Aaron Nigel Smith is a musical star shining bright for the empowerment of youth through music, literature and art. Aaron’s personal history, extensive music training and societal contributions are unique. Yet, his story has rarely been told.
Aaron was raised by his grandmother in Pontiac, Michigan. Acknowledging his love for singing, she enrolled him in a boarding school in New Jersey where he secured a robust foundation in music education and choral training. He quickly immersed in the principles of classical music leading to prestigious performances at the Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and other well esteemed venues. His diligence won a four year high school scholarship to the Interlochen Arts Academy in northern Michigan (http://www.interlochen.org/), where he continued expanding his musical studies.
Studies at Interlochen Arts Academy provided more than a profound singing education. It was there Aaron met his future wife and business partner, Deidre. Towards the end of high school, a friend shared Bob Marley’s ‘Natty Dread’ tape igniting a deep curiosity in his African culture and Rastafari principles. Enamored by Bob’s social activism and Rasta livity, Aaron began to grow dreadlocks.
After completing High School, Aaron transferred to college at the distinguished Manhattan School of Music in New York. He received a comprehensive study of classical music in a predominately white environment. After college, Aaron joined an African American Negro Spiritual chorus called the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers and began touring the world. After the birth of his first child, Aaron suspended touring to focus on the responsibilities of family. He moved to Los Angeles and began teaching music to preschool children. He recorded five children’s CDs and developed a structured curriculum known as the “Fundamentals of Music and Movement.” This curriculum was utilized by corporate day care centers supported by Sony, Paramount, Warner Brothers and Universal Studios.
In 2009, Aaron and Deidre established the non-profit organization 1 World Chorus (http://www.oneworldchorus.org/) incorporating voices of more than 300 students from Oregon, New York, Kenya and Jamaica into a worldwide song of peace. 1 World Chorus was set up with a mission to build international bridges through the singing and drumming of children from multi-nations. In 2012, 1 World Chorus released their first album “Welcome to the Village” followed by a second album “Celebrating Bob Marley.” Both albums received the People’s Choice Awards, and were chosen as the best children’s release by People Magazine and USA Today. A percentage of profits from these projects are donated to the Cure Rotary Home in Kenya, an orphanage for children from HIV infected families. (https://www.curaorphanage.org/about)
1 World Drumming (https://youtu.be/JGCP7z7AAiU)
Aaron’s successful reputation as a beloved music teacher for young children caught the attention of Ziggy and Orly Marley. Aaron was invited to provide a weekly music class at their home for sons, Gideon and Judah. Since that time, Ziggy and Aaron have continued pursuing opportunities to support children’s musical activities including a project with the Bob Marley Foundation, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and Partners for Youth Empowerment (PYE) to fund the One Love Camp in the Tapioca Village in St. Mary, Jamaica. Ben and Jerry’s One Love flavored ice cream continues to raise money for the camp. (https://youtu.be/YEKR8AH07G4).
“The One Love Youth Camp has positively affected youth in Jamaica, providing social and interpersonal tools they can use throughout life” ~ Ziggy Marley
Aaron has continued with many projects that develop and expand children’s interests and talents in music. He organized an annual charity event originating in Portland, Oregon known as “Rox in Sox.” Socks, shoes and books are donated at the door and distributed to youth in Jamaica and Kenya. The festival features performances by some of the nations leading children’s musicians and authors. (www.roxinsox.org) The project has been so successful it has expanded to Las Vegas and Jamaica.
ONE with Dubtonic Kru (https://youtu.be/07XGD8GprWA)
After fifteen years working with children, Aaron has won many awards and accolades while receiving the love and adoration of many children, both nationally and internationally. He is respected by major players in the music and business world, and has raised awareness and support for children in need. In recent years Aaron launched into the adult reggae market with the single “More Love” taken from the upcoming album “In Our America.” His new album is produced by Jubba “Dubtonic Kru” White, of White Stone Productions. “In Our America” will be released in the near future.