This week I learned that even swanky France has splashy, trashy, reality TV. I mean, it never dawned on me that most European countries have their own version of The Voice until musician Erin Smith mentioned it to me. France’s show Les Anges happens to jet set to Oahu, and they ensnared Smith into their reality plot. That’s not the only videos she’s been working on, either. Somehow I was able to track her down–between workouts, vocal coaching, cameras and rehearsals–and get all the details.
MAUITIME: How are things settling in for the Erin Smith Band?
ERIN SMITH: It feels like the band has started a new chapter. We’ve been working together since about 2013. I feel like it took me a while to wrap up the end of one chapter and kick into the next. Now it feels like that chapter is in full swing. We’re really kicking it into gear. We’re up for a Na Hoku Hanohano Award for alternative album this year. We’re going to perform at the 39th annual Na Hoku Hanohano Awards on May 28. We have the Brewers Festival at the MACC on Maui this weekend. We have projects like our videos which have been doing great. We’re getting traction from the Mainland on our newest video release of “Love Long Distance.” And I also filmed a reality TV show.
MT: What was that like?
ES: It’s so reality TV. They set it up to be super dramatic and I am not a dramatic person. It’s a show called Les Anges and it’s really popular in France. The contestants on this show were all former French The Voice contestants. They pulled them together and took them to Hawaii for part of it. They put me on the show and my song “Chances.” We have one of the girls sing in the studio with me working on an alternate version of the song. I was vocal coaching with the French girls. It was really great exposure because I get about a million views and episode. They had me on about four episodes, and they kicked off this season with Snoop Dogg, too.
MT: You, “not dramatic?” What about that passionate kiss at the end of your newly released video for “Love Long Distance?”
ES: I love that my boyfriend Keith Verrier is in the video! The directors thought the kiss was too steamy and I’m like, “No, it’s good the way it is.”
MT: Ok, so you weren’t acting in that instance. How did you end up choosing drone footage and surf scenes for this vid?
ES: Josh Almario and Valen Ahlo are the directors. I initially reached out to Valen because I love his drone camera footage, and I really wanted some great aerial Oahu shots in the video. We had this concept of having a love letter being delivered from person to person, with the aerial views being of the band playing at the top of one of Waikiki’s buildings. But the storyboarding and casting alone for that was exhausting me before we even started. We decided to focus on Kailua and make it more of a “day in the life” type of video.
It was fun to have the guys in the band, Josh Guerra (drums), Matthew McPherson (guitar) and Gunso Kawai (bass) surfing. That was my favorite part. Oh and that sparkly blue ombre dress I got to wear in the video. I love that dress.
MT: Your video for the song “Hardly” was filmed in Lahaina. It was so girly! How did that happen?
ES: The “Hardly” video we shot with Gordo Flores from Axiom Media Pro. They’re based on the Mainland but he and his wife grew up on Maui and they know [Throwdowns members] Kimo [Clark] and Ola [Shaw] really well. Gordo came up with the concept because he thought the stop-motion would be cool, and he wanted to integrate the fashion part of my persona, which I loved!
He’s really talented. They would throw a dress at me, and it would hit me in the face, then I would have to change into it. Then come back and spin around. It was total magic in the editing world.
MT: Do you miss Maui?
ES: I miss it’s particular beauty – Maui is so unique! I love the ease of the lifestyle mixed with the easy glam trips to fancy resorts. All that kind of thing is more of a production on Oahu. I have good friends on Maui, some whom I’ve been close with for 10 years and I love getting to see them!! Maui has always been so supportive of me, and press, radio and the MACC staff are all included in that.
For me, Oahu has afforded me a whole new direction and has expanded things so much for me, in music, music production and fashion. Keith and I have such a good life, living in our cottage on Oahu, it’s just unreal. It was definitely an adjustment moving to Oahu, but I’m so thankful for everything I have, every day. Including the opportunity to bring my band to Maui to rock Brewfest!
Catch Erin Smith and her band this weekend at the Maui Brewers Festival and at the Na Hoku Hanohano awards on May 28.
Photo by Tony Novak Clifford