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Curt Smith

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  • Born: Bath, Somerset, England
  • Years Active: 1980s, 1990s, 2000s


Biography All Music GuideWikipedia

All Music Guide:

Curt Smith is formerly of the chart-topping '80s pop/rock band Tears for Fears, in which he played bass with his childhood mate and songwriting partner, Roland Orzabal. The Tears for Fears duo only released three albums together; Orzabal alone issued three more albums under the band's moniker. They achieved their greatest success in 1985 with their second LP, Songs from the Big Chair, making themselves a mainstream favorite with cuts like "Shout," "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," and "Head Over Heels." After a four-year break, Smith and Orzabal released the sophisticated The Seeds of Love and briefly dabbled in fame again. Supposed creative differences and personal strenuous commitments led Smith to leave Tears for Fears in 1990 and subsequently start his own solo career. He released Soul on Board in 1993, which was released as an import in the States. Still chomping at the bit to make music, in 1995 Smith formed Mayfield, who released their self-titled debut three years later. The material caught a slight buzz in the college music scene but quickly fell out of the loop. Also during this time, Smith married longtime girlfriend Frances Pennington and had a baby girl, Pennington Diva Smith. His second solo effort, the Aeroplane EP, followed in June 2000, featuring new versions of Tears for Fears' "Pale Shelter" and "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." Smith and Orzabal reunited and released a new Tears for Fears album, Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, in 2004. In 2007 he returned to his solo career with the album Halfway, Pleased, released by the French label Xiii Bis. The album was re-released internationally a year later on Smith's own Kook label.


For other people named Curt Smith, see Curt Smith (disambiguation).

Curt Smith (born 24 June 1961, Bath, Somerset, England) is an English musician. He is best known for forming the band Tears for Fears, along with childhood friend Roland Orzabal. Also a solo artist, he has released four full-length albums.

Musical groups[edit]


Smith met Roland Orzabal when both were teenagers. They first formed a band in their teens, for which Smith taught himself to play bass guitar. They next formed the ska influenced band Graduate, who released their only album in 1980 achieving minor success in Europe.

Around this time, Smith and Orzabal also became session musicians for the band Neon. Fellow band members included Pete Byrne and Rob Fisher who went on to become the duo Naked Eyes.

Tears for Fears[edit]
Main article: Tears for Fears

After Graduate and Neon disbanded, Smith and Orzabal founded Tears for Fears in 1981. Their debut album, 1983's The Hurting, reached no.1 in the UK and produced three international hit singles – "Mad World", "Change", and "Pale Shelter" – each with lead vocals performed by Smith.

Their 1985 album Songs from the Big Chair was even more successful, yielding hits including "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" (with Smith again on lead vocals), "Shout," and "Head Over Heels” (which Smith co-wrote).

The duo spent the next several years recording their 1989 album The Seeds of Love, which proved to be another international best-seller. Smith’s last single as a lead vocalist with the group (and his only lead vocal track on the album) was "Advice For The Young At Heart". Following another world tour, increasing tensions between himself and Orzabal prompted Smith to leave the band in 1991 and he moved to New York.

In 2000, routine legal paperwork obligations led to Orzabal and Smith's first conversation in nearly a decade. The two patched up their differences and, along with Smith's associate Charlton Pettus, began writing a new album – Everybody Loves a Happy Ending – released in 2004. Prior to this, "Mad World" was covered by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules for the soundtrack of film Donnie Darko. It was released as a single and reached no.1 in the UK during Christmas 2003. The single re-ignited interest in the group's earlier work and their 1992 Greatest Hits album was re-released and re-entered the UK Top 10 for several weeks, garnering its second UK platinum disc.

^ Thomas Erlewine, Stephen. "Tears for Fears - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-23. ^ Tears for Fears – iTunes interview. 2004.


Solo albums1.1 Soul on Board1.2 Mayfield1.3 Halfway, Pleased1.4 Deceptively Heavy1.5 "The Social Media Project"

Solo albums[edit]

Soul on Board[edit]
Main article: Soul on Board

After leaving Tears for Fears, Smith released his first solo album, Soul on Board, in 1993. The album was unsuccessful in the UK, and was not released at all in the U.S.

Smith later claimed that he made the album purely to fulfill his record contract with Phonogram/Mercury.


After moving to New York, Smith formed the band Mayfield with guitarist-producer Charlton Pettus and which also featured Russ Irwin. According to Smith, the name of the band was a play on words (Curt is Mayfield) based on the name of the legendary American soul singer Curtis Mayfield. The band was mostly a live act but did release a self-titled album in 1997, which met with little success. Smith later released the album Aeroplane under his own name. In the U.S., this was a six song EP, but in Canada and elsewhere, it was essentially the earlier Mayfield album combined with additional songs from the U.S. EP.

