Artist Spotlight: Elliott Smith

Artist Spotlight courtesy of Jef Costello

Elliott Smith was born August 6, 1969 and took to music at a young age, becoming a proficient multi-instrumentalist. Smith originally made a name for himself as a member of the Portland, Oregon indie rock band Heatmiser before embarking on a solo career. Between 1994 and 2003, he recorded five studio albums, eventually signing with Dreamworks Records. Smith’s distinctive, layered vocals, beautiful compositions, and wry, often heartbreaking lyrics invite comparisons to some of the most talented and beloved singer-songwriters (including Paul Simon and Nick Drake, among others). Sadly, Smith spent much of his adult life suffering from depression and eventually developed severe problems with drugs and alcohol. In 2003, he died from two stab wounds to the chest, probably self-inflicted. He was 34 years old.