Meet the Scottish singer-songwriter confronting his demons with deeply personal pop.
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Last year, Aaron Smith – without any prior warning – came to the forefront of the emerging British music scene with a track so emotionally devastating it could have easily called for the advent of a new advisory sticker.
The piano-led Unspoken – seemingly inspired by the type of lighter-raising ballad that turned Coldplay into the biggest band in the world – topped the Spotify and Apple New Music playlists on release, caught every tastemaker in the music industry off guard, and was met with quick comparisons to another Scottish performer, Lewis Capaldi.
Obviously these comparisons are somewhat lackadaisical, built on the fact that they’re both male, Scottish, and release honest music. In reality, the pair are very different sonically, with Smith drawing on a bleaker and often more traumatic subject matter, conveyed to the world through his husky tones.
Although often drawing from harrowing personal experiences from his relatively short time on this planet, there’s an optimistic silver lining that runs throughout the songs that Smith has released so far. Latest single Better Than You Loved Me, a pounding ballad that deals with childhood trauma, carries with it an overriding sense of positivity. If you’ve gone or are going through something similar, he suggests, things can and will get better.
Gowing up in Polmont, 50 miles east of Glasgow, Smith first nurtured his love of songwriting when he discovered a makeshift studio in the corner of his school’s music department and started to write as much as he physically could. Eventually, after whiling away, he found the confidence to share his first track to the world at the age of 14, releasing it on Facebook.
The musician’s work ethic has continued to grow in parallel to his success. Last year, armed with 70 songs, Smith toured various London studios, putting down his debut EP Loveless. The four track release, which contains the singles Unpsoken and Better Than You Love Me alongside the tracks Better Man and In My Way, has now been streamed more than 10 million times.
Growing his reputation as a live performer, the musician has been praised for his thoughtful and often intense performances, during which he places his emotional compositions at the very forefront.
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