Tom Smith (musician)

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Tom Smith
13-08-09 Taubertal Editors Tom Smith 3.JPG
Tom Smith at Taubertal Festival 2013
Background information
Birth nameThomas Michael Henry Smith
Born (1981-04-29) 29 April 1981 (age 38)
Northampton, England
GenresIndie rock, post-punk revival, alternative rock, electronic rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, piano, keyboards
Years active2002–present
Associated actsEditors, Magnus, The Japanese Popstars, Tired Pony, Andy Burrows, Indochine

Thomas Michael Henry Smith (born 29 April 1981) is an English musician, who is the lead vocalist, lyricist, keyboard player and rhythm guitarist for the Birmingham-based indie rock band Editors.

In 2014, the Daily Mirror published a list of singers with largest vocal ranges in the UK. Statistics were based on sheet music data from, a website with over 260,000 sheet music arrangements. With his vocal range of 4.75 octaves, Smith topped the list, beating singers like Elton John, Robert Plant or Freddie Mercury.[1]


Born in Northampton, Smith grew up in Stroud, Gloucestershire[2] and attended Woodchester Endowed Primary School, where he learned to play the guitar under the guidance of his headteacher.[citation needed] He later attended Archway School, where his parents, John Smith and Sylvia Smith now work as physics and chemistry teachers.

He later studied music technology at Staffordshire University where he met the members whom he would later form Editors with.

After a number of name changes and preluding singles, Editors released their debut album The Back Room on 25 July 2005, to critical acclaim. The album included singles such as "Bullets", "Munich" and "Blood". The warm reception of the album was exemplified by the band's nomination for the Mercury Prize in 2006.

When Smith lost his voice during the 2006 SXSW concert, the band had to cancel the last song of their first gig.[3]

An equally well received sophomore album, An End Has a Start, followed on 25 June 2007, which included singles such as "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" and the eponymous track.

In July 2008, he contributed a cover of "Bonny" (by Prefab Sprout) for the UK edition of the Independents Day charity album.

Editors released their third album In This Light and on This Evening on 12 October 2009, which marked a stylistic transition to a more electronic-influenced sound. Smith explained the band's change in direction by saying: "If we'd tried to make another more traditional guitar record, I don't think we'd have got through it... for our own sanity, we had to do something we hadn't done before."[4] He also revealed that the heavily synthesised and industrial feel of the album had evolved in a recording session that took place in 2008, before they settled on Flood as a producer.[4]

Smith has collaborated with a number of artists, including Cicada on the songs "Executive" and "Talking" from their 2009 album Roulette, the song "The Good Book" by Tired Pony on the 2010 album The Place We Ran From. In 2011, Smith contributed vocals for songs "Joshua" by Northern Irish electronic band The Japanese Popstars and "The Fall" by London/Manchester progressive house project Raized by Wolves. In 2012, he worked with the French band Indochine for the song "The Lovers" on their album Black City Parade; in 2013, he contributed vocals for the song "Lux Lisbon" by German rapper Casper on his album Hinterland; and in 2014, Belgian dance project Magnus teamed up with Smith for their song "Singing Man", which was the lead single from their second album Where Neon Goes To Die.

In October 2011, Smith announced that he was collaborating with his good friend Andy Burrows (from I Am Arrows, We Are Scientists and Razorlight) under the moniker Smith & Burrows.[5] Their album Funny Looking Angels was released on 25 November 2011. In December 2011, Smith & Burrows played a number of shows throughout Europe. Smith also provided backing vocals to the lead single from the second Andy Burrows' solo album Company, "Keep On Moving On". Smith also sang in Burrows' track "Watch Me Fall Again" from his third album Fall Together Again (2014).[6]

Smith performed a solo show in February 2012 in Brussels, Belgium where he sang old and new Editors songs.

Editors released their fourth studio album The Weight of Your Love on 28 June 2013, after a hiatus and the departure of guitarist Chris Urbanowicz in 2012. On the first recording sessions of the album, Smith stated that it had been "a long, hard couple of years and it got pretty dark because whenever we tried creating new songs it wasn’t good enough. Chris's heart wasn’t in it any more. For a year, we'd leave rehearsals feeling very negative and uninspired."[7] Smith also said that "I've talked for a long time about my love of American bands like R.E.M. and Arcade Fire, and that's the type of sound our new songs are going towards. They're more straightforward than our last album. That was more experimental, whereas the new songs could be played on an acoustic guitar. I don't know what a hit is any more, but these songs feel very classic and immediate."[8] The album was mostly recorded live. Regarding the sound of the album, lead singer Tom Smith stated that it "[has] a foot in that alt rock/Americana world" and that it feels "untouchable at times".[9] Lyrically, the album focuses on "love songs... that don't adhere to the traditional love song type". Smith explained, "If I ever find myself writing something too straightforward, I try to twist it, so it ends up odd and baffling."[7]

The following album, In Dream, was released on 2 October 2015. According to Smith, the record was driven by a belief that "music can be both pop and experimental."[10] "It feels like a progression from our third record. It was very electronic, but I feel like the last record had to be a guitar record to prove to ourselves that we could be a band,"[11] says Smith. "To us, it's interesting if it has a darkness. Whatever that is. On the lyric side of things, if I was singing about dancefloors or happier or rosier things, it wouldn't ring true for me. I don't think you need to be sad to write a sad song, everybody has a dark side."[12]

Editors released their album Violence on 9 March 2018.

