Nate Smith (musician)

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Nate Smith
Smith in 2017
Smith in 2017
Background information
Birth nameIra Nathaniel Smith
Born (1974-12-14) December 14, 1974 (age 49)
Chesapeake, Virginia, United States

Ira Nathaniel Smith (born December 14, 1974) is an American drummer, songwriter, producer, and three-time Grammy nominee.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Smith was born in Chesapeake, Virginia, and started playing drums at age 11, initially influenced by rock and funk music. At 16, he developed an interest in jazz after listening to Album of the Year by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Smith studied media art and design at James Madison University.[2][3] While at James Madison, he performed at the Conference of the International Association for Jazz Education in Atlanta, where he met Betty Carter, who invited him to joint performances at the Blue Note in New York City.[4] Smith went to graduate school at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he met Dave Holland and joined Holland's quintet in 2003.[2] Smith appears on the albums Critical Mass (2005) and Pathways (2009).[5] In 2017, he released his first album as leader, Kinfolk: Postcards from Everywhere on Ropeadope Records.[2][6] In 2018 Smith cowrote and performed in the self-titled, debut EP release from the Vulfpeck spin-off group 'The Fearless Flyers', later going on a US tour with the group and releasing a second such EP in 2019.[7]

Smith has composed soundtracks for broadcast documentaries on Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel.[2][4] He co-wrote and produced the Michael Jackson song "Heaven Can Wait".[3]


As leader[edit]

  • Workday, Waterbaby Music Vol. 1 (Waterbaby Music, 2008)
  • Kinfolk: Postcards from Everywhere (Ropeadope, 2017)
  • Pocket Change (Waterbaby Music, 2018)
  • Light and Shadow (Waterbaby Music, 2020)
  • Kinfolk 2: See the Birds (Edition Records, 2021)
  • Pocket Change 2: Mad Currency (Waterbaby Music, 2023)

As sideman[edit]

With Robin Eubanks

  • Klassik Rock Vol. 1 (ArtistShare, 2014)
  • More Than Meets the Ear (ArtistShare, 2015)

With Dave Holland

With Jose James

  • Love in a Time of Madness (Blue Note, 2017)
  • Lean on Me (Blue Note, 2018)

With Chris Potter

With others


Nate endorses Zildjian cymbals, Ludwig drums, Vic firths sticks/mallets/beaters, and Evans drumheads.


  1. ^ "Grammy Awards – Nate Smith". Archived from the original on May 2, 2018. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Thom Jurek. "Allmusic: Nate Smith – biography". Archived from the original on March 28, 2018. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Natalie Weiner (January 6, 2017). "Nate Smith Debuts 'Pages' With Gretchen Parlato & Talks About the Song He Wrote for Michael Jackson". Billboard. Archived from the original on January 7, 2017. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Drummerworld: Nate Smith". Archived from the original on February 6, 2018. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  5. ^ "Allmusic: Nate Smith – credits". Archived from the original on April 2, 2018. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  6. ^ Shannon J. Effinger (October 17, 2016). "Q&A with Drummer Nate Smith: From Many Voices, One Sound". DownBeat. Archived from the original on April 2, 2018. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  7. ^ "The Fearless Flyers on Apple Music".

External links[edit]