TNJ sat down with the Songwriter extraordinaire for an insightful conversation, discussing his journey thus far, his view on the importance of gratitude and why his latest project is so timely named, Hello Beautiful People.
Hello Beautiful People.
Three words that create a simplistic approach to a powerful greeting.
A greeting that Christian songwriter, V. George Smith holds quite dear to his heart. It’s his peculiar way of reminding the World that we were all created in God’s image.
An eloquent writer, V. George Smith possesses a unique talent that is known to exceed expectations. The Connecticut native has a desire to create timeless music that he hopes will stand the test of time. Time that will heal, enlighten and encourage.
TNJ: Congratulations on your new single, You Hold My Heart which is on your latest project, Hello Beautiful People! Tell me what makes this project different from the past.
VGS: This project is different because the first project was the 1Fifty mixtape, pretty much just a songwriters’ project. Basically, I was finishing up demo songs and releasing them for free. The first commercial project for sale was My Whole Life, which was self-explanatory. Different experiences and life situations that I had gone thru put into music. This album is Hello Beautiful People because it’s no longer about me. Yes, I’ve used some life experiences but this is more so music for everybody.
TNJ: You touched upon how a lot of your music is influenced by your life. If you had to choose, what is one song that you released that means the most to you?
VGS: I can’t, they’re all my kids! But if I had to pick out one, I would probably say I Love You because it was my first commercial single. That record is with Doobie Powell and Karyn Porter, it was a fun collaborative effort. My brother, Vindell, played guitar, Dwayne Wright played bass, my friend Ramon Gaskin produced it. It was a bunch of people getting together, making a song. That one meant a lot to me.
TNJ: When did V. George Smith identify his gift of songwriting?
VGS: Actually, that just happened recently. Funny, my Godbrother was just visiting from Philadelphia and he was asking me why I didn’t start before. I was in banking for about 6/7 years and then I did some credit card fraud after that [laughs] I’m joking! I’ve been a corporate person since I graduated. I always loved music and I always played around with creating. But I didn’t seriously start putting songs together until 6 years ago.
TNJ: What sparked that?
VGS: The love for music was always there; I’ve been a musician all my life. I play piano, bass, drums, tambourine [laughs], and bongos. I was forced to play the organ by my Jamaican mother. I learned organ and then gradually went on to keys because I hated playing the organ and moving my foot at the same time. I picked up bass not too long ago and I can mess around with guitar.
TNJ: So if you had to, you could really be a one-man band?
VGS: Quite possibly! [laughs] But I prefer to reach out to more skilled people. Musically, I’m a Jack-of-all-trades but I’m a master of none of them! I’m good enough to convey the message to a producer who’s better so that they can bring what I’m thinking to life.
TNJ: How did you get to the point of writing your own material? Were you writing for others?
VGS: In 2012, I wrote for Doobie Powell, Denise Renee, Fondrea Lewis.To me, I figured from that point on I was going to be in high demand with everyone requesting songs from me. My last song was I Am God for Fondrea Lewis. She was featured on JJ Hairston and Youthful Praise’s last album. Long story short, I thought it would continue to be me writing for everyone else. So I continued creating and realized that the phone calls stopped and no one was asking for music. So I decided to build my resume and put the songs out.
TNJ: Since stepping out on your own, have the phone calls come in?
VGS: No, they haven’t but I’m definitely in a better place. I’ve had meetings & I’ve sat down with some very important people, so I’ve had opportunities. I have to stay in that creative place and wait for my opportunity to pop up. If you want something to happen for you, you have to stay ready for it. If someone contacts me now saying they need a song, I can ask what kind of song and send it to them. While I’m waiting, I’m working. I can’t just wait and do nothing.
TNJ: You credit a lot of your inspiration to Doobie Powell. Why is that?
VGS: When I first started going to concerts, either Doobie was closing the show or JJ [Hairston] or Deon [Kipping]. I don’t think people understand how well respected [Doobie] is throughout the country, throughout the world. I found out for myself by just being around him.
