David Smits
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David Smits

Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


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"2007 John Lennon Scholarship: David Smits"

David Smits has had a passion for performance ever since he started learning music. Though he has played with many groups over the years, he did not begin composing his own songs until he graduated from high school. The 21-year-old singer/songwriter is now a junior in the College of Music at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Though proficient in other instruments, David’s primary training has been in classical piano with interests in jazz, pop, and rock. The inspiration for his songs is drawn from his personal experience and observation of the world around him. His ultimate goal is not only to write and perform his own music, but to also participate in the recording and production process. Most of his free time is spent collaborating with his brother, an audio engineer, in their studio in Denver, Colorado.

The song Overrated parodies the inebriated social scene he has witnessed during his college life. Its original title, alcohol.EDU, was inspired by an online alcohol class he was required to take as an entering freshman at the University of Colorado. - BMI

"A Peek Inside the Rialto Room"

I ordered a beer at the elegant bar along with a small group of rowdy, too-drunk-too-early football fans who were eagerly pounding shots—incongruous behavior in this setting. Just then an announcer cut through their shouts in order to welcome David Smits to the stage. "Ooh la la," I thought, "he got a formal introduction!" On my way to the door, I spoke briefly with the club director about future plans for the Rialto Room. She says she thinks of the space as a getaway for visiting football fans who don't want to spend their time in Athens socializing under tents. She also mentioned the Rialto Club membership program in which subscribers will be allowed exclusive entrance into the venue on game days, along with other to-be-determined perks.

I was ready to enjoy the music, but we were asked to wait until Smits finished his song before entering. Apparently the previous week's show was continually interrupted by doors opening and closing, so, with "respect for the music," we waited patiently for yet another velvet rope to be unhooked. As someone who is used to seeing shows at the more dive-y clubs in town, this procedure seemed totally foreign, but once I was inside the room it made perfect sense. Everything about the Rialto Room directs your attention to the performer. The space is intimate, and on this night the room was set up with cocktail tables topped with flickering tea lights (as opposed to the more traditional theater-style seats which are also available). Onstage, a well dressed young man sang lounge-y originals and covers as he tickled a commanding grand piano backed by guitar and bass. Two large screens on either side of the stage displayed his name. The acoustics were clean and all-encompassing. But most striking of all was the utter silence coming from the audience. It honestly felt rude to even whisper, like we were watching a symphony or a play. The crowd clapped politely in between songs and, in truth, the sound of the door shutting was distracting. "So, this is why they call it a listening room," I thought. If you are inside the Rialto Room your full attention is on the artist at all times. I think a full drum kit might be overwhelming in a space like this unless brushes were used, but for an acoustic performer, a jazz ensemble or a piano man like Smits, the sound and feel are just right. - Flagpole Magazine


Five song EP - Airplay on WUOG 90.5FM. One tune, an honorable mention in the 2007 John Lennon Scholarship for Songwriters, can be streamed off of BMI's website, at http://www.bmi.com/news/entry/534910# for



Chew on this, it's delicious

A few quick thoughts...

Every time I sit at the piano to write, I keep one thing in mind: keep it listenable. No matter how advanced your music is, the majority of people will not care for it if there isn't a line, or a hook, or something that reminds them to put your CD back in. I struggled with this for a while. I found mainstream pop to be too clich�, but most of the junk they taught me in school to be too foreign to the majority of listeners, including myself. I've learned to calm this tension by keeping pop forms and melodies, while at the same time using jazz harmonies and chordal movement. I strive to be a songwriter who can write popular tunes while still being respected by true musicians (songwriters such as Jamie Cullum, Ben Folds, and John Mayer are quintessential examples of this).


It took me a while to pick out the members in my group - musicians that had formally trained chops, but that still wanted to play pop rock. The search was brutle and long, but I ended up with some guys who seriously know what they're doing, considerably more than me. But I think the painstaking search has paid off. I am confident in every member and our direction. We are strong in the effort for pop rehabilitation.