More to music than just sound

NANAIMO – Andrea Smith is musician, promoter and album financier

Musician Andrea Smith is promoting her new album

Musician Andrea Smith is promoting her new album

Singer-songwriter Andrea Smith has opened for plenty of artists, including Blue Rodeo, Trooper, and Shari Ulrich, and on Monday (Dec. 30), she will be displaying her musical talents at the Queen’s.

Earlier this year, Smith released her latest album titled Transition, which she describes as “more roots and soul than R&B.”

Smith said her biggest challenge in creating Transition was the financial aspect of the project.

“It’s absolutely daunting,” she said. “I just can’t do as much as I should be doing in terms of promotion and song placement, which is ultimately what I would like to do.”

The Kamloops native is no stranger to having to juggle the duties of a musician with a regular day job. She has previously worked as a registered massage therapist and as a farrier.

“It requires so much time,” Smith said. “I just spent my life savings on this last album. I didn’t raise any funds for it.”

“It’s hugely daunting financially,” she added.

In 2005, she placed first in a songwriting competition at the Shuswap Lakes International Writers Festival. Smith has also performed throughout British Columbia. She said she enjoys returning to her hometown of Kamloops.

“I do a road trip every summer where I go to the Interior of B.C.,” Smith said. “I’ve got some friends that I play with out there … so that is always a ton of fun to go back home and sort of be received with open arms,” she said.

She has also played shows in Australia, France and the Yukon.

“Australia was pretty fun because I have family there,” she said. “I was actually there for my half-sister’s wedding. I got to meet some other musicians there and perform at the wedding. It was a really fun adventure playing down there.

“The Yukon was really fun too. We were really well received up in the Yukon,” she added.

Smith, who studied jazz at Vancouver Island University and graduated in 2011, currently teaches music to prospective musicians.

“There is so much talent, especially with all these shows like The Voice and America’s Got Talent, everyone wants to sing and play now,” she said. “There is so much talent behind every door and people are realizing that they can go out and play and that it’s not isolated to select few.”

As a music teacher, Smith has encouraged some of her students to head out and perform. One of her students,  Olivia Marci, has accompanied Smith at various shows.

“I’ve had one student that has come out to my gigs and I’ve got her to get up and do a couple songs with me…

“I’ve got another girl right now who I would like to see get out in public and sing,” she added. “I am working on some ideas to help her achieve that goal.”

Smith has plenty of advice for her students who are thinking about a serious career in music.

“Be an engineer, go be a nurse, be a doctor, be a lawyer,” she laughed. “The music industry isn’t what it used to be anymore. You gotta have financial backing, you have to have incredible computer skills, you need to be completely self-motivated, you have to do all your own promotion. It’s a huge job now, the record companies aren’t coming around anymore and picking people up.”

Smith is looking forward to 2014.

“I just want to be out playing a bit more and selling CDs,” Smith said.