In October 2011, Smith announced on his website that he will re-release the Mayfield album on 15 November 2011. The new release, on his KOOK Media label, will include a bonus version of the song "Trees" featuring Janice Whaley.

Halfway, Pleased[edit]
Main article: Halfway, Pleased

During 2000, Smith began work on what was to become Halfway, Pleased, but the project was put on hold when he re-established contact with Roland Orzabal again after almost a decade of silence. Their conversations culminated in Tears for Fears reforming for 2004’s Everybody Loves a Happy Ending which led to a worldwide tour, so it wasn’t until 2006 that Smith resumed work on Halfway, Pleased. The semi-autobiographical album explores Smith’s relationships with his children, parents and friends.

In April 2007, French record label XIII Bis Records released Halfway, Pleased in France. Its 14 tracks included 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 2005 Tears for Fears UK tour; the single version of "Seven Of Sundays" (also recorded as a duet with French singer SO); and a cover of "On Ira Tous au Paradis" (also available on A Tribute to Polnareff). Two music videos were made for "Seven of Sundays" – one as a solo track, and one as the duet with SO.

All the songs except "Seven of Sundays" were co-written by Smith and Pettus. The solo version of "Seven of Sundays" was co-written by Pettus and Chesney Hawkes; Smith and Sophie Saillet helped adapt the song for the duet version.

Smith finally released the album in the U.S. and the rest of the world in May 2008 via his own KOOK Media label. The KOOK release features a slightly different track listing, eliminating the Polnareff tribute and adding two new acoustic tracks ("Coming Out" and "Seven of Sundays"). It was released under a Creative Commons license which allows fans to distribute, perform and use the songs so long as the uses are non-commercial and attributed to Smith.

Smith has made limited live concert appearances in the Los Angeles area to support Halfway, pleased. In January 2009, he announced that he will perform a weekly residency at The Standard Hollywood in West Hollywood, CA during the month of February 2009. He announced in mid-February that The Standard had asked him to extend through March 2009 and he agreed. He played a similar residency there in October 2008.

Deceptively Heavy[edit]

In July, 2013 it was announced that Smith would release his fourth solo album, his first since 2008. The album was released on July 16, 2013.

"The Social Media Project"[edit]

In January 2010, Smith released the standalone single "All Is Love (featuring Zoë Keating)," the first track in what he says will be an album-length project of collaborations with artists he meets via social media. Smith met Keating, an avant-garde cellist, via Twitter. The second track in the series, "Perfectly...Still (featuring Universal Hall Pass)" was released in August 2010. A fan of Smith's suggested the collaboration via Twitter; Smith contacted UHP (aka Melissa R. Kaplan) via the MySpace service. As of January 2012 Smith's site lacks any specific details but claims "More tracks coming in 2011!".

^ "Be back soon!". Curtsmithofficial.com. Retrieved 2013-03-23. ^ Hasty, Katie. "Tears for Fears' Smith Goes 'Halfway' Solo" Billboard. 14 March 2008^ "Curt Smith Releases "Halfway, Pleased"". Creative Commons. 2008-05-22. Retrieved 2013-03-23. ^ "'Tears for Fears' Curt Smith Performing at Standard Hollywood". HotelChatter. 2009-01-26. Retrieved 2013-03-23. ^ "Be back soon!". Curtsmithofficial.com. Retrieved 2013-03-23. ^ "Curt Smith preps new album ‘Deceptively Heavy’ as Tears For Fears return to the studio". /Slicing Up Eyeballs.com. 2013-07-05. Retrieved 2013-07-17. ^ "iTunes Preview for Curt Smith album ‘Deceptively Heavy’". /iTunes. 2013-07-16. Retrieved 2013-07-17. ^ Barb Dybwad (2010-02-23). "Tears for Fears' Curt Smith Talks Twitter and Solo Career [INTERVIEW]". Mashable.com. Retrieved 2013-03-23. ^ "New Music: Curt Smith of Tears For Fears | Do You Hear The Music?". Doyouhearthemusic.com. Retrieved 2013-03-23. ^ "Be back soon!". Curtsmithofficial.com. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 


Smith occasionally collaborates with other artists. He worked with the French singer So (Sophie Saillet) providing vocals on her track "Les Autres", and the pair worked together again on Smith's track "Seven of Sundays" (Saillet also appeared in both videos for the song). Smith is also featured on The Shadow Bureau's 2011 track "Don't Give Yourself Away" with artist Linda Strawberry, inspired by the 2010 Australian film Griff the Invisible. In May 2011, Smith tweeted that he was working on a track with JunkieXL which features on JXL's album Synthesized.

^ "The Shadow Bureau, 'Don't Give Yourself Away' - Video of the Day". Spinner. 2011-08-26. Retrieved 2013-03-23. ^ [1]


Smith and longtime collaborator Charlton Pettus composed and recorded the score for the 2011 film Meth Head, starring Lukas Haas. Smith contributed an original song, "This Is Christmas", to an episode of the fifth season of the USA Network series Psych.

