By Alexis Rufener
Drae Smith, owner and artist at Keep it Movin’ records will release his album “Small Town Story” on Nov. 21.
Smith began making music when he was 14 years old, writing and recording his own songs. Smith is now 23 and still continues to pursue his music career.
“My whole childhood, I would recite song lyrics and pretend to perform in front of my friends and family with a toy guitar and microphone,” Smith said. “As I got into my teens that love and obsession just naturally turned into writing my own lyrics and creating my own songs.”
The past eight years, Smith said he has been trying to make a name for himself. The Youngstown-born musician said that he finds that one’s surroundings can push people to do things they wouldn’t imagine themselves doing, even in a small town.
“Life itself is my motivation for the songs that I write,” he said. “I also get inspiration from things I see happening where I’m from, in world news events, politics, sports and society in general. A big part of what I do also comes from wanting to help young kids as they grow up and head into society.”
Smith hopes to make a difference for the teens and others who want to get into the music business. When he was younger, the only ones who got the chance to listen to him were his friends at school or his family. He didn’t start taking making music seriously until he was almost finished with school.
“I feel like a lot of hip-hop/rap music today is guiding the youth in the complete wrong direction,” Smith said.
To this day, he has written over 100 songs since starting his musical journey. He has opened shows for artists such as Wiz Kahlifa, Machine Gun Kelly, Three Days Grace and The Devil Wears Prada.
Smith said that with every song or opening act, there can, and will, be someone who doesn’t like what musicians have to offer.
“I am from East Palestine — it is a very hard-working, blue-collar and somewhat rural area where hip-hop music is not looked at favorably,” Smith said. “I eventually improved a tremendous amount and gained the respect of many who had doubted me before. The tough times I faced while in high school helped motivate me to work harder and is a big reason I am where I am today.”
Before he became a solo artist, Smith was part of Torn from The Headlines, the rock/metal/rap hybrid group, from 2012 to 2013. As a solo artist, he has performed in Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, Houston and Pittsburgh.
Smith plans to release his album “Small Town Story” and hopes to start another rock/metal/rap band in the future.
“I want to show [society that] you have to enjoy your life and do what you love, but also understand that becoming a responsible, educated, productive member of society is most important,” Smith said.
To hear some of his music or purchase merchandise, visit www.draesmith.com. “Small Town Story” will be available on Spotify on Nov. 21.