Even so early into her career, there’s a lot that’s been said about Reeny Smith. At 23, even before releasing music and setting her career in motion, she’s had the uncanny ability to seemingly win any music award she’s been near and comes into Jubilee just having wrapped a one-year Artist in Residence program at Casino Nova Scotia.
The program granted her numerous opportunities including, $20,000 to be used for the benefit of her career — marketing, advertising, recording or otherwise.
Music, especially gospel, has been an integral part of Smith’s life from a young age.
“Most of the music I like is gospel-centred or has that gospel kind of flavour or that bluesy kind of flavour,” Smith said. “I grew up singing in the church so all I heard was gospel singing growing up. It was pretty much the main style of music I heard, that and R&B and a bit of blues as well.”
Smith tries to incorporate all those elements into her sound today.
“It’s very evident when people hear me,” Smith said. “They hear the different influences. That’s important that people can tell a person’s cultural upbringing on the way they sound, the way their music feels. That’s something that I try to keep in mind when I’m writing
and when I’m performing.”
Smith has never been afraid to blur the lines between her influences.
“When I think of R&B and blues and everything they all come out of the same thing,” Smith said. “They come out of that same style of R&B and jazz. It’s not really a struggle for me to dive in between both because they’re so similar in certain aspects that it’s so natural to cross over.”
Live, Smith can occasionally be found at the keys but spends most of the show “singing and dancing and getting into all kinds of trouble.”
Not the scandalous sort of trouble, mind you, just trouble. It’s a style of working a crowd unlikely to be learned through the church, and it’s certainly not a product of the St. FX Jazz program. Instead, Smith said, it’s an extension of her normally reserved personality and a bit of rocking out to the mirror.
“I’ve always been a shy person, never liked to be a person who was overly expressive so as I’ve gotten older and started to perform more I started to feel more comfortable… those things just come out and I just try to have fun and engage the audience. I just want them to have as much fun as I am on stage.”
Listen to Smith’s recorded work and you’ll either be blown away by the sophistication of her writing or just how massive her sound is.
Reeny Smith will be taking the stage Sunday night.