Graduated Seaholm alum Eric Smith, recently released his debut extended play (EP) “Hey There Miss” to the public. Smith graduated in the year 2013 from Seaholm and went on to the College of Music at Michigan State University for Jazz Studies, which is where he decided to work on his EP.
The EP, released on October 23, 2015, contains four songs, “Hey There Miss”, “I’ll Hold On To You”, “I Dare You” and “Always I Know”. The EP was released as a CD and can also be found on Soundcloud and Bandcamp. All of the songs were performed and produced by Smith and co- produced by Herschel Boone. Smith also asked a couple of his friends from MSU to play with him on the tracks.
“Basically I just wanted to record something and have something that I could give and show people,” Smith said. “If you want to get gigs or move up, you have to be able to show people ‘This is what I do’ in order to show that you are serious about it.”
Smith contacted Hershel Boone through a suggestion of a friend to help him get started with the recording process.
“He helped me out a lot because I have never done this before,” Smith said. “He helped me along with the ‘how’s’ and the ‘what’s’, in terms of recording.”
The two worked out of a studio in Ferndale that housed a grand piano that Smith wanted to use for his sessions. Smith was attending studio sessions from January to July learning the ropes of producing an album from the guidance of Boone.
“Obviously school has to come first, but it has been and will continue to be a balancing act,” Smith said. “There really isn’t a cross over between recording and practicing Jazz at school.”
Smith is a piano major at the College of Music of MSU, where he studies alongside many other musicians.
“The really special thing about just studying music in general is that from day one you are doing stuff directly related to what you are going to do for the rest of your life,” Smith said. “My teachers are great educators, but some of them are also the best in the business.”
On top of going school and recording, Smith is also playing a gig at The Bird and The Bread, located in Birmingham, this December as a part of a songwriter show case. Smith will get to play three or four of his songs. He also hopes to work on releasing a full album in the future.
One of the first times Smith experienced music was with the Sunshine Choir at the First United Methodist Church. He continued choir throughout his senior year. He also participated in the percussion section of the Seaholm band during his entire high school career. Along with singing and playing the drums, he also plays the guitar.
“He had a reputation coming in as a 9th grader,” Seaholm band Director Tim Cibor said. “He had a tremendous work ethic.”
Smith started off as a percussionist in the Jazz Band, and by senior year he was working specifically with the piano.
“Over all it was a very impressive CD that I enjoyed listening to,” Seaholm senior Julia Acciaioli said. “He is extremely talented and should continue to put out CD’s and pursue his passion for music.”
Acciaioli attends the First United Methodist Church and witnessed Smith’s involvement with the music ministries program over the years. She also was in band with him before he graduated.
Julia Dickerson, a senior at Groves High School, also attends the First United Methodist Church and participated in the youth choir with him.
“I have been blessed to experience a part of his musical journey,” Dickerson said. “I have been listening to his tracks about every day for the past two weeks because the CD is on reply in my car.”