Born: December 14, 1974 Primary Instrument: Drums
Ira Nathaniel Nate Smith (b. December 14, 1974) is an American drummer, composer, songwriter and producer.
Born and raised in Chesapeake, Virginia, his musical talent became apparent early on. After high school, he went on to earn a percussion performance scholarship and pursued his musical studies at James Madison University, where he received a B.S. in Media Arts and Design in 1997. After college, he was invited to continue his studies at Virginia Commonwealth University as a member of the Carpenter Fellowship Program.
While still in college, Nate was recruited by the great jazz singer Betty Carter to participate in her esteemed Jazz Ahead program, which has produced an impressive list of alumni including Jason Moran, Cyrus Chestnut, Jacky Terrason, and Casey Benjamin, among many others. In graduate school he met and performed with the legendary jazz bassist and composer Dave Holland. He continued to perform occasionally with Dave over the next few years, finally joining his GRAMMY-award winning Quintet and Big Band in 2003. In early 2004, he joined saxophonist Chris Potter's group Chris Potter Underground, and has since recorded three albums with the outfit. Since then, he has gone on to play or record with an array of fantastic jazz artists, including: Randy Brecker, Ravi Coltrane, Nicholas Payton, Chris Potter, John Pattituci, Adam Rogers, Regina Carter and Lionel Loueke. Recently, Mr. Smith signed on to do a 35-city US/European tour with pop singer Joe Jackson, which began Sept 15, 2012. He's already made a national TV appearance on NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and he's scheduled to appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno as well as Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel with Mr. Jackson later this fall. He's also featured as a sideman on forthcoming releases from Blue Note Records (Jose James' No Beginning No End to be released early 2013) and Half Note Records (Randy Brecker POP record release TBD). He will also be featured in the October 2012 issue of Modern Drummer magazine, on newsstands and online.
As a record producer, he's worked on many albums, the most noteworthy of which were with Michael Jackson and Teddy Riley on the song Heaven Can Wait on Mr. Jackson's Invincible (Epic, 2001) album. He recently formed his own production company, Waterbaby Music, Inc., and released his first EP, Workday: Waterbaby Music, Vol. 1.0. For more information about Mr. Smith's production and songwriting, please visit wwaterbabymusic.com.
Nate Smith currently lives and works in New York City.