We had the good fortune of connecting with Smitty Gritty and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Smitty, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Back on the east coast, I was working a full-time corporate job during the day while running my DJ business on nights and weekends. I had zero work/life balance, and eventually got burned out before making a conscious decision to prioritize my purpose in life: bringing people together. I’ve always considered myself to be a unifier, and I can’t think of a better way to do that than through music. The feeling I get from DJing and Producing, seeing firsthand how people connect with the artform, is euphoric. At the end of the day, I just want to be a part of making music that moves others emotionally the way it continues to move me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what are the lessons you’ve learned along the way? What do you want the world to know about your story?
My background is in corporate finance & accounting, so when it comes to business I try to be calculated while focusing only on factors that I can control. At the same time, I think you have to approach business the same way you approach life, with a certain level of optimism. We all fear uncertainty and failure, but I’ve learned that to accomplish something great you have to remove that unnecessary pressure and go into everything you do with an “abundance mindset”. To paraphrase Grammy Award winning producer !llmind (pictured above), “if you treat everything like an experiment, you can’t fail. You can only learn and get better for next time.”
Keeping that “abundance mindset” is what made my decision to drop everything and move to LA to pursue music possible. The first and most difficult step on that journey was having to leave my hometown of Alexandria, VA. These days you can make it as a producer out of your home studio, so relocating wasn’t necessarily a requirement for success – but I wanted to be around as many talented producers, songwriters, and artists as possible, and to be able to caddie at a country club year round to make ends meet. Los Angeles, with its wealth of creatives AND sunshine, was the obvious choice. I couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out.
Going forward, my goal is to find enough success in the music business to support my family and those in need. When it’s all said and done, I want people to remember me for embodying the definition of the word “gritty” and for being courageously persistent towards turning my dreams into a reality. And hopefully I can inspire others to pursue their dreams along the way.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When I have friends in town we usually spend most of our days at the beach, playing golf, or going on hikes. Malibu and anywhere in the South Bay are my favorite spots for sun and sand. I love playing golf at Rustic Canyon and Oak Quarry. Hikes don’t get much better in LA than at Griffith Park, Solstice Canyon, or Corral Canyon. At night we like to hit a few nice dinner spots. Some of my faves are Forma, Felix, Etta, and Jon & Vinny’s. If we’re in the mood for a dive bar with live music it doesn’t get any better than Hinano Café in Venice Beach.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Couldn’t agree more. The most important factor behind my success is the people I’ve had in my corner from day one. My career in music never gets off the ground without all of the encouragement and support from my friends and family. Especially the two loves of my life… my girlfriend Sara and our dog Dre!
And last but not least I gotta shoutout my team, Alchematic Sounds. I can’t stress enough the importance of surrounding yourself with other passionate individuals who share similar goals and aspirations. Being able to learn from one another and help each other grow, both creatively and professionally, has been priceless.
Chris Ferenzi Ashley Harris