Paige Smith is a singer and songwriter keen to hit the big time. The 17-year-old Hoppers Crossing resident tells Charlene Macaulay about focusing on music full-time, her band Direct Current and plans to release an album next year.
What is your connection to Wyndham?
I’ve lived here my whole life. We’ve moved houses a fair bit, but always around Wyndham. I remember as a kid going to all the festivals across Wyndham, like Weerama.
What sparked your interest in music?
From a young age, I was always going to watch anything to do with music. Mum sang a little bit when she was younger, but it was more something that I got into as a hobby. I did a bit of singing in primary school, in a choir, and it just built from there. I did singing lessons for about a year, and then I started playing guitar. I also play piano.
You dropped out of high school to focus on your music. How did you come to that decision, and what did your parents say?
I left at the end of year 10 to make music my full-time priority, rather than sharing my energy between school and music. I joined an artist development program, which is run by Steve Jaz at the Universal School of Music, to develop myself and be able to manage myself, rather than have someone do that for me. It wasn’t a hard decision. My parents were supportive – they told me that I had to put 100 per cent of my time and effort into it.
What’s a typical week like for you?
It’s all about music. I have the main things I do every day of the week – practising guitar, singing and piano – and I’ve been running a few events recently, so I’ve got to do flyers and promotions for that. Wednesday is my meeting day, and I go and communicate with people in my team – that is, people who are also doing the artist development program – and we workshop what we’ve been doing. Weekends normally tend to be gigs, and there’s also rehearsals and stuff. We normally do one to two gigs a week.
You perform both as a solo artist, and with a band, Direct Current. Tell us about the band.
We’ve been together for just over a year now, and we’re at the stage where we’ve just started to work on original material. We’ve been playing a lot of covers, and that’s how we’ve built our reputation as a band, but we’re hoping to get an album written by the middle of next year.
What, or who, inspires you?
Taylor Swift was my first big inspiration. I went to her concert after I first started singing – it was the first concert I ever went to – and I could see myself on that stage, and I could see myself playing that guitar and singing. As I’ve gotten a bit older, it’s changed a little bit. She’s still one of my biggest inspirations, but I’m looking more at female rock artists and how they change society. One of my other big inspirations is Stevie Nicks.
What’s the music scene like in Wyndham, and across the western suburbs?
It’s pretty good around here. It can be hard for young artists getting gigs. A lot of people think that because you’re young, you’re not experienced, and in that sense it’s hard. But there’s a lot of activities and opportunities for young ones here too. We’ve built a reputation now – we’ve played at different venues.