Artist Spotlight

Music by Jess Smith

 

I was raised in a small town outside of Niagara Falls, New York, the youngest of 7 kids; 5 boys, 2 girls and loving parents who were auto workers at the local plant.  Two of my brothers were drummers and I began playing at age 7 and performed my first solo on stage ,Wipe Out, at my school in grade 4.  I continued playing throughout my high school career in the jazz band and won the local battle of the bands in a rock band as a senior.  I always loved funk ,offbeat rhythms, the solid groove feel of rock and often heard basic melodic patterns in my head while practicing solos. Song melodies began to develop as I explored these patterns and soon I was writing lyrics to accompany them.

 

My professional life brought me to a position as a special education teacher at the elementary level here in upstate New York. Here, I saw first hand the potential of all children no matter what special needs they may exhibit. 

 

Life experiences and great friendships led me to accept Jesus Christ and commit  my musical interests to honoring His purposes for my life at age 36.  I joined a Christian rock band and played at The Buffalo City Mission and local church coffee houses for 8 years.  The song, Pray For The Children, came to me after having prayed on Main Street in Buffalo, NY at the city’s abortion center.  That weekly prayer hour continues to be a powerful part of my mission and inspired the reflective lyrics to the song.  As I was driving home I began to sing the piece and had to pull over to record the melody and beginning lyrics into my cell phone.  After adding the final verses and deciding on a bridge, I began getting the best musicians I knew in the area to go record at The Loft Music Studio.  We prayed before each session and went back 5 or more times to redub, mix, re-sing and add parts.  This has been a labor of love inspired by the prayers of so many and the support of a multitude of solid musicians .  My prayer is, as always, to help the culture more deeply understand the beauty and value of our children.

Vocals – Jess Smith/ Christina Lane
Piano – Mike Hooker
Bass – Karen Ragusa
Guitar – acoustic Dan Denecke/ electric Ralph Fava
Drums – Jess Smith
Arrangement – Mike Hooker, Eric Buhyoff, T.J. Wilcox, Jess Smith, Jim Sommer
Written by Jess Smith
Recorded at The Loft Studios, Cheektowaga ,NY

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