Singer/songwriter Will Smith - Bright Young Thing

Singer/songwriter Will Smith on the joys of playing local and live, how he'd love to headline at the O2 and win an Oscar for best original song written for a movie

Kent Bright Young Thing

Singer/songwriter Will Smith on the joys of playing local and live, how he’d love to headline at the O2 and win an Oscar for best original song written for a movie

Tell us about yourself

My name is Will Smith (I use Will Sid Smith as a stage name), I’m 15 years old and I live near Bough Beech with my Mum and Dad, my brother Ed, who’s almost 17, and our dog, Angus. I go to Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys. I’m a singer/songwriter just starting to make a bit of an impact. I play guitar and keyboards too.

What are you doing now?

I started year 11 in September, which means that I will be taking my GCSEs and will have a lot of hard work to look forward to between now and next June! Strangely enough, I am not studying music - when the choice of subjects had to be made I was more interested in getting into the business side of the industry, so I chose Business Studies and Statistics instead. I also really enjoy modern languages and am taking French and Spanish. On the music front, its really hard for young people like me to get gigs, no matter how talented they are, especially during term time. Although I do the occasional cover, I much prefer playing my own songs. I’m lucky to have played a lot of local live gigs, including charity events and private functions and at places like The Forum and The Grey Lady in Tunbridge Wells. I’m really proud that I’m now on the regular roster for Paul Dunton & Guests, a twice-weekly showcase of local artists playing original material. During September I played a couple of gigs in London and I hope to do more there soon. I can’t do as many as I’d like this year because of studying, but at least I can start getting myself out there. Recently I’ve done some things with a foundation called UKUnsigned. They helped people like Leona Lewis, Katie Melua and N-Dubz in the early stages of their careers, so that’s pretty exciting.

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Your future ambitions?  

They’re still a bit vague really but they definitely include music. Yes, I’d like to be famous, but not for fame’s sake. I suppose what I really want is just for as many people as possible to listen to my music and enjoy it, that’s most important for me.  Hopefully, they might even learn something from the lyrics. If you asked me for specific ambitions though, I’d probably say that one would be to headline at the O2. I enjoy writing songs as much as performing them live, so the other ambition would be that one day an artist I really admire would like one of my songs so much that they’d want to cover it - somebody who really inspires me, like Michelle Branch or Paramore. Above all, I think the coolest thing for a songwriter would be to win an Oscar for best original song written for a movie!

What’s the best about Kent?   

I was born in Pembury and have never lived anywhere else, but what I like most is that I can live in beautiful countryside but be in town with my friends whenever I want, which gives me the best of both worlds.  I think it’s the countryside I like most.  I also like living where I do because it’s easy to get to cool places like London and Brighton.

What are your hobbies and interests?   

Music, music and more music. I tend to be a morning person and it’s not unusual for me to be playing my guitar and singing at 6.30am before I go to school. Inspiration comes at odd times. I listen to a lot of different types of music, too. I love animals and they take to me really quickly. We have a dog and I like walking him in the fields that surround our house. I recently got a hamster and he’s pretty entertaining. Otherwise I just like to go into town and hang out with my friends. Just regular teenage stuff really.

What was the last book you read?

Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer. I don’t really read books that aren’t to do with coursework that much. If I want to relax, I grab my guitar or sit at the keyboards.