Maurice Smith
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Maurice Smith

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[Music] Maurice Smith: Jackson's Newest Sound of Neosoul

by Adrienne Hearn
February 2, 2005

When a music listener from Mississippi takes a moment to reflect on the local homegrown talent, the first names that likely come to mind are blues legends such as B.B. King, hip-hop artists like David Banner or even a country singer by the name of Faith Hill. No one ever quite pictures a neosoul artist with a funky groove.

But, we may soon be able to add one to our list.

His music contains a whole combination of musical genres from jazz, soul, gospel, funk and even country. His name is Maurice Smith, and he, too, is from Mississippi. Jackson, in fact.

His presence is the look, style and influence of a musical artist you would expect to find in a place such as New York City. His knowledge and creative influences range from Van Hunt to Prince and Babyface. Yet, contrary to his style, Maurice admits that he grew up in a very strict Christian environment. He became exposed to secular music through an uncle with a very different musical palate than what he�d been used to.

He explains: �Once I started to get older, I would get a hold of some of my uncle�s music while visiting my grandparents. Music like Prince, Mint Condition and Fab 5 Freddy.�

While combining his musical influences with his own unique sound, Smith describes his eclectic form as simply feel-good music. �My music is basically just real laid back, something you can clean the house to, ride in the car to and relax to,� he says. �It isn�t thrown at you.�

As I was listening to this freshly recorded album entitled �This Is Love,� I had to admit that my ears were taken on a virtual sound tour of just about every type of music I had ever listened to. Every track seemed to have a different flare that could appeal to any musical taste. This eclectic sound is something Smith did deliberately. He explains, �I want everybody to be able to listen to my album; it has something on it for everybody that they�ll love.�

Smith says that coming from a family that has always been musically inclined, he was involved in choir while in school. As time went on, he began to pay serious attention to music after his junior year at Jackson State University. As fate would have it, Smith met a man by the name of Jerre Jackson who had put together a band called Soul Collective. Smith joined the band, and they began performing at the Seven All Arts Cafe�. Smith says that with the help of local musicians such as eZra Brown and Trevor Jennings (who had already paved the way for aspiring musicians like him), it wasn�t so difficult to become exposed here at home.

The CD, which became a two-month-long project, has already been reviewed by successful artists such as Anthony Hamilton, who Smith says gave him positive remarks. However, despite some who give him great support, Smith says that he understands there will always be some differences in opinion and criticisms of his music. �What I�m doing is something fresh. I�m not doing regular Southern soul,� he says. �I�m trying to do real music with real musical influences, so some don�t agree and some are on my side all the way,� he says.

Regardless what some may have to say about his music, Maurice Smith is definitely on his way.

Adrienne Hearn is a JFP editorial intern. - Jackson Free Press


[Music] Maurice Smith: Jackson's Newest Sound of Neosoul

by Adrienne Hearn
February 2, 2005

When a music listener from Mississippi takes a moment to reflect on the local homegrown talent, the first names that likely come to mind are blues legends such as B.B. King, hip-hop artists like David Banner or even a country singer by the name of Faith Hill. No one ever quite pictures a neosoul artist with a funky groove.

But, we may soon be able to add one to our list.

His music contains a whole combination of musical genres from jazz, soul, gospel, funk and even country. His name is Maurice Smith, and he, too, is from Mississippi. Jackson, in fact.

His presence is the look, style and influence of a musical artist you would expect to find in a place such as New York City. His knowledge and creative influences range from Van Hunt to Prince and Babyface. Yet, contrary to his style, Maurice admits that he grew up in a very strict Christian environment. He became exposed to secular music through an uncle with a very different musical palate than what he�d been used to.

He explains: �Once I started to get older, I would get a hold of some of my uncle�s music while visiting my grandparents. Music like Prince, Mint Condition and Fab 5 Freddy.�

While combining his musical influences with his own unique sound, Smith describes his eclectic form as simply feel-good music. �My music is basically just real laid back, something you can clean the house to, ride in the car to and relax to,� he says. �It isn�t thrown at you.�

As I was listening to this freshly recorded album entitled �This Is Love,� I had to admit that my ears were taken on a virtual sound tour of just about every type of music I had ever listened to. Every track seemed to have a different flare that could appeal to any musical taste. This eclectic sound is something Smith did deliberately. He explains, �I want everybody to be able to listen to my album; it has something on it for everybody that they�ll love.�

Smith says that coming from a family that has always been musically inclined, he was involved in choir while in school. As time went on, he began to pay serious attention to music after his junior year at Jackson State University. As fate would have it, Smith met a man by the name of Jerre Jackson who had put together a band called Soul Collective. Smith joined the band, and they began performing at the Seven All Arts Cafe�. Smith says that with the help of local musicians such as eZra Brown and Trevor Jennings (who had already paved the way for aspiring musicians like him), it wasn�t so difficult to become exposed here at home.

The CD, which became a two-month-long project, has already been reviewed by successful artists such as Anthony Hamilton, who Smith says gave him positive remarks. However, despite some who give him great support, Smith says that he understands there will always be some differences in opinion and criticisms of his music. �What I�m doing is something fresh. I�m not doing regular Southern soul,� he says. �I�m trying to do real music with real musical influences, so some don�t agree and some are on my side all the way,� he says.

Regardless what some may have to say about his music, Maurice Smith is definitely on his way.

Adrienne Hearn is a JFP editorial intern. - Jackson Free Press


Discography

This Is Love Ep 2006

Photos

Bio

Evolution is an inevitable part of life and art is no exception. Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, Maurice Smith set out on a journey in early 2005 to stretch his musical muscles in the City of Angels. The result has been a vocalist that has learned to tell a story rather through R&B, the Blues, or Rock & Roll. Trained in the musical programs at Jackson State University and the Mississippi church, Smith has grown to become one of the most noticeable vocalists on the Los Angeles music scene. Listeners say that after they have seen a Maurice Smith show, they leave with a different view of him. Most listeners look at Smith and expect to sit and be serenaded to. But what really happens? Listeners end up clapping their hands and stomping their feet. What a change, what a change!!! Three years ago, if you were to see Maurice Smith, you would think that he himself were Cupid.

Smith has now included a wide variety of music in his show. Rather it is his high energy performance of Lenny Kravitz’s “Fly Away”, or the smooth delivery of his own hit “Midnight Dream”, evolution has taken place. When you first pop in the EP from the forth coming album This Is Love, you are automatically taken to the days of Earth Wind & Fire with the blazing horns from “This Is Love”. Smith sings to Love as if he had been waiting for that very day to tell Love how he felt. Always determined to make sure that his audience feels his passion, Smith puts his heart into this song every time he steps on stage. The second song on the EP, “Midnight Dream” is a song that listeners say makes them just say, “ooh”. This song has such a smooth delivery and such passionate lyrics that listeners often find themselves mesmerized.

If you haven’t seen a Maurice Smith show you are cheating yourself on seeing a legend in the beginning stages of his career. Drawing comparison to the great tenors of our time such as Stokley, Raphael Saadiq, El DeBarge, and the greatest of them all Stevie Wonder, Smith has to have something that the world is in store to see. So open up your eyes and watch the Evolution of Maurice Smith.