All About Curt Smith – Bio

Curt Smith was born on June 24, 1961, at Bath, Somerset, England where he grew up and resided on the Snow Hill council estate (the topic of the “Snow Hill” track). He studied at the Beechen Cliff School. He is a songwriter, English singer, synthesizer player, and bassist. He is popularly recognized for forming the Tears for Fears duo with his friend during their teenage years, Roland Orzabal. He later on became a solo artist and had released in May 2008 his third album called Halfway.

Smith and Orzabal met each other when they were just teenagers. The duo first formed a school band, for which Smith learned to play bass guitar by himself. After that they put together the ska-influenced band Graduate, wherein they released in 1980, their one and only album gaining a little achievement in Europe.

Smith and Orzabal then also became sessionists for the band called Neon. Their fellow band members were then unknown Rob Fisher and Pete Byrne who went on and form the Naked Eyes duo.

After the disbandment of Neon and Graduate, Smith and Orzabal later formed Tears For Fears. Their debut album, The Hurting, which came out in 1983 reached the top in the UK and created three international hit singles  “Pale Shelter”, “Mad World”, and “Change” with Smith performing the vocals.

In 1985 their Songs from the Big Chair album became very successful; with the popular hits including “Head Over Heels (that Smith co-wrote), “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (with Smith performing the lead vocals), and “Shout”.

Both Smith and Orzabal spent the next few years recording The Seeds of Love album (1989), which then again proved to be a successful album. Smith’s final single as lead vocals with the group (and his only lead vocal track on the album) was “Advice For The Young At Heart”. Following another world tour, the growing tension between himself and Orzabal provoked Smith to call it quits in 1991 and he later moved to New York.

After his fruitful years with Tears for Fears, Smith released in 1993 Soul On Board, which is his first solo album. The album didn’t become successful in the UK, and it was never released in the U.S. Smith later told media that he only made the album to complete his record contract with Phonogram/Mercury.

After moving to New York, Smith created the band Mayfield with producer-guitarist Charlton Pettus, which also featured Russ Irwin. The band opted to do live performances almost always, as Smith wants to play gigs in small clubs. The band in 1997 released a self-titled album, which had a bit of success. Smith later released the album ‘Aeroplane’. In the U.S., this was a six song EP, but in Canada and elsewhere, it was fundamentally the earlier Mayfield album, which also had added a few songs from the U.S. EP.

According to their interview with iTunes in 2000, they claimed that the routine legal paperwork obligations led to Smith and Orzabal’s first communication in almost a decade. The two patched up their differences and started writing (with Smith’s associate Charlton Pettus) the 2004’s Everybody Loves a Happy Ending. Meanwhile, Mad World was covered by Gary Jules, which included on the Donnie Darko soundtrack. Having reached the top of the UK singles chart at Christmas 2003, it again sparked interest in the group’s previous achievement and their 1992 Greatest Hits album was re-released and re-entered the UK Top 10 for weeks, garnering its second UK platinum disc.

Smith began work on what came to be Halfway, Pleased in 2000, but the project was delayed when he started talking to Roland Orzabal once more after about 10 years of silence. Their discussion ended up in Tears For Fears reemerging for 2004’s Everybody Loves a Happy Ending which led to a world tour, so it wasn’t until 2006 that Smith returned to work on “Halfway, Pleased”. The semi-autobiographical album describes Smith’s relationships with his friends, children, and parents.

The XIII Bis Records, which is a French record label, released the album Halfway, Pleased in France in April 2007. Its 14 tracks had the original version of “Who You Are” (which was recorded by Tears for Fears on “Everybody Loves a Happy Ending”); a live version of “Snow Hill” from the bands 05 UK tour; the single version of “Seven Of Sundays” (also recorded as a duet with French singer SO); and a remake of “On Ira Tous au Paradis” (also available on A Tribute to Polnareff). Different music videos were made for “Seven of Sundays” one of the duet with SO and the other is the solo track.

Smith and Pettus co-wrote the songs in the album except for Seven of Sundays, which was co-written by Chesney Hawkes and Pettus ; Sophie Saillet and Smith collaborates in the song for the duet version.

Smith at last released the album in the U.S. and worldwide in May 2008 via his KOOK Media label. The KOOK release shows a slightly different track list, it is minus the Ponareff tribute and added two new acoustic tracks (Seven of Sundays and Coming Out). It was released under a Creative Commons license, which gave fans permission to perform, distribute and make use of the tracks so long as the uses are non-commercial and credited to Smith.

Smith didn’t have much live concert performances in the Los Angeles area for him to be able to support the album Halfway, Pleased. He announced in January 2009 that he would perform a weekly residency at The Standard Hollywood in West Hollywood, CA during the month of February 2009. He announced in the middle of February that The Standard had asked him to make an extension until March 2009 and he approved. He played a same residency there in October 2008.

Smith was married twice. Lynn Altman was his first wife; they tied the knot in the early 1980s, but the marriage didn’t last long. He then started a serious relationship in 1988 with Frances Pennington, a marketing executive, and in 1996, they got married. They reside in Los Angeles, California with their two siblings, Wilder and Diva.

In 2007, Smith became a naturalized U.S. citizen.

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Smith has always been a fan of Manchester United Football Club. He became a guest commentator for the Teams Soccer Radio Network’s UEFA Champions League 2008 Finals pre-game show.

 

Smith also tried acting. In the movie, The Dead Connection (1994) he played a desk clerk role and in another movie, The Private Public (2000) he played the role of a noteworthy professor.

 

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