Michael Charles Smith
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Michael Charles Smith

Portland, Oregon, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2017

Portland, Oregon, United States
Established on Jan, 2017
Solo Alternative Pop




"Michael Charles Smith, In The Shadow Album Premier"

Portland-based art-folk musician Michael Charles Smith is hitting a high note with the soundscape provided by his often ambient melodies and soft – yet assertive – vocals in his new 12-track release, In The Shadow. Bathed in a raspiness that is both emphatic and ethereal, Smith’s lyrics are apt to tug at the heartstrings of many, as they paint him as a vulnerable, masterful lyricist.

Beginning with the upbeat track “Hello Hello”, the album establishes a true journey for the listener, pace changing with each no track, and mindsets shifting from one end of the spectrum to the other, as he repeats, “I’ll die alone” in third track “Angel, and then softly croons, “I must have fallen in love” immediately following, in fourth track “One Word”.

The variety in the soundscape of In The Shadow makes sense, when the album is put into context. Inspired by his past struggles with addiction, Smith has come to terms with his circumstances, transforming that energy into a beautifully well-rounded body of work that you might never turn off. We’ve got the exclusive streaming premiere below. - Imperfect Fifth

"Premiere: Michael Charles Smith's "Angel""

For Portland-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Michael Charles Smith, music was the light flickering at the end of the tunnel that brought him back from the from the throes of addiction. With his forthcoming album In The Shadow, Smith is claiming accountability for the wreckage of his past, with his own unique brand of delicate avant pop drawing influence from the likes of Elliott Smith, Andrew Bird and Mercury Rev.

Today, Eleven is pleased to premiere Michael Charles Smith’s “Angel,” the second single from In The Shadow. With lightly tip-toeing strings and soft melodic vocals, Smith lets us in on his personal struggle with what or whoever his metaphorical angel may be, “And you realize that I compromise your place in the sky / So you pushed off me now I’m falling free and I’m destined to die… die alone.” - Eleven PDX

"Video Premiere: Michael Charles Smith's "Mistaken""

Addiction is one of the most polarizing issues on the political stage today, yet despite our lack of shared understanding, it can mostly be agreed upon that the emergence from the shadows is a rare and commendable feat.

When Michael Charles Smith was in the throws of his own condition, it was music that flickered a light to him from the end of the proverbial tunnel, and now to avoid making those same mistakes that kept him sick, the Portland-based multi-instrumentalist has created an album claiming accountability for the wreckage of his past.

Later this year Smith will release In The Shadow, and today Glide Magazine is premiering the new video for the album’s lead single, “Mistaken”, which comes out August 25th. Creeping in with pizzicato strings and breathy vocals that reveal a hard-earned understanding of the difference between love and infatuation, it should come as little surprise that Smith’s music has drawn comparisons to the likes of Andrew Bird, Elliott Smith, and Mercury Rev. Embracing unrequited love and the terminal self-pity that accompanies it, “Mistaken” is charged with sincerity and it weighs heavy as a result. The song progresses slowly to a poignant and beautifully-arranged climax as layered vocals reveal the deeper pain that had been used to justify his dysfunctional behavior.

“I wrote ‘Mistaken’ many years ago for a girl I was overly infatuated with. I played the song for her and I guess it was a little too honest because she left me not long after hearing it… As with many songs on the album, ‘Mistaken’ is a metaphorical reminder of how I don’t want to feel and act in the world and relationships,” reflects Smith.

The director of the video Evan Gandy adds a comment about his own inspiration, saying, “We wanted to use imagery that reflected the mood and tone of the song but aren’t directly derivative of the lyrics to give the song space to speak for itself. Mandy Stockholm was perfect to play the girl; her alluring blue eyes can be read as both beautiful and deceitful simultaneously.” - Glide Magazine

"Song Premiere: "Face Of Pain" by Michael Charles Smith"

From The Artist : “Face Of Pain is based off a letter that I wrote to my former “addict” self a couple weeks after getting sober. The lyrics detail the ways in which my former brain made excuses to justify continued use by painting over the destruction, covering up the danger signs, telling me that I didn’t have a problem, and creating myths that I needed chemicals to be creative, write music, talk, breath, ad infinitum. What better way to break those myths than to write a song and what better melody to use than an instrumental piano piece that I wrote during the height of my worst years on earth. The song serves as a reminder of where I came from and where I never want go again.” - Live In Limbo


"In The Shadow" will be Michael Charles Smith's debut as a singer-songwriter. Michael has 11 albums of music including solo marimba works, film scores, and compositions for branded media.



Michael Charles Smith performs his new singer-songwriter project with his producer Ian Mackintosh (of Mackintosh Braun). Through live looping they recreate the immense instrumentation and texture cultivated on "In The Shadow". The stage is speckled with percussion racks, marimba, keyboards, guitars and gadgets played by both band members and traded around throughout the set.

Michael Charles Smith is a marimba soloist, film/media composer,
singer-songwriter and teacher residing in Portland, Oregon. His music
has been used in commercials and documentaries for companies like
Google, Microsoft, NFL, Intel, Audi, Subaru, Umpqua Bank, Allstate
Insurance, Weight Watchers, and much more. He currently works as the
composer for One Hundred Seconds documentaries.
As an accomplished marimba soloist, Michael covers everything from
Bach to Radiohead and Ray Charles to George Gershwin, making him a hit
with listeners of all ages. He performs solo marimba for wedding
ceremonies, country clubs, business conferences, vineyards, and at the
PDX airport for thousands of travelers weekly.
Michael is the owner of MarimbaLab, a company that teaches music
abilities through arrangements of popular music for marimba. All
arrangements are published and are played by marimba groups all over the
country. Currently MarimbaLab runs classes at Riverdale Grade School
and High School in Portland.
Michael is a classical percussionist with Portland Columbia
Symphony. He has studied at the University of Oregon with Charles Dowd
and at Portland State University with Joel Bluestone. He holds a
Bachelors of Science in Music.

Band Members