Los Angeles, California born singer-songwriter, actor and producer is Smolsky, who now resides in New York City and is well known in both the theatre and music industries. With attention being given to his upbeat performances in various venues such as The Mint in LA, The Bitter End in NYC and The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. At the age of 13, Smolsky started crafting his sound following a 2011 Ed Sheeran performance and is influenced by artists such as Bruce Springsteen along with Stephen Sondheim and his lyrical intensities. Singing and song writing has helped Smolsky prove that he is an artist that has immense talent and has been quoted as “one of the best [songwriters] of his generation” by SCV Magazine. Crazy Bitch Records was Smolsky’s own label/publisher that he created in 2014, and later released in May 2018 on all streaming platforms “Sea Salt + Strawberries: A Live Album” as well as starting to tour the United States and Europe. Look out for this 20 year old artist that is on his way to becoming one of the biggest names in the industry.
“Sea Salt + Strawberries” begins with soft guitar tones and a smooth, tranquil voice that relaxes the mind and gives spark to the imagination through the creative combination of lyrics. The track gains traction slowly, but with the addition of drums and electric guitar Smolsky has showcased that he has the ability to craft a track that leaves his audience guessing what is coming next, always on the lookout for a surprising aspect of his songs as they listen. Smolsky utilizes the powerful and refined side of his voice to emphasize the lyrics throughout the chorus sections, in particular the lines “Your hair smelled like sea salt, your lips tasted like strawberries” that have been combined to create a title that give lift off to the possibilities that lie ahead throughout the song what is perceived as a sweet, heartfelt song simply from the title – almost like judging a book by its cover – and boy was I correct. The emotion packed melodies compiled with the meaningful lyrics that Smolsky has written for “Sea Salt + Strawberries” has taken my breath away, and truly solidified that he is an artist that really is defining a new genre of this generation, and bringing a talent to the music industry that is refreshing and pure.
Check out “Sea Salt + Strawberries” here and read more below in our exclusive interview!
Hey Smolsky! What a wonderful sound you have created! Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles as the middle triplet in a family of five kids, all the children of theatre majors so performing and showmanship is in my bloodline. As soon as I saw Ed Sheeran headline The Wiltern in Los Angeles in 2012 I knew exactly what I wanted to do: write songs well enough that people could sing them back to me. My parents would play me Springsteen and Sting and Sondheim on my morning car rides to school which is where my love for music, theatre, and lyrics started. My adoration of these art forms brought me across the country to Pace University in New York City, which is where I am currently entering my final year as a member of the top 5 ranked BFA program for Musical Theatre.
What do you feel sets you apart from other artists?
I really appreciate the art of storytelling. Both of my parents were theatre majors and taught me the importance of storytelling by taking my siblings and me to countless theatre performance throughout my youth. think I saw Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan more than 10 times by the time I was 7. I believe it is this theatre background sets me apart from other artists when writing and composing music as the lyrics and words always come first and the rhyme and word choice has to be perfect. I will write and rewrite and rewrite those rewrites until the lyrics explain the exact narrative I want to convey in the three and a half minutes I am allotted to do so. Stephen Sondheim lectured that every great theatre song has a beginning, middle, and end. I try to do my best to bring that concept into the pop world with every song I write.
What is the meaning behind “Sea Salt + Strawberries”?
Sea Salt is a classic end-of-a-relationship love song. I wrote it at the end of an eighteen-month relationship that ended quite poorly. At the end of the most relationship, there is a ‘winner’ and ‘loser’ of the break-up. I wasn’t able to finish the song until I realized that one who thinks they have lost the break-up at the immediate drown yourself-in-ice-cream phase actually wins in the long run. The entirety of the album is kinda about this lesson which I guess is why I made this song the title track.
Can you tell us about the process you used to create “Sea Salt + Strawberries” and were there any challenges during it?
This song started out as a vague, slow, and quite depressing acoustic ballad. I thought nothing of the piece when I wrote it but I played it for my father and a best friend who said to be something there. I threw into my live sets and realized there was a lot of energy and passion in the lyric that justified a more anthemic production. I produced up part of the song myself, trying to draw on my Bowie glam and Sheeran pop influences but it wasn’t until I let my good friend and producer Alex Knezevic (@thealexknez) take over the production reigns. He really exploded this song and took it to a whole other level and I can't thank him enough for the work he did on it. This all goes to show how important collaboration is in creating art.
What can we expect to see from you in 2019 and are there any upcoming performances?
We just released Sea Salt + Strawberries: A Live Album which can be streamed on all music platforms. In addition to that, a music video for the single Sea Salt + Strawberries will be coming later this year as well as new music and new merchandise. I will be playing a handful of shows with Sofar Sounds on the west coast this summer as well as a few this fall in New York. Specific show dates, as well as other information regarding music, merchandise, and mailing lists, are all available on my website www.smolskymusic.com.
Keep up with Smolsky on social media!