A Personal Biography
> BIOGRAPHY & BACKGROUND
'JAKARTA JAZZ' - MULTI-CULTURAL BEGINNINGS
Born in London, moved to Scotland aged 1 due to father's job - Warrington/ Manchester artist Bryan Smith. His Dutch-Indonesian mother and family, imprisoned during & after WW2 in Indonesia, fled to Holland 1948. Dutch-Indo mother, uncle & grandfather (photos)... all jazz, blues & boogie woogie pianists.
Daniel listens to and learns boogie woogie rudiments from his mother from about
8 years old. Grandfather had been pianist jazz band leader in Jakarta, Indonesia c1930-40. Daniel really learns & studies boogie as teen from his uncle on visits to Holland.
As a teenager, Daniel studies classical piano for 8 years, reaching Grade 8 & Higher Music in Scotland.
Meanwhile, he continues to learn boogie from uncle and his father's records. He knows the blues is in his veins.
NO PIANO; A LOT OF LANGUAGES
However, he gave up piano to concentrate on his degree - German/Linguistics at Manchester University; did a post-grad in English Language Teaching (University of London) and taught English in Germany, Italy, Turkey, Egypt and Portugal. He now speaks 6 languages to different degrees.
Incredibly, also, Daniel played for Scotland at youth level cricket & had professional trials for Lancashire; worked as a professional tennis coach in Germany and America; coached rugby (Germany); & was a local league goalkeeper in Manchester.
> LET (ANOTHER) SHOW BEGIN!
LONDON - SONNY, BEN, PAUL, THE ALANS & MORE...
Daniel moved to London for 13 years, teaching English to refugees and in Special Education (secondary). He re-discovered he could bash out a boogie; met Ben Waters a few times, which totally inspired & drove Daniel; joined Sonny Black; did his first gig aged 27 (better late than never!); appeared on Sonny's 'Free Spirit' album, with Paul Lamb & Johnny Whitehill; released his own first album, 'Preservation Hall'; and formed The Daniel Smith Blues Band in November 1999. This band immediately released Daniel's 2nd album 'Southside Boogie' and secured a BBC live session on Paul Jones [pictured with Mojo Buford & Daniel].
During the London years Daniel regularly played & recorded with many British greats,
including Alan Glen, guitar/ harmonica (Yardbirds etc) & Alan Barnes, sax (BBC
award-winner) [both pictured]; toured with visiting American Chicago blues artists
Mojo Buford (Muddy Waters) and Dave Specter; received accolades and great
national press; & appeared further on BBC Radio. He performed festivals in the UK &
Europe; toured constantly; released more albums as well as a blues piano instruction
manual; and much much more. Making up for lost time!
> THE DARK DAYS
SCOTLAND, HOSPITALS & RETIREMENT
In a turbulent decade thereafter, Daniel moved back to Scotland, continued to tour
manically & play international festivals; and released 3 more albums. Until...
Everything juddered to a halt. Daniel had been experiencing sporadic debilitating 'attacks' or 'relapses' of what was to be diagnosed as MS (multiple sclerosis). One such attack was at a performance on tour, leading to the tour's cancellation, and, after further attacks... Daniel retired from music.
He concentrated on further diagnosis, treatment and coming to terms with his prognosis, divorce, a life split between London & Scotland and focusing on teaching. After one further relapse, leaving his right side completely immobile, he was told by his neurologist in hospital to prepare for the worst.
Lying on his hospital bed in Scotland, Daniel composed all the material in his head for 'Highwire' - with each track in a different key. He planned to play the left hand on the piano, employ a fellow pianist for the right, and to sing. He secured funding for the project and was to dedicate all proceeds to the MS Society.
He confounded his neurologist and slowly recovered from this attack. Some caring and enthusiastic fans persuaded him to come out of retirement, do 'safe' gigs (with or near friends/family in case of further attacks); and with increasing time without further relapses, religiously climbing as many Scottish Munros & mountains whilst he could, and more encouragement from the MS Society, friends and musicians - Daniel decided...
> THE KEYS TO HIS HIGHWAY?
THE FORCE OF BLUES/FLAMENCO
...enough was enough, and...
>Released 'Keys To The Highway' with stellar line-up, raising more cash for the MS Society via this & fundraising gigs;
>Received official recognition from the MS Society;
>Played the nearby Edinburgh Fringe 5 years running;
>Got married to his Spanish wife Isabel, with whom he now lives in her native Huelva (southern Spain);
>And has been considered somewhat of a medical wonder there, with his remarkable recovery..., his health continuing to be excellent...TOUCH WOOD;
>Launched his Youtube channel & released new albums;
>Debuted boogie woogie/flamenco fusion material at Edinburgh and London;
>And continues to perform live on Spanish radio, do festivals in the UK, plan new albums, collaborate with musicians in Spain and beyond, teach English in Huelva, write poetry; deliver piano masterclasses via Skype;
>improve his Spanish ...and still walk up the occasional mountain on visits to Scotland...
Daniel does not presume to know the answer - he has seen too many friends, fellow musicians and family members suffer life-changing or life-ending conditions. Including MS.
Regardless, he is doubly making up for lost time.
He continues to count his blessings and compose, create, perform, collaborate, write poetry and will certainly always 'boogie woogie'... up until the Fat Lady...
Daniel hopes to share a soul-infused (and frequently humorous) performance with you soon!