Thursday, September 22, 2005
Kate Laurel Smith
10 p.m. today
Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant, 628 Lincoln Ave.
Kate Laurel Smith's biggest fans are people just like her. They are teenagers and twenty-somethings who are trying to carve their own paths while trying to ignore a world of voices telling them to do more, do faster and do it all by age 30.
At 24, she writes about that pressure in the song "Twentysomething."
"Twentysomething hit me just today / Right between the eyes and / Woke up with little at all to say / And a world to realize."
The song is the most popular track on her 2004 release "Sometimes." The inspiration to write it came while sitting at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, listening to a talk by author Margaret Feinberg, who wrote a book of the same title -- "Twentysomething."
"She was talking about the impact society has on young people and how you feel you have to accomplish everything by 30 or you are a failure," Smith said. She went home and wrote the song in less than an hour. "I feel that same pressure. In the music world, it feels like if you aren't signed by 25 you have no chance, and I'm coming to that pivotal time."
Smith, who grew up in Oak Creek and graduated from Soroco High School in 1999, moved to Denver after college to make a name for herself. Her first album has done well, mostly selling online at Cdbaby.com and through MySpace.com, and she's hard at work on a second album due out in March.
Anyone who knew her in high school might be surprised by the direction her music has taken. Smith earned her bachelor's degree in classical music performance. She played the French horn. For years, she imagined her career leading to a chair in a large city's orchestra. Then she discovered songwriting.
Smith doesn't even flinch when she announces that she sold her French horn to finance her first album.
"It just seemed like the next step, and I had to use the resources I had," she said.
Smith will perform a solo acoustic show tonight, playing her guitar and keyboard and a set list of original songs.
"My music is for people who want to dig deeper," she said. "It's for people who want to relate to the music and feel a lot through it."