Singer-Songwriter Tori Smith
words | Celestial Williams
Tori's full name is Victoria Elizabeth Smith. She's 17 years old, and she was born in Mesa, Arizona. She's an exciting up and coming singer-songwriter with amazing talent and a huge heart. Our Editor-in-Chief, Celestial Williams, sat down with Tori to find out what she's really like, what her dreams are, and what her music is all about.
Luca: For people who’ve never heard your music, describe your sound in 5 words:
TS: Acoustic, indie, positive, relatable, and genuine. I’ll never write about an emotion I haven’t ever really felt.
Luca: What CD do you have in your radio right now?
TS: That would be my guilty pleasure, Taylor Swift’s first album.
Luca: If you could open up for any artist right now who would it be?
TS: Kina Grannis. She’s not super famous, but her following is very genuine, and it would make for a good show!
Luca: What’s your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing/playing music?
TS: I love to play tennis. I’ve been playing for two years. I also love being on the student council at my high school. My favorite parts about it are the leadership aspects and meeting a lot of awesome people.
Luca: Do you ever get nervous when you perform? What do you do about it?
TS: I definitely, definitely get nervous! To calm myself down, I think about the message that I want to get across. I make it less about me and more about the music.
Luca: When did you start writing about music?
TS: I started writing songs in a little journal when I was about eight. They were actually pretty horrible at first. Once I got a guitar I became more serious about songwriting, and felt more comfortable sharing them with my parents, then eventually, anyone who would listen.
Luca: Who are your music influences?
TS: Sea of Bees. Her writing style is what I have in the back of my head when I’m writing. Ingrid Michaelson is also a big influence because I love her style and lyrics. She has unique vocals. I also look up to Regina Spektor’s uniqueness and the unorthodox way she makes music.
Luca: What are the top two topics you tend to write about most?
TS: I think that would have to be insecurities first. We all have them, and that’s OK. Since I’m a teenager, I’m still figuring life out. So I write about that a lot too. Sometimes I write songs to help me make sense of situations.
Luca: What are the five things you can’t live without?
TS: I for sure can’t live without my journal! It keeps me sane. If I don’t write things out, I go crazy. Of course my guitar and music in general. It helps me to stay focused. My top two would be my family and my religion.
Luca: What’s your motto or the advice you live by?
TS: I think it’s really important to treat people with kindness. Everybody.
Luca: What is your favorite song to belt out in the car?
TS: Beautiful Soul, by Jesse McCartney from A Cinderella Story.
Luca: Ten years from now you will be….
TS: I want to have a body of music that I’m proud of. If the opportunity came to be a part of a big recording label, which still gave me my independence, I’d be interested. I don’t want to change who I am. I want to have a hot husband by then. Family is important to me. I don’t see myself in any other career besides music. If I could find a balance between being a mom and pursuing music, I’d be so happy!
Luca: When and why did you start playing the guitar?
TS: I started to play the guitar when I was 12. I also wanted to play the guitar because my mom is super musical. She plays all kinds of musical instruments, and that’s the only instrument I was interested in that she couldn’t play! I looked up three cords on the internet and looked up some Taylor Swift songs. Then I was hooked.
Luca: Which instruments do you play?
TS: Guitar, piano, and ukulele.
Luca: What do you do if you make a mistake during a performance?
TS: You have to just keep going. For me, it’s usually the words that I mess up or forget. I try to quickly draw myself back into the music and refocus on what I’m singing about.
Luca: How often do you practice your music?
“I play guitar every day. Somedays I play for hours, some days I pick it up and play a couple of songs before I go to bed. It’s always different.”
Luca: Do you want to go to college?
TS: Yeah, I really want to go to college, I just don’t know where yet.
Luca: If you could go back and talk to your 12-year-old self, what would you say?
TS: I would tell myself that it’s totally OK that you don’t have things figured out. It’s OK you don’t know who you are. Be OK with that. Work towards doing things to get you to be the person you want to be. I’d say to myself to be comfortable with where I’m at, and to get involved in good things. I wish I could go back to Jr. High and tell myself that cool kids aren’t that cool just because they have the right clothes. Everyone has the capacity to be great! Clothes don’t make you. Now is the time to start trying out sports, hobbies, art, music, and keep going even though things may be hard at first, you may actually end up loving it!
Luca: How do you think music changes your life?
TS: Relating to a song can totally change your perspective. The impact of having a song you can relate to can help you through anything.
Luca: Why do you want to get your music out there?
TS: I want to make songs that make people feel happy. I want to write songs for a broad range of emotions for people to listen to and relate with. I’d love to help some teenage girl somewhere though a hard time, and through good times too!