Based in Austin, Texas, songwriter and educator Darden Smith is a 30 year veteran of the music business. He is the founder and creative director of SongwritingWith:Soldiers, which pairs professional songwriters with wounded soldiers to write songs based on their experiences of combat and returning home. Smith was the 2011-2013 Artist-in-Residence at Oklahoma State University’s Institute for Creativity and Innovation, presented at the 2013 TEDxAustin, and continues to be an in demand performer, speaker and educator.
Growing up in rural central Texas in the 1960s and 1970s instilled in Smith a driven, independent artistic vision. He wrote his first song when he was 10 years old. Smith moved to Austin, Texas to attend the University of Texas, and immersed himself in the vibrant music scene. By the time he graduated in 1985, he was a regular headliner in clubs across the Lone Star State, eventually signing to Columbia Records.
Highly creative, Smith expanded his reach far beyond the recording studio. In 2003 he founded The Be An Artist Program, a series of school based creativity and songwriting workshops has been presented across the United States and Europe. SongwritingWith, which uses the power of collaborative songwriting to help tell the stories of participants, has worked in homeless shelters, conflict resolution, and in South Africa and Botswana to help tell the stories of those affected by HIV and AIDS. He has released fourteen albums, written a symphony and produced radio documentaries.
Smith’s latest CD, Love Calling, was released September 2013 on Compass Records.