I’ve made so many connections through him and when people saw that he was cosigning me that took me to a different level. When I speak of him, I do make sure to say thank you. Thank you should not be something that expires, it’s important that you never forget what that person did for you. He did a lot of free work for me too! To this day, he hasn’t charged me a dime! So, I’m very appreciative for Doobie and what he did for me.
TNJ: For so long, many were under the impression that V. George Smith is the artist. Tell me why you’ve decided to rebrand and make sure it is known that this is “From the pen of” V. George Smith?
VGS: I blame myself for that problem. I put myself on the album cover; I put my name on the top of everything. I’m really just doing what Kirk Franklin is doing, only thing is I’m not saying anything on the record. I can’t sing [laughs].
I’ve literally been live on the radio and they’re like “Man! You killed that song!” And I had to tell them it wasn’t me! It’s funnier when it’s a song featuring a female artist, like do you all really think that’s me? [laughs]
TNJ: Why Christian music?
VGS: Because that’s my heart. It’s not hard to talk about if you’re saved. If you’re in a relationship, it shouldn’t be hard to talk about your relationship.
TNJ: What’s the biggest lesson learned from being an Independent artist?
VGS: It costs money. If you don’t love it, don’t do it! There are serious expenses that come with being independent but wanting your work to be on the same level as those who aren’t independent. For example, last year I made the first round of the Grammy voting for Best Christian Song. I was looking at my name along with all these established people and it was crazy! Regardless of being signed, I have to make sure of the quality of my music.
TNJ: Tell me about The Remix, your radio show with Bonnerfide Radio.
VGS: Bonnerfide Radio used to be a daily show that played a wide variety of music. I used to log in and have great conversation with the hosts. When I did the 1Fifty mixtape, I went to Nashville for the Stellar Gospel Awards. I filled my backpack up with over 150 cds and went around passing them out. Bonnerfide radio was there and when I met them we clicked. They had a new show idea with three male hosts and asked if I wanted to be a part of it.
TNJ: Who is V. George Smith?
VGS: Wow. V. George Smith is a husband, a father, a comedian, a videogame head, definitely a sneaker head, an avid user of social media, and a Christian.
TNJ: And the best vocalist of CT! [laughs]
VGS: The award is right there!
TNJ: What do you want to be known for?
VGS: I want to be known for my music.
TNJ: Good music? Music that saves lives? Or music that introduces people to the Savior you speak about?
VGS: All of that. You answered the question for me! I want my music to have that timeless effect. The best Christian music is music that stands the test of time, it sticks with you. That’s the level I’m trying to get to now. Consistency and quality that will help me reach my goals.
TNJ: What’s next?
VGS: This project! I can almost see the finish line and that’s all I’m seeing. This might be the last project, I’m not sure yet.
TNJ: Why? You can’t drop a bomb like that without explaining!
VGS: I may downscale it a bit. Release singles here and there, smaller projects. It’s a very time consuming and taxing process. This project has taken about two years. I work with great people who are in different places. When you’re dealing with skilled people, who are really good at what they do, they’re booked. Like, my brother produced a song, he plays for Mary Mary. I have Tye Tribbett’s bass player, Anthony Nembhard as a producer on the album. Dwayne Wright is on the project.
Another reason why I’m so successful is because people see that this [artist] is on the project so they want to hear it. “You Hold My Heart” has Josiah Martin as lead; he sings background for PJ Morton. He has a vast audience that this song is reaching. It’s definitely worth the wait when they’re busy but it’s a long process.
TNJ: One word that describes you.
VGS: Happy. Being happy is the best way to live in spite of what’s going on. Whenever you see me write something super inspirational on social media, I’m usually super angry. [laughs] I don’t believe in posting anything or putting energy in anything that’s negative.
Stay up to date on V.George Smith and his upcoming album by visiting his website.