Stephan Smith (born Stephan Said, 1969) is an American singer-songwriter, musician and poet of Jewish descent. Smith describes himself as a traveling troubadour and is known for his leftist political activism.
Smith has collaborated with Pete Seeger, Dean Ween, Mary Harris, DJ Spooky, and Tara Nevins. Some of Smith's songs have earned the praise of The Village Voice, The New York Times, NPR's All Songs Considered, the Guerrilla News Network, The Progressive, Jim Hightower and Howard Zinn.
Musical career and personal life
Stephan Smith was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He began playing the piano at the age of three and the violin at the age of four.
Smith sings in nine languages, including Yiddish and Arabic, befitting his eclectic roots. Smith was raised in Virginia by his Austrian mother and Iraqi father. His maternal great-grandfather is Jewish. His father's family lives in Mosul and Baghdad, where four of his aunts and uncles work as doctors in the main hospitals and occasionally report on their daily lives and struggles.
On the first anniversary of 9/11, Smith released his anti-war song "The Bell", recorded with Pete Seeger, as a free mp3 over the Internet. "The Bell" was one of the first anti-war statements to make national press and preceded any other musical release by months.
"Oh I'm sounding Drums of war," said the man at his desk, "Oh I will not fight your war," said the child and he stood, "Oh But don't you love your country?," said the man at his desk, "Yes, I do, but you don't," said the child and he stood, "Oh but don't you know the truth?," said the man at his desk, "Yes, you lie and call it truth," said the child and he stood."
Despite the fact that no major industry company ever promoted it, "The Bell" was covered by artists ranging from Dave Matthews to DJ Spooky and printed more than 200,000 times on various compilations worldwide. "While the publishing and film industries have bankrolled and profited from dissent in the past year, the music industry, once the scion of protest, remains timid," says Smith.
His album, Slash and Burn, on the independent Artemis Records started by Danny Goldberg, touches not only on the war in Iraq and the President, but on unethical globalization and its trail of iniquities. The single "Taking Aim (at the next world)" is, according to Smith, an "hymn to altermondialisme", and the song "In the Air" attempts to link economic imperialism with military oppression. The album's title track, "Slash and Burn", decries corruption in the music industry.
Smith's musical satire You Ain't a Cowboy, was billed as the first such large-scale mp3 release to benefit a non-profit. With all proceeds going to the political action group True Majority, the song was distributed to 500,000 people on the day of release. Smith is now preparing to release his song, "Break the Bread", which could be deemed a working-class anthem for equality, with its obvious religious resonance, in a joint effort with the Faithful America, a project of the National Council of Churches aimed at galvanizing the progressive religious communities.
In 2003, Smith did more than 140 shows across the United States, many of which benefited local peace groups.
- June 2005 - Slash and Burn - Stephan Smith Band (Artemis Records)
- April 2003 - New World Worder - Stephan Smith (Synchronic)
- June 1999 - Now's the Time - Stephan Smith (Rounder)
- February 2003 - The Bell - Stephan Smith, Pete Seeger, DJ Spooky, Tara Nevins (Synchronic)
- 2006 - Another World Is Possible - "Stephan Said"
- 2005 - When The Storm Came Rushing In - Stephan Smith
- 1997 - Ballad of Abner Louima - Stephan Smith
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Stephan Smith. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|