Reeny Smith: The rising pop-soul star dreams big

Published Tuesday March 31 2015


During the past three years, 22-year-old pop-soul artist Reeny Smith has earned some impressive kudos. In 2012, she landed the Rising Star Award at the African Nova Scotian Music Awards (ANSMA), followed by winning the Galaxie Rising Star Award competition at the 2013 TD Halifax Jazz Festival. Recently, she was named ANSMA’s 2015 Artist of the Year.

Reeny has connected with a broad range of music fans through her remarkable vocals, original songs and strong stage presence. Smith’s training began early, as she performed alongside her parents and siblings at her grandfather's church in North Preston, Nova Scotia.

“Music has played a huge role in my family; it’s something that we take much pride in,” Reeny tells TD Music. “I feel very blessed and fortunate to have a family full of accomplished musicians who set the standard for me.

“As a child, singing in choirs helped me develop the love, passion, and confidence I needed in order to be the solo artist that I am today.”

Smith has since studied voice and piano more formally, at both the Maritime Conservatory of Music and St. Francis Xavier University. She also plays guitar, drums, and bass.


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“Studying music and learning to play instruments has helped me tremendously in developing a deep focus, self-discipline, and work ethic,” Reeny says. “I believe that music can be very important for young people to learn life skills, and to express themselves. It gives them a voice, and helps people develop self-confidence, self-esteem, and overcome a shy nature.”

Certainly music has allowed Reeny to find and follow her ambitions, a topic she explores in recent single “Dream.” 

“’Dream’ speaks to anyone who has a passion, whether it is arts, athletics, education, or science,” she shares. “The message is simply to dream big. I often recite the lyrics in my head for motivation.”

The song, like much of Reeny’s music, draws on a wide range of sounds.

“Some of my many influences are India Arie, Brandy, Chaka Khan, Mary, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, and Mary J. Blige,” says the artist who is currently writing and arranging new songs.

Reeny will debut much of this music on Thursday (April 2) when she opens for Ms. Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton in a TD Halifax Jazz Festival special presentation at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium.

“You can expect a very energetic and uplifting show, full of original songs,” says Reeny. “People view me musically in many different ways; some say gospel, soul/RnB or even jazz, when in reality all of these, and many more styles make up ‘The Real Reeny.’”

 

In light of her warm sounds, and anticipation of warmer weather in the region, we asked Reeny to share “5 reasons I love Halifax in the spring.”

 

1. It’s four months closer to summer.

2. People are generally happier.

3. There’s no more snow! (Fingers crossed.)

4. The flowers are blooming, and it’s beautiful.

5. My birthday is in the spring!