Drae Smith
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Drae Smith

Youngstown, Ohio, United States

Youngstown, Ohio, United States
Hip Hop R&B

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Drae “D-Rae” Smith awoke on Aug. 10, 2010, to a nervousness that pounded through his body. In just a few hours, the Youngstown State University student would be performing as the opening act for one of his idols, Wiz Khalifa, at the Covelli Centre.
It was the fruition of years singing into toy microphones and recording on his computer.

But as the curtain rose that night, revealing an audience of thousands, the oppressive wave released him. He said he felt at home.
“It was a dream come true,” Smith said. “I knew at that moment that this is what I wanted to do for a living.”
Smith also opened for Wiz Khalifa on Sept. 28 at the Covelli Centre.
“I’ve seen Wiz perform 10 or 15 times,” Smith said. “I’ve been following him since he was starting out. So that was a great moment for me.”
Smith has also opened for Yelawolf and Machine Gun Kelly. His music has been played on JAMZ 101.9, a Youngstown radio station.
“I can’t say exactly why I love rap; I just love it. I love the wordplay, and I was obsessed with how you could use rhymes to tell a story,” Smith said.
Smith’s own story is equal parts talent and motivation. He is maintaining a 3.5 GPA in YSU’s marketing program, a skill he said he believes will set him apart from many other artists.
“A lot of rappers just rap. I don’t just rap,” Smith said. “I’m handling the marketing, promotion — I’m my own manager. I’m handling everything.”
A self-proclaimed “nerd,” Smith said his education is a launch pad for furthering his music career; his objective is to learn all aspects of the music industry.
“It’s good to learn,” Smith said, adding that he wants to break the “rapper” stereotype by being a role model to his younger fans.
“I want to give the music a more intelligent face. Artists these days are smart, but you might not know it because they rap about money, drugs and women,” Smith said. “I want to change it to where you can listen to hip-hop and maybe learn something.”
He said if kids are going to look up to him as a role model, he wants to use this responsibility in a way his idols didn’t.
“A lot of rappers rap about dropping out of school and selling drugs. Maybe we should tell kids to stay in school and to get an education,” Smith said.
He has come a long way since recording into his computer as a high school freshman. Smith now records with Fynal Step sound engineer Jamie Ford.
Ford has been working with him since Smith was a junior in high school.
While recording “Call Your Name,” a song for Smith’s new mixtape, Ford provided feedback for Smith, and the two communicated through the soundboard.
“This is definitely a different side of D-Rae,” Ford said.

Whereas the majority of Smith’s songs have a modern vibe to them, “Call Your Name” has an old school, hip-hop feel.
Ford said he believes Smith has what it takes to make it, and that he has seen significant progression since first meeting Smith as a high school student.
“He’s starting to get it,” Ford said.
“Call Your Name,” is a love song — not about a romantic interest, but rather a love song he wrote for the true love of his life: music. The first line of the song sets up how his love started.
“Since I was 4 years old, I’ve had this music in my veins. Now, I’m in my 20s. Not a single thing has changed,” Smith rapped into the studio microphone.
Although Smith carries the bulk of the responsibility in his project, he isn’t alone.
Brandenn Keylor, his lifelong friend and an exercise science major at YSU, and Austin Pence, his merchandise designer, joined him as he recorded.
All of them bobbed their heads as they listened to the recorded song, while Smith went through the motions of singing to a crowd.
“This is crazy. I mean, I’ve seen him from the very beginning,” Keylor said.
Smith’s friend Jon Louthan acts as his manager. Smith said Louthan has been there every step of the way.
The two became friends when they played football together in seventh grade.
“When we first started this, people thought it was a joke,” Louthan said. “Now, it’s cool to see him evolve and becoming a real artist.”
Louthan started out by helping Smith book shows. He also designed tickets and fliers.
Louthan has a passion for music, designing and editing videos.
“It would be a dream come true if we can do what we’ve been doing on a professional level,” Louthan said.
He plans on helping Smith as his manager in the future.
Smith said he wants to use his music as a platform for his business, Keep It Movin’ Music, which is both a record label and a movement.
His inspiration, he said, comes from merging his two talents: music and marketing.
“Life keeps moving. You might go through a death in the family, or have no money. There are problems everywhere, but you have to keep it moving through the problems,” Smith said.
Smith said he hopes to inspire all listeners to pursue what they are
passionate about.
“A lot of people, their dreams don’t pan out, so they settle. But if you’re passionate about something, d - The Jambar


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Drae Michael Smith (D-RAE) was born on July 29, 1991 in Salem, Ohio. Growing up in the small town of East Palestine, Ohio, he was exposed to all types of music and showed a somewhat extreme interest in music at an early age. Starting at the age of 4, Smith would perform all his favorite songs using a toy microphone and music playing from the home stereo system. It became clear very early that music was in his blood and would more than likely become a big part of his life. In the 5th Grade, Smith was introduced to hip-hop and fell in love not long after. He attended his first hip-hop/rap concert in the 5th grade and while he had always loved all types of music, it quickly became clear that hip-hop was his favorite genre. At the age of 14, Smith realized that he wanted to take his love and passion for music to another level. He decided that he was going to begin writing and recording his own lyrics in the form of hip-hop songs.
With the help of life-long friend, Matt Greene, he began recording songs using a computer microphone and Window’s Sound Recorder. The next few years would prove to be a challenging time for Smith who took a significant amount of criticism and animosity for what he was trying to do. The criticism while harsh was understandable. Smith, being a young teenager was rapping about guns, violence, drugs and everything else he had heard in the music he was listening to but was certainly not involved with growing up in small town in Ohio. The music was very low-quality and was something that his blue-collar community was not familiar with or accepting of. Even with the amount of negativity coming his way, Smith vowed to him self that this was his dream and he was going to work as hard as possible to prove all of his doubters wrong. Over the next 4 years, during Smith’s high school days he continued to constantly work on his craft and improve his music. With the help of his friend Jon Louthan, he released a number of free mix tapes to classmates, showing improvement and growth with each one. Eventually he started recording at a professional recording studio and performing his music live across Northeastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. On August 14th, 2010, Smith took the stage as an opening act for Atlantic Record’s Recording Artist Wiz Khalifa who was one of his favorite artists growing up. He gave a tremendous performance and finally had gained the attention and respect he had been working so hard for over the years.
With his music improving and gaining attention, Smith and his partner Jon Louthan decided it was time to take everything to the next level and become more serious. In 2011, Smith shared the stage with Bad Boy Record’s Recording Artist Machine Gun Kelly and Shady Record’s Recording Artist Yelawolf. They also began to brand and promote their “Keep It Movin” movement. Smith and Louthan decided that what they had been doing for 5 years was much more than making hip-hop music. It had been a journey of a few normal, small-town kids who formed some not so normal big-time dreams and aspirations. They had faced a lot of challenges in the form or hate, criticism, low-budgets and no support, but through it all they kept things moving and continued to work hard. They want to be a source of inspiration for those who have dreams of any kind, to always keep their head up and know that if they believe and work hard, good things will come their way. We all struggle with the daily obstacles life throws our way. Sometimes it sounds better to lie in bed all day than face the day ahead of us. When you’re feeling down and out, it’s crucial to stay positive and attack your obstacles as challenges. Self motivation is what keeps you moving; it’s what keeps the world moving. Stay positive, step up to the challenge, and keep it movin’.

For booking information, collabs/features, etc email: drae330@gmail.com