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[Awesome Photo Wendy Royal (@royal.vision)!]
Before you go on to read this story about Kyle Smith, please take a moment to check his awesome new single “Astray”! This song was produced by the incredible George Spits of Llamabeats, who happens to work with bands like Slightly Stoopid to bring the best of their magical sounds to your ears.
It was about two years or so ago when I started to notice this guy named “Kyle Smith” posting all over reggae group pages like Stoopidheads and Rebelutionaries. He was part of almost every single conversation happening in each group, and avidly interacted with as many people as humanly possible. Around the same time, he started posting videos of himself doing covers, as well as some really awesome original songs.
I was immediately intrigued by Kyle’s outspoken, heart-on-his-sleeve attitude, and watched as one of his videos made the rounds on social and racked up over 87,000 views in almost no time. It was kind of like one day this guy just decided he was going to be a rock star, and then started living it immediately. And in some ways, that’s exactly what happened…
As many of you probably know, Kyle’s got a history with battling drug addiction, and isn’t afraid to openly speak about it. He spent years of his young life riding extreme highs and devastating lows on the streets of Southern California, never knowing if he’d live long enough to even see the next day. As incredible and shocking as some of his addiction stories are, the truly amazing part about Kyle is what he’s done with his life since getting sober.
It amazes me because he took this dark period of his life and turned it into a beautiful ray of hope that he’s able to amplify to the world. When a person finds the strength to take something devastating like addiction and not only turn it around, but create something truly meaningful out of it, you know they’re someone special. Kyle realized at some point that he had to make a choice, and he chose music and never look back.
In Kyle’s story I’m partially reminded of Anthony Kiedis’s legendary book “Scar Tissue”. There’s this pure, beautiful love for music on the one hand, and the sinister pull of addiction on the other. In a way, it seemed like he’d seen depths so low that it propelled him almost infinitely in the other direction, relying on the power and peace of music to keep him from going back.
Whatever it is, I’m so happy that Kyle found his way through, and decided that he was going to live life to share his beautiful music with the world. I had the pleasure of meeting him in person at California Roots last year after he won the songwriting contest, and he’s exactly the person I expected him to be after chatting online – smart, personable, and an all-around fun guy to hang with. His band is equally awesome, and Scott Brown and Christopher Nishida hold down the wicked rhythm section while Kyle bares his soul.
For all you musicians out there (I’m talking to myself too), I’d recommend taking some notes from how Kyle approaches his music career. There’s a good reason he’s seeing the success he is, and it’s not because he’s “lucky” – it’s because he works his ass off. It’s been incredible following his journey so far, and I’m stoked on what the future has in store for him. Looking at pictures of Kyle on stage recently with legends like Pepper and Hirie, you can literally see the excitement in his eyes – that’s the look of a guy making his dreams come true.
Kyle, you deserve every bit of the success that’s coming to you, and I thank you for inspiring other musicians like me to get out there and get it! Keep doing your thing brother, see you up there!
Brendan and the Hill Kid Family
Listen to and Follow Kyle:
Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/kyle-smith/4907388
Producer: Llamabeats Music – https://www.llamabeatsmusic.com/production