Darden Smith is an Austin-based singer-songwriter who redefines what it means to be a musician. With fourteen critically acclaimed albums in a career that spans almost three decades, Smith continues to write and tour across the US and Europe along with exploring new and innovative ways to use the craft of songwriting in education, entrepreneurship studies, and service.
Recording since 1986 from Austin, to New York and Nashville, from London to Los Angeles, his albums weave together rock, pop, country, folk and Americana influences with the musical roots of his home state of Texas. He has long transcended traditional singer-songwriter boundaries, and the evolving nature of his work since 2000 reflects his consistent creative excellence.
Smith founded The Be An Artist Program nearly a decade ago, and his seminars to encourage students to explore their own creativity and interests have reached more than 15,000 students across the United States and Western Europe. His SongwritingWith collaborations find him teaming with, among others, U.S. soldiers transitioning to civilian life after combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, homeless youth in New Jersey and HIV-affected villagers in Africa. Darden also adapts his programs for corporate retreats and conflict-resolution workshops.
While continuing to expand his SongwritingWith collaborations and tour regularly, Smith is currently Artist-In-Residence at Oklahoma State University’s Institute for Creativity and Innovation, where he seeks to share with students the challenges, joys and know-how in succeeding in creative business pursuits. His workshops and creativity sessions for Fortune 500 companies use songwriting to inspire new ways to listen, collaborate and learn in the traditional work environment.
Smith’s latest album, “Love Calling,” was recorded and produced in Nashville during the spring of 2012 and was released August 27, 2013 on Compass Records.
Dan’s career began as a songwriter, most often with Eric Lowen, for artists as diverse as Pat Benatar (the Grammy-nominated “We Belong”) , The Bangles, Jackson Browne, Dave Edmunds, The Temptations, Dionne Warwick, Dutch superstar Marco Borsato, The Triplets, and Austin outlaw legend Rusty Weir.
In the 1990s, he recorded and toured with Lowen in the acclaimed acoustic duo Lowen & Navarro until Eric’s retirement in 2009. Dan has transitioned smoothly into a growing solo career, steadily in demand on the national concert circuit...
He moonlights as a singer and voice actor, in movies like The Book Of Life, The Lorax, Happy Feet (1 & 2), Rio (on the Oscar-nominated “Real In Rio”), Ice Age (2 & 3) ; TV series Turbo Fast, Prison Break, Family Guy and American Dad; records with Neil Young, Andrea Bocelli, Luis Miguel, Jose Feliciano, Janiva Magness, and Jon Anderson of Yes; the hit videogames Fallout 4 and Uncharted 4, and hundreds of TV ads for Subaru, Shakey’s, McDonald’s, Toyota, Coca-Cola, Honda, Nationwide and more.
He has contributed countless hours in Washington on issues of intellectual property, copyright and performer’s rights, on behalf of Nashville Songwriters Assn Int’l, the former AFTRA, NARAS, BMI , SoundExchange and the musicFIRST Coalition, including testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Copyright Royalty Board. Dan also serves on the boards of SAG-AFTRA and the The Levitt Pavilions LA.
In 2009, after 22 years and 12 CDs with Lowen & Navarro, Dan released the spirited “Live at McCabe’s”, backed by his pals, Austin’s now-disbanded Stonehoney. His next album, “Shed My Skin”, is slated for release next year.
He is the father of a 20-year-old son and a known abuser of acoustic guitars.
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