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"A FANTASTIC SHOW" [...] "VERSATILITY is the name of the game for Smith when it comes to performances. During the show he switched from keyboard to acoustic guitar to violin, depending on the song. His songs ran the gamut from hard to soft, fast to slow, soft to loud."
“Recorded in a full band setting, “Dragons In The Sky” is a well-rounded collection with a few unexpected twists and turns. The first surprise comes on track one, which swings and struts like a Scissor Sisters cut, with Smith effortlessly hitting the high notes on the chorus. It brings a smile to the face and gets the feet involuntarily stirring [...] The record’s more introspective passages are equally impressive, and the pairing of “Kings and Crowns” and “If Only You” providing the prime example. The former builds to a thrilling conclusion, with a piano adding colour and depth, and the latter is probably Smith’s finest vocal, and indicates a talent for Coldplay-esque ballads.”
"Utilizing AJ Smith’s majestic vocal line with slow-burning builds of militant drum work and beautifully orchestrated synths, DubVision’s remix may not bring anything new to the table but makes for yet another solid addition to their back catalogue." Read more: http://www.beatmyday.com/2013/02/01/royaal-venuto-summertime-dubvision-remix/#ixzz2KVvjOkcj
"A.J. Smith, a senior studying music composition from Washington, D.C., said Frey helped focus the students on the songwriting process and the idea that all parts of their songs “should be something someone can feel and appreciate.” He also said Frey noted that the Eagles even tried to make their guitar solos “sing-able” — thus the reason almost everyone knows the final minutes of the song “Hotel California,” a surefire highlight of Thursday night’s show."
" In advance of the gala, benefiting the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at N.Y.U., [Glenn Frey] met with three students from MPATC 2090, a songwriters’ forum and a core seminar in the university’s new songwriting program. A.J. Smith, a senior majoring in music composition, was ready to shuttle back and forth between his keyboard and his violin."
“AJ has redoubled his focus on songwriting as a profession thanks to the guidance of his teacher, composer Herschel Garfein as well as songwriters Alex Forbes, Billy Seidman, and Phil Galdston. Whether inking in clever hip-hop rhymes or penning heart-wrenching blues melodies, AJ hopes to develop into an “any genre” professional songwriter...”
"Striving for 'Best Show'" - "It’s been fun watching him grow up from playing around on the piano to getting a scholarship from the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame," his sister Sarah Smith said. "He’s creating music that’s so mature, and speaks to such a large population, because he’s able to convey so many emotions successfully."
“Smith’s “go for it” attitude earned him the Best Solo Performer award at the contest. In 2005, an 18-year-old student named Stefani Germanotta won third place in the same competition. Today, Germanotta is better known as Lady Gaga. Dan Rickmers of NYU Local wrote that Smith put together a “song on the spot, looping multiple instruments together in a really innovative way compared to many of the other acts.””