On March 23, 1998 Elliott Smith walks up on the stage of the Kodak Theatre to perform his song ‘Miss Misery’ from the film ‘Good Will Hunting’. 5 years 7 months later, the musician is found dead in Los Angeles, CA. The rumors claim that Smith had stabbed himself numerous times in his chest. The music, Smith left behind him reflects the tragic death in many ways. We don’t know much about Smith and his deeper thought, the only proof of his emotional journey through life is what we hear from his music, that lives on with us to today.
Elliott Smith was born in Nebraska and later moved to Duncanville, near Dallas in Texas where he was partly raised. After moving to Portland, Oregon, Smith wrote his first songs at the age of 14. He became a member of the band Heatmiser and debuted in 1993 with an EP called ‘Dead Air’. One year later a terrific solo career took it’s start as Smith released his first full length album, ‘Roman Candle’. It was not until 1997, at his third album release with ‘Either/Or’ that Smith reached the main room of the musical independent industry.
Smith’s dark, emotional music had great influences from as well as Nick Drake, as his lifetime idols ‘The Beatles’. What he came to discover was and give his fans was a deep view, that reflects around life and the larger meanings of it. Picked up by Gus Van Sant in 1997 for the movie production of ‘Good Will Hunting’, Smith’s ‘Miss Misery’ was nominated for best original song at the 1998’s Academy Award.
As far as we know, Smith was suffering from a serious depression, which reflected through his music. And after have releasing ‘XO’ in 1998 and one of the heavier, more emotional albums Figure 8’, Smith started working on what came to be his lifetime project called ‘From a Basement on a Hill’.
Elliott Smith never got see his finished project due to a suspected suicide in Los Angeles on October 21, 2003. The murder/suicide is still to this day unsolved and the investigation is yet until this day open. What we know of Smith is not much, a shy person with deep thought of life has left behind us more than we know. Many like to think that Smith’s music reflects his emotions, he is therefore one of the first and most original true talents in the em/folk/alternative genres that has received that huge of success. The music of Smith is phenomenal, the beauty, sentimental depth is something we find in many musicians today. The truth of emotional music with the basic simple tools of acoustic strings and a piano is the truest we will get inside the musical genius of Elliot Smith.