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Steven Smith
Zildjian Artist|Steven Smith lg
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Artist Biography

Everything you need to know in one spot.

  • Band/Affiliation: Dirty Vegas
  • Country: United States

Whether it’s performing at one of the world’s most famous festivals or playing a small acoustic set, Steve has done it all. He has composed for TV and film, won a Grammy in 2003 and remixed ‘Platinum’ selling artists such as Madonna and Justin Timberlake.

His start was in 1994 when he was the Percussionist for UK Top 40 band ‘Evolution’ who opened up for chart toppers ‘M-People’.  This gave him the first taste of how the music industry works, and quickly became a session player for many Pop and Dance Artists such as Dannii Minogue, Lisa Stansfield and Sophie Ellis Baxter. In 1997, as the Vocalist/Percussionist for his own band ‘Higher Ground’ his songwriting flair was recognized, when they we’re asked to open for UK legend Paul Weller.

In the Summer of 1999. Steve had just split with his long-term girlfriend. With nothing to lose he packed up and drove from London to Ibiza with everything he owned. Days were spent with an acoustic guitar on the tranquil beaches, and nights playing solo percussion sets in hedonistic nightclubs such as Manumission, Pacha and Amnesia. He played alongside the top DJ’s in the world - studying how certain tracks caused reactions in crowds unlike those at any rock concerts he’d ever attended. Latin percussion has always been such an integral part of 'club' music, so this was the perfect arena for crafting his percussive flair. Ibiza was such a success that Steve was asked to be a resident solo percussionist at world famous, Ministry of Sound super-club in London UK. At the end of 2000, Steve headed into the studio for a percussion session with Paul Harris, a DJ friend, who had been playing around the London ‘Milk bar’ scene since the 1990’s. Paul had just started working with a young producer named Ben Harris (no relation). When they finished recording, Steve picked up an acoustic guitar and played them a song called, “Days go by.” Paul and Ben loved it, and started to play around with the tempo. They recorded the song, called themselves Dirty Vegas and pressed 1500 vinyl copies. The track spread like wildfire through club land - suddenly Steve had an Ibiza dance anthem.

Following a bidding war for the band in early 2001, the boys signed with legendary UK label Parlophone, home to The Beatles, Coldplay and Radiohead. Following the release of the album, the band went on to tour the four corners of the globe, developing a reputation as a powerful and entertaining live act. In a rollercoaster two years, the band headlined their own worldwide tour, supported such like-minded artists as Moby, Underworld and Groove armada, and stole the show at a number of international festivals, including Coachella (USA), V festival (UK), Roskilde (Denmark) and Fuji Rock (Japan). Memorable performances on late night TV shows such as ‘David Letterman’ and ‘Jay Leno’ showed that the guys we’re more than just studio-heads. All this ultimately garnering the band three Grammy nominations, and landing the Grammy award for ‘Best Electronic’ song. Other awards came too, with Playboy magazine naming the band ‘Electronic Artist of the year’ and winning 3 ‘Dancestar’ awards.

2004, saw the band release their second album, which saw them tour the world again, the song ‘Walk into the Sun’ hit the Billboard Dance Chart at No.1 and songs from the acclaimed album we’re used in major Film and TV shows such as ‘The O.C’, and ’One Tree Hill’ and films such as ’Running Scared’ and ‘Goal’. Throughout his years with Dirty Vegas, Steve continued to write songs on his acoustic guitar, and record Percussion sessions for many artists such as Portugal the Man, Cornershop, The Lemonheads and many dance tracks.

I n 2006, Steve moved to Boston Massachusetts in search of a new beginning. Feeding off the musical inspiration of his new surroundings, he began creating his first solo album, This Town. The project really started coming together when he joined forces with Anthony Saffery of Cornershop, who agreed to produce his songs. on this album, collaborations with an assortment of talents, including Claudia Gonson (The Magnetic Fields), Terry Barber (New York Symphony Orchestra), Jay Ungar (principal violinist for the composer James Horner – Titanic, Legends of the Fall), and Rob Swift (The x-excutioners, Quincy Jones). The song ‘Late Nights and Street Fights’ from the album was chosen by FOX TV, to be the ‘Main-Title’ Theme to their new show ‘Standoff’. This ‘Main-Title’ sequence (including the song) was nominated for an EMMY in 2007.

In 2008, Steve toured the us for ‘this town’ with high-light performances at Sundance Film Festival and SXSW Festival. Later that year, Steve was recording in London when he met up with Ben Harris (Dirty Vegas) and spoke of working on new material. Without the pressures of a recording contract or label executives issuing directives, the trio found a fresh kind of positivity and Dirty Vegas reformed. News of the band re-forming soon spread and they heading out again to play shows all over the world, with live performances at Glastonbury and Creamfields, as well as DJ shows on every continent. April 2011, saw the release of their 3rd studio album ‘Electric Love’, released on respected San Francisco label Om Records. On its release, ‘Electric Love’ entered the US i-tunes ‘Dance Album’ chart at no.3. Los Angeles radio station KCRW then made ‘Little White Doves’ from the album, its ‘Record of the week’. While the band headed out on a full US Tour taking in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Washington D.C. Festival performances such as Ultra Music Festival, Coachella and SXSW, the message was that the band were back. The year was highlighted when the band were asked to perform at the New World Symphony Hall in Miami FL with a 30 piece Orchestra. International success came too, with ‘Little White Doves’ reaching No.6 on South Africa’s 5FM’s National top 40 chart. Recently Billboard named ‘Dirty Vegas’ as No.6 ‘Best selling electronic artists of the decade’, proving it sure has been a hectic 10 years.

In March 2014, following performances at SXSW in Austin, TX - Dirty Vegas released their latest E.P 'let the night' to great success, by reaching no.3 again on US i-tunes 'Dance Album' chart.

With touring/recording plans being laid out for 2014, that include a 'once in a lifetime' show at the Grammy museum in Los Angeles, things are looking like there’s no slowing down just yet.

 

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