Nate Smith + KINFOLK

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 at the age of
eleven, after picking up the drums and learning to play the piano by ear. 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. 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. After college, he was invited to continue his studies at Virginia
Commonwealth University as a member of the Carpenter Fellowship Program. 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 ensemble. Since then, he has gone on to play or
record with an array of fantastic and diverse artists, including: Ravi Coltrane, Jose
James, Nicholas Payton, John Pattituci, Adam Rogers, Regina Carter, Mark de
Clive-Lowe and Lionel Loueke. In 2012, Mr. Smith did a 35-City US/Europe tour with
pop songwriting legend Joe Jackson. He has appeared on The Today Show, Late Night
with Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with David Letterman and Conan. He was
featured in the October 2012 issue of Modern Drummer magazine, and a full-length web
interview with iDrum magazine.

Mr. Smith is also an esteemed educator, having served on the faculty of Betty Carter
Jazz Ahead at The Kennedy Center 2013 and 2014 as well as The 2014 Thailand
International Jazz Conference. In March 2015, he will be the featured Artist-In-
Residence at his alma mater James Madison University.

Regarding his new project, KINFOLK, Mr. Smith says “In conceiving this project, I
wanted to focus on creating the material with very few ingredients; just improvising at the
drums or piano or singing ideas into a voice recorder, focusing primarily on rhythm and
melody. I want to see what other ingredients the players or singers would bring to the
material. I’m interested in a true band sound: I want to know how the musicians will color,
shape, and season the raw ingredients, and how to pull all of those pieces together to a

Mr. Smith is also an accomplished R&B/Pop songwriter and producer, and in 2009 he
formed his own production company, Waterbaby Music, Inc. For more information
about Mr. Smith’s music, please visit www.waterbabymusic.com.

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