I can make a little money while I’m at it.” “But the main thing is that I write things that will mean something to somebody—make them think. And if I can do that while still being uniquely “me” and completely “real”, well I guess you could say I’d have it all.