What’s the difference between planning an album release concert and planning a wedding? According to local talent Myra Smith, they are one in the same. The 31-year-old powerhouse vocalist has done both, and is currently reaping the seeds of love sown in both occasions.
Over 400 people came out to support the Undying Love Album Release Concert on February 18 at the Attucks Theatre in Norfolk. Equipped with her band, the Myra Smith Experience, they took the audience through an enjoyable and heartfelt performance.
“Singing is like breathing. It’s a part of me.” Smith said.
Smith was born in Germany and moved to the Hampton Roads area when she was a teenager. Raised by churchgoing parents, Smith was only exposed to gospel music until she became an adult. Her current musical influences include Mary Mary, Ledisi, and Beyoncé. She currently works full-time as an independent living counselor for youth who were formerly in the foster care system.
Smith is a multi-faceted artist with an album that ranges from r&b/soul to jazz to gospel. “Dream” is a song about overcoming adversity that is encouraging and relatable. The current single, “Make Me Feel Good,” is an infectious r&b groove that demands her lover to pay attention to her like old times. Smith describes “Sing to Me” as a jazzy lullaby. It was also one of the first songs she recorded for the album.
“When I went in the studio, I turned off all the lights and did the vocal arrangement myself. It was simple and beautiful.” Smith said.
Smith met her wife, Tiffany Wright, in 2008 at the long-standing open mic night called Fuzzy Wednesdays. They shared an instant attraction as she sang on stage.
“She was everything I had been praying about.” Smith said. “Before then, I never felt safe. Since Tiffany came into my life, I felt protected.”
Two years and an engagement later, they exchanged vows in Washington D.C. one month after gay marriage was legalized in the nation’s capital.
“We set up an appointment for April 16, which was also Emancipation Day. The courthouse was supposed to be closed, but they allowed us to come. We were the only ones in the building. We were so thrilled.” Smith said.
Although her family did not support her marriage at first, she was not alone in the slightest. “I had a strong LGBT following. When I felt like I had no one, I saw a family in them.” Smith said.
Smith is the first African-American woman to have an album release concert at the historical theatre. She is currently promoting Undying Love across the Hampton Roads area, and also went to Atlanta last month, gaining more fans. She also plans to go to New York, Richmond, and Washington, D.C. later this year.
You can purchase Undying Love on iTunes, experiencemyrasmith.com, and also at event venues where she will be performing, which are also located on her website.