^ "Be back soon!". Curtsmithofficial.com. Retrieved 2013-03-23. ^ "Psych TV Series -Curt Smith - This is Christmas". USA Network. 2012-07-06. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 

Stripped Down Live With Curt Smith[edit]

In August 2010, Smith debuted a live music web series, "Stripped Down Live With Curt Smith", which he produces along with his manager Arlene Wszalek and Streamin' Garage CEO Mike Rotman. Each episode is devoted to a single featured artist. The band or musician plays acoustic versions of their songs (the show is streamed live via UStream); Smith interviews them between sets, as well as taking viewer questions via Skype and the show's chat room. Smith's guests have included Hypnogaja, Carina Round Chris Pierce, Peter Himmelman, Common Rotation, Gary Jules, All Day Sucker, The Daylights, Matthew Sweet, The Fallen Stars, Nightmare & The Cat, Whiskey Saints, Fitz & The Tantrums and Friendly Indians. As of January 2011, Smith has said that he won't do another season of the series.

^ Shannon, Liz (2010-07-20). "Tears for Fears’ Curt Smith To Host Stripped Down Live — Tech News and Analysis". Newteevee.com. Retrieved 2013-03-23. ^ "Be back soon!". Curtsmithofficial.com. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 

Other activities[edit]

Smith is an avid user and advocate of social media. Since 2008, he has been asked to speak at a variety of social media, technology and creative conferences, including 140TC, the Creative Commons Los Angeles Salon, the 2010 ITV Fest, TEDxHollywood, and TEDxSF. He has also guest-lectured at the USC Annenberg School's graduate Online Communities program.

Smith has also tried his hand at acting. He had a minor role as a desk clerk in The Dead Connection (1994), had a more significant role as a professor in 2000's The Private Public. Smith made a surprise appearance to open Psych's 2010 Comic Con panel, where he sang onstage with Psych co-stars James Roday and Dulé Hill. He then appeared, as himself, in the "Psych" episode "Shawn 2.0". His single "This is Christmas" later appeared in the episode "The Polarizing Express". He again appeared as himself in the show's 100th episode, "100 Clues", in March 2013. He also appeared in the episode "A Nightmare On State Street" as himself.

In May 2009, Smith performed at the Artist for the Arts Foundation benefit at Barnum Hall, Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica, California. Performing live, alongside Colin Hay (Men At Work), Fee Waybill (The Tubes) & Venice (Crazy On You) and over 70 members of the Santa Monica High School (SaMoHi) Orchestra and Girls Choir, the benefit helped to provide funds for the continuation of Music Education in public schools. The event was filmed and recorded by Harry Rabin of On the WAVE Productions and can be seen on the AFTA Foundation website.

^ Cite error: The named reference mashable1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).^ "Twitter users have first conference | Metro News". Metro.co.uk. 2009-09-23. Retrieved 2013-03-23. ^ "CC Salon LA (6/26/08): Curt Smith and Monk Turner Discuss CC/Music". Creative Commons. 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2013-03-23. ^ [1]^ "TEDxHollywood 2010". Tedxhollywood.eventbrite.com. 5 June 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2011. ^ "Tedxsf". "Tedxsf". Retrieved 16 August 2011. ^ "Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2013-03-23. ^ "Curt Smith The Private Public (2000)". YouTube. 12 February 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2011. ^ "Curt Smith Arrived in Vancouver PSYCH'D". Eatsleepcelebrity.com. Retrieved 16 August 2011. ^ "'Psych' Panel Lets it All Out at Comic-Con". Buddytv.com. 2010-07-23. Retrieved 2013-03-23. ^ ""Psych episode "[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1654411/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_1 Shawn 2.0]"". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2013-03-23. ^ "Psych TV Series -Curt Smith – This is Christmas". Usanetwork.com. 16 December 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 

Personal life[edit]

Smith grew up in Bath, England, and lived on the Snow Hill council estate (subject of the track "Snow Hill"). He attended the Beechen Cliff School.

Smith has been married twice. His first wife was Lynda "Lynne" Altman, whom he married in 1982. They divorced in 1988, and he then began a relationship with marketing executive Laura "Frances" Pennington. They married in 1996 and now reside in Los Angeles with their two daughters, Diva and Wilder, born in 1999 and 2001. Smith became a naturalised U.S. citizen in 2007. He is a fan of Manchester United and Los Angeles Galaxy.

^ "Curt Smith - Tears for Fears, 80's pop, british, band, music, new wave, singer, song writer, Curt Smith". Lipstick Tracez. Retrieved 2013-03-23. ^ "Curt Smith". Twitter.
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