TIME Magazine

It’s a sign of good songwriting that “Shake It Off” is as catchy in Taylor Swift’s head-bopping pop version as it is in a new retro take on the song by Postmodern Jukebox.

The video from the talented crew is filled with vintage glamour, Motown style and undeniably catchy harmonies courtesy of the back-up singers and horn section. Debonaire singer Von Smith belts out the tune, gleefully reminding the world that players are gonna play play play. Youtube poster and pianist Scott Bradlee accompanies him to deliver a jazzy rendition that will have you wanting to shake shake shaking it off on the dance floor (or at your desk).

The smooth remake of Swift’s song somehow manages to sound even more upbeat than the original. The retrofitting of the song is so seamless it’s easy to imagine that “Shake It Off” will be a jazz standard soon enough.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO!

Perez Hilton

Von was featured on Perez Hilton!

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Edge On The Net

Singer/songwriter Von Smith rose to public consciousness through appearances on YouTube and "The View," along with being a competitor on "American Idol" and "Opening Act" in which he was awarded the honor of opening for Lady Gaga during her Australian tour. A regular performer in the popular Los Angeles "For the Record" concert series, Smith has been dazzling audiences across the country with his stunning five octave range, soul-stirring performances, and all-around boy-next door goodness. While he’s had various songs recorded from his work on the "For the Record: Tarantino" soundtrack (which includes his jaw-dropping rendition of the classic Joe "Red" Hayes and Jack Rhodes song "Satisfied Mind"), as well as the single generated from his win on "Opening Act" called "Hopeless." So it’s thrilling to finally get a collection of his own material: "On to Something" 


And what a collection it is!

It’s hard to put in words how to describe Smith’s debut EP. It’s a combination of playful lyrics, complex melodies, and theatrical arrangements that are masterful. His music is an amalgamation of styles that can bring to mind a number of popular acts such as Muse, Queen, Mika, and even My Chemical Romance. That’s not to say he’s derivative of any of those bands. In fact, he takes the core of what makes them singular and twists them into a maniacally gleeful cornucopia of compositions that defies any true genre. It’s a delicate balance that makes the disc addictively fun.

In the opener "Carnival of Life" the proclaiming trumpets and circus-style beats are punctuated with a percussive vocal delivery that begs to be sung along to. "Oh don’t be so serious/lighten up, have a laugh, have a heart/When they’re digging your own grave/You don’t want them to say/you were always a lump from the start." Smith certainly frolics with a mischievousness that is also quite affirming. The song meanders through different styles making it almost of an overture for things to come. And the best is yet to.

The second track off the six-track EP is an infectious rouser called "Pilot Light" that delineates the struggle to move on from a bad relationship. "’Cause you’re only in it for the game/not in it for the same things/I want to be in my life/you wanna dance inside the glow till/it don’t glow no mo but/you’re about to blowout my/pilot light." The track is phenomenally well-structured with a roof-raising chorus punctuated by a mid-song speed-rap that puts Amy Renee Heidemann of Karmin to shame.

The EP’s third track "Almost Free" starts out as an acoustic heart-warmer that builds until the full range of Smith’s vocals are on display. Don’t let the handsome white boy exterior fool you. Dude’s got soul. And by the end of this track, your hands will be raised to the heavens proclaiming "glory be to the universe!"

The record’s most "pop-friendly" track still retains that carnival fun but weaves in a dash of Danny Elfman sparkle that make you feel like you’re gleefully trapped inside a Tim Burton film. Which is good when the track is called "Monster" and has lyrics like "If love is a monster/ then I have been eaten alive/and I’m going under/and there is no hope to survive/Not this time."

The barn-burner "On to Something" is title track of the album. Smith says this felt right as the name for his collection of songs because the style of the entire affair was something new for him and he feels like he will still evolve from it. This is the most "rock-based" of the tracks and while there’s still a Merry-Go-Round underbelly, it has more of a symphonic Muse feel to it that is both frisky and blazing.

The closing track "The Prize" is a soft and elegant hymn that harkens back to George Michael’s "Careless Whisper" days. Supported by chorus of his own voice, the tune is ethereal and uplifting, ending on a perfect message. "You’ve got to love the journey, for the journey is the prize."

Knowing that every song was written, composed, and performed by Smith himself, with all instruments (except piano) performed by producer Matt Appleton of "Reel Big Fish," well, that just adds to the wow factor. So far this is the most original and artistically thrilling album of the year. It heralds the evolution and mainstream arrival of an indomitable talent.

Von Smith’s "On to Something" can be purchased on iTunes or on CD Baby at www.cdbaby.com/cd/vonsmith.

Huffington Post:

It was the season finale of E!'s "Opening Act," meaning there was