Spotlight of the Week: Steven Smith

Steven Smith is a singer-songwriter from Milwaukee. His current primary project is duo act Smith & Binder with fellow Wisconsin Music Ventures member Linda Binder.

ME: How did you get involved with Wisconsin Music Ventures?

STEVEN: I can’t remember where I saw it…it might have been Facebook…and it seemed unusual but also interesting the way this organization promotes local musicians because Lord knows we need that help.

ME: Yeah, I hear you.

ME: I’d love to hear more from you about Smith & Binder!

STEVEN: It’s the jazz duo I do with Linda Binder and we’ve been together for eight or nine years. The idea for it was around the time when I was getting more interested in jazz; prior to that I was more into acoustic folk and country and blues. I gravitated towards jazz because I like the tunes and I like to sing them; my wife actually said to me that my voice would be suited for it. So I gave it a try, and I loved learning the chord structures; I play in a style that could reasonably be based on Freddie Green’s, but I was also interested in how Django Reinhardt played. I’m mostly a rhythm player and not much of a lead player – that’s why I approached Linda. She was very willing and it was something she also wanted to look into. She’s really intrepid and can play just about anything; I’m very fortunate to have her as a partner and we’ve learned quite a few tunes over the years that we continually brush up while we continue learning new ones. I have written one tune in jazz style and I’d like to write more.

ME: Awesome, thank you for sharing all that! I spoke to Linda a few months ago and she spoke very highly of your project together; it sounds like something that’s remained cohesive and has had the chemistry for a long time.

STEVEN: Yeah, I couldn’t ask for a better partner. We have a steady gig at Corvino Wine Company and that’s the way we keep sharp.

ME: That makes sense. That said, I’d love to hear more about what you’re working on now!

STEVEN: So, we’re going to continue with that gig but we’re looking into additional venues; we managed to link up with ACA which has been finding some projects for us. We’ve also gotten some gigs through Wisconsin Music Ventures which is always appreciated. Beyond all that, I still do have aspirations to revisit the original tunes I’ve written; I’ve linked up with a couple guys that I used to be in a band with and we’ve been working some things out. We’re getting a set together and going to see if we can get into some venues soon but we don’t have a name or promotional material yet…it’s getting there. Hopefully we can share some of that in the coming months or in the next year.

ME: That’s exciting!

Visit Steven Smith’s Facebook page here.

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