Park Slope

Zak Smith Band heads to Park Slope to perform Americana-style music

Smith: ‘I'm Anxious to Make It Great’

January 22, 2015 By Meghan McDonald Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Zak Smith is playing a show at the ShapeShifter Lab in Park Slope at 7 p.m. on Jan. 23. Photo by Stephan Alessi
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While singer-songwriter Zak Smith may describe his sound as Americana or alternative, his thoughtful lyrics mixed with light accompaniment blend to create a fresh sound not heard often in the New York and Brooklyn music scene.

His introspective style is shown in his latest album, “Signs of Life,” right off the bat through his song titles that include “Have You Looked Outside” and “Traitor’s Way.”

“There are roots music influences in it for sure, but I like a lot of different kinds of music,” the 31-year-old musician told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Although Smith is from Jersey, his bandmates hail from Brooklyn and New York. The group, Zak Smith Band, is making their way to Park Slope on Jan. 23 at the ShapeShifter Lab.

“ShapeShifter Lab has a cool set up and great sound,” he said. “It’s a really nice venue for this kind of thing. I’m anxious to make it great.”

Anxious he may be, but Smith is a well-seasoned writer and musician.  He began learning the guitar at age 14 and was writing even before then, which helped him transition to songwriting.

“Before I was into music, I loved writing fiction, especially short stories,” he said. “When I got into music, I transferred that love of writing pretty immediately into trying to write songs.”

Now Smith has added the piano and harmonica to his cue — but for him, the emphasis has remained on the writing aspect.

“The lyrics usually take the most time,” he said. “If I feel strongly about something, it usually comes easier.”

Smith said the last rock song that truly impressed him was “Who Needs You” by the Orwells, also mentioning that he draws inspiration from rap artists who are widely outside of his genre (including Kanye West).

“There’s an immediacy to a lot of rap music that’s very powerful. It’s important to show up when you’re singing a song, so I guess I’ve drawn from that,” he said. Smith said being courageous, persistent and lucky also help with success in music.

And there’s more of Smith to come.  His current favorite song of his, “Oil on the Beach,” isn’t even recorded yet.

“I’ve found that especially really early on, new songs have a power to them that can be hard to recapture,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons I write so much, because I’m scared of working too hard.”

Friday’s show is at 7 p.m., and tickets are $8.

Smith has opened for The Outlaws, Carbon Leaf and David Cook and was named Best Male Vocalist at the 2013 Jersey Acoustic Music Awards.

See for information on more upcoming shows.


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