Fashion and music are such natural bedfellows. There are so many new and exciting artists out there ripe for discovery and Smitha is one of those gems. We’ve been tapped into Smitha for a while. She’s a refreshing, talented and seriously authentic (and gorgeous) singer/songwriter from our very own London Town. We were really happy to sit down and find out more about her music, style and inspirations.
How would you describe your style of music?
Melodic, expressive and heartfelt, incorporating pop, soul and folk.
What’s your process for song writing? How do you get inspired?
It’s variable! Sometimes I think of a melody or ‘hook’ first and depending on where I am, I’ll frantically sing it into my phone before I forget it and expand on the song when I get home with my guitar. Sometimes it’s the other way round and the chords come first.
I get inspiration from personal experience or at times something that has affected someone else but stirred up an emotion in me. I would like my songs to be real and relatable for others. You feel so much more connected with others then, particularly when playing live. I love it!
How would you describe your look?
I do like to mix it up and give a nod to the sixties! I have a few jeans and skirts that I wear frequently. I dress these up or down with T-shirts, laced tops, jumpers and flats or heels depending how fast I need to move! I love interesting prints, pretty details and bold colours. I have some dresses that I love wearing, particularly when the weather is warmer, which are both vintage and new! I absolutely love 60s style make-up with winged eyeliner and nude lips, and this is my go-to make-up. I also like to keep it simple and then I may add in a red lippy.
How do you decide what to wear for a performance?
It’s important for me to feel comfortable and be able to breathe! My priority is to sound the best that I possibly can but at the same I want to look like I’m performing. This gets me into the mindset that I’m not just ‘Smitha’, I’m Smitha the ‘Artist’. I tend to steer away from wearing very dark colours and for big performances I’ll wear something bold and colourful.
What do you love about vintage clothes and accessories?
Where do I start!! I love its uniqueness and knowing that it’s highly unlikely that anyone else will be wearing that same item. I love the quality of the clothing. These items really do stand the test of time. I love the fact that there is a story behind these items and then I imagine I’ve stepped back in time! I love mixing vintage up with newer items of clothing. Actually I have added vintage pieces into my performance wear at gigs, including dresses, scarves and skirts.
What’s your favourite way to perform? Festivals, small intimate venues, in the studio?
I love all of these venues for different reasons and I think it’s important for me to do them all. Festivals are great for my more up-tempo and groovier tunes, they help to get the crowd interested and engaged. The smaller venues are more intimate and brilliant for the slower songs and trying out new material. I love performing live, but the studio is essential to get the music recorded with a few takes if needed!
Any advice for aspiring musicians?
Practice, perform, practice, write, practice, perform, write, practice, record, write, practice…..you get the idea!! It is really important to know your songs very well, this means that when you do perform them in front of an audience, you’ll be nervous but not a complete wreck and feel confident about them. You’ll mess up sometimes, but that’s ok, everyone does. Get involved with your local music scene. Meet and collaborate with other musicians. I’m learning so much from others and I’m sure I’ll always be learning. Go to open mic nights and try out new material. It’s not all smooth sailing but remind yourself now and again why you are doing this, as sometimes the reason for this can be lost, and keep coming back to it – put a post-it on your bathroom mirror! For most it will be for the pure love and passion for music. Thinking about this has kept me going through any rough patches. Surround yourself with positive people who support and believe in you. Also remember to have fun and enjoy yourself!
Where can we next see you performing?
On 10th December, I’ll be performing at Nomad Club in Old Street, London. Then on 15th December, I’m performing with some other acoustic artists as part of the Icarus Club, Pelton Arms, in Greenwich, London. My biggest gig in the diary so far is at Jimmy’s Farm Festival next summer. It’s brilliant fun there and I’ll be performing on the main stage. I’ll also be in the recording studio again in preparation to release my debut EP next year.
If you’d like to get our latest news on vintage style and keep up to date on our clothing launch journey, make sure you sign up to our Style By Portobello newsletter. To buy a Scarf Set or one of our Bello Boxes (style boxes full of divine vintage jewellery and accessories) just pop over to stylebyportobello.com.
SBP Team x