Personal life[edit]

He lives in London with his wife, former BBC Radio 1 DJ Edith Bowman whom he married on 22 December 2013.[13] They have been in a relationship since 2005[14] and have two sons, Rudy Brae Bowman Smith (born 10 June 2008)[15] and Spike Bowman Smith (born February 2013).

Smith is an avid Arsenal F.C. supporter. He also has friendships with fellow musicians such as Guy Garvey of Elbow and Andy Burrows, the latter of whom he collaborated with on the album Funny Looking Angels in 2011.[16]

Musical style and influences[edit]

Smith's vocal style has been compared to that of post-punk singers such as Ian Curtis of Joy Division, Paul Banks of Interpol, Robert Smith of The Cure and Michael Stipe of R.E.M.. Smith's vocal range is baritone, but he uses falsetto to reach higher notes. His use of falsetto was prominent on Editors' third album, In This Light and on This Evening. He mainly uses Gibson ES-335 when playing guitar,[17] whilst also playing a Fender Telecaster Custom. Smith has stated that most of Editors' music begins with him composing on his piano or his acoustic guitar.[18]

As a teenager Smith listened to Britpop, including the albums Definitely Maybe and Parklife by Oasis and Blur respectively. Because of these musical influences, Smith stated "Suddenly, all I wanted to do was to be in a band,", "I learned to play the guitar by playing those records."[17]

In 2006, Smith stated that Murmur by R.E.M. was his favourite album of all time. Editors drummer, Edward Lay concurred in an interview in Winter 2005, saying, "Tom's favourite album is R.E.M.'s Murmur, so they were his favourite band whilst growing up and I think they've always maintained a certain cool vibe about everything they've released. They haven't sold out at all, so they're big influences not just in songwriting, but the way they've protected themselves as musicians and as a band."[19] He has also expressed admiration for performers such as Bruce Springsteen, describing him as "a legendary artist who's still got that magic he started with", Mogwai (a favourite since he was a teenager), Prefab Sprout and Peter Gabriel, despite overcoming initial skepticism that Gabriel was "music for your dad".[16]

Humanitarian efforts[edit]

Smith's Converse All-Stars basketball shoes, worn at 2007's V Festival, went on sale on internet site eBay in a charity auction to raise money for MAG (Mines Advisory Group). They raised £52; slightly more than the RRP for a new pair.[20]

In April 2011, Smith ran the London Marathon along with band-mate Russell Leetch. They raised over £10,000 for Oxfam.


With Andy Burrows


  1. ^ "Which singer has the best vocal range in the UK?". Daily Mirror. 26 September 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  2. ^ Simpson, Dave (22 June 2007). "Violently happy". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  3. ^ Stellastarr Upcoming Concert Reviews of the Editors, Metric and More... Archived 7 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine Cincinnati CityBeat, 12 April 2007. Accessed 24 October 2007
  4. ^ a b "Tom Smith reveals why The Editors have taken a different route". Retrieved 20 September 2008.
  5. ^ "Tom Smith / Andy Burrows Team Up". Clash Magazine. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  6. ^ "Musicians Andy Burrows and Tom Smith on their special relationship". Paste Magazine. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  7. ^ a b Carr, Kim (19 December 2012). "Simply The Best 7 Days A Week :: Playlist :: Editors were rocked". Daily Star.
  8. ^ "Editors finally ready to record fourth album - NME". 23 December 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "EDITORS ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM IN DREAM". XFM. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  11. ^ "EDITOR'S TRACK BY TRACK GUIDE TO IN DREAM". Gigwise. 29 September 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  12. ^ "EDITORS: 'EVERYBODY HAS A DARK SIDE'". Gigwise. 29 September 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  13. ^ Lyons, Beverley (26 December 2013). "Radio 1 DJ Edith Bowman marries Editors frontman Tom Smith in secret festive ceremony". Daily Record. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  14. ^ "Festival Queen Edith Bowman gets down and dirty". Daily Mail. 12 May 2007. Retrieved 27 January 2008.
  15. ^ "BBC – Newsbeat – Entertainment – DJ Edith Bowman has baby boy". BBC News. 10 June 2008. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  16. ^ a b Swash, Rosie (17 September 2007). "Peter Gabriel is not just music for your dad". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  17. ^ a b Vaziri, Aidin Gibson Recommends Editors An End Has a Start Archived 23 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine 11 October 2007. Accessed 24 October 2007
  18. ^ Editors Guadalajara (16 January 2018). "Editors - Tom Smith interview on NME Live Q&A". YouTube. Retrieved 16 April 2018.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  19. ^ "Editors – Manchester, UK – Winter 2005 Meeting in the Back Room". Archived from the original on 10 June 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2009.
  20. ^ "EDITORS – Popworld". Archived from the original on 14 October 2007. Retrieved 15 September 2008.

External links[edit]