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Published:December 31st, 2007 15:25 EST
Judyth Piazza chats with Alina Smith, Singer/Songwriter

Judyth Piazza chats with Alina Smith, Singer/Songwriter

By Judyth Piazza CEO (Editor)

Alina Smith didn`t grow up listening to R&B. Still, the 19-year old singer/songwriter, steeped in classical music during her childhood in Europe, undeniably has soul. Blending genres like Soul, R&B and Pop, the artist and her music are far from the ordinary.

Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia. Mother was a teacher and an actress who also sang opera. Alina was a prodigy. At 2, she could read and write. At 3, she started singing. By 4, she spoke English and began painting. Writing poetry and stories at 5. A happy child, but not without the need to escape the harsh reality of Russia. It`s a tough, dangerous place to grow up, " " she confides.

At 6, Alina had a choice between a scholarship to a renowned music academy and a prized invitation to the famed Vaganovsky Ballet School. Ultimately, the decision in favor of a musical education was made. While at the academy, she was the youngest singer ever invited into the prestigious choir Aurora " and the only one honored with solo performances; touring Europe with songs in Russian, French, German, Spanish and Latin. By 13 it was apparent that Alina`s writing skills were beginning to blossom, because she had just finished her first novel.

By 14, she had already started composing and performing original music. Having exposure to little other then Russian Pop and Folk music, she struggled to create her identity as an artist. Michael Jackson was an epiphany. I was obsessed, " she laughs. I`d put on a tape of his videos, throw on a guy`s suit and jump around, thinking that I could dance like him! " (truth be told, her moonwalk is spot on!). In a way it was MJ who brought Alina together with her husband, Brad.

While planning a trip to St. Petersburg, he came across Alina`s web-site. Possessing a signed book of the star`s sheet music, and reading Alina`s raves, Brad decided that the book was for her. When we met, he gave it to me as a Birthday present. I loved the gift, but I ended up loving the man who brought it much more. The moment I saw Brad, I knew that I would marry him! "

Alina`s life changed dramatically upon moving to America. Barely in the States a matter of months, she had formed, written songs for and helped choreograph a trio named Enspyre ". She performed with it nearly a year before taking off on a solo career. Her creativity flourished by being exposed to different genres of music - how many songwriters count influences from Aretha Franklin to Tchaikovsky? - and her original catalog now has over 100 compositions.

Alina is fast gaining recognition. Clips on Youtube and MySpace have gained an impressive half million hits and a growing fan base. Alina especially connects with live audiences. In a multi-round competition at a major Las Vegas talent show, she won first place. After open mic performances at Ashford & Simpson`s Sugar Bar in New York, the club`s owners honored Alina by inviting her to return as a regular. She`s also been invited to play anytime at the Mint in Los Angeles. With her debut EP Piano & Sax, " Alina joyfully shares her feelings about love, men and life.

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