Even though many artists affirm that breakup or enduring hardships are the most inspiring experiences for their music, singer-songwriter Waiting for Smith begs to differ. Instead of focusing on the negatives or vacuous stuff like superficial and monetary success, the British up-and-coming artist is putting an effort into lifting his listeners’ spirits by bringing them joy through his music. From that positive outlook on life emerges his debut album, Raised Up, out today. Comprised of ten feel-good songs, the record cements Waiting for Smith as a powerful, necessary voice in today’s overcrowded music industry.
Speaking of the album, Waiting for Smith says: “I feel this LP can help reduce your anxiety and feelings of unworthiness, and I really want it to increase your happiness, increase your feelings of positivity, and raise you up to a state of vibrational joy—like it has for me. As someone who has experienced a lot of pain – both mentally and physically, from breaking my back to overcoming severe mental health struggles and dying for five minutes only to come out the other side to feel joy most days –, I want to share this message of joy that I’ve found with others: my family, friends, my love, my listeners, and really anyone I meet.” Such a beautiful statement. But not as beautiful as the music he’s put out.
Before today’s release, we already had a taste of singles like Small Things, Nature’s Mind, Let Light In, or Raised Up, the song that gives the album its title. Reflecting on it, the singer said that he considered it “a ceremonial song, an ancient idea of gathering together round a fire to eat, laugh, rejoice, and share medicine.” This healing quality that he mentions pervades the entire LP, with songs that are able to lift someone up even if they’re feeling really down. Arguably, Feel Ya Flow is one of the best at achieving so: it’s fast-paced, spirited, and even funny. But so is Let Light In, the opener, with uplifting lyrics like: “Well, I hope the music finds you / When you’re in your dark days / The weather it gets better if you let her / If you let light in.”
There are other songs that feel like mantras, making them more meditative. For example, the chorus in Some Words really sounds like an affirmation: “I’m beautiful, I’m save, I’m loved, I’m actually free / I don’t need to be no one else / I just need to be me.” Once again, Waiting for Smith focuses on the idea that we’re all perfect the way we are but also aiming to become better versions of ourselves. Or in Lightness In You, he sings: “Be light, be light, be light, be kind / There’s no negative in truth / There’s a lightness in you.” 
With an acoustic, minimal production of just a few instruments – guitars, pianos, some percussion –, the album’s sound sits at the crossroads of folk and pop. And it’s probably the perfect way to convey this message of lightness, light-heartedness, and kindness. Not too acoustic to make it super dramatic, and not over-produced to make it feel less authentic. In that core balance lies Waiting for Smith’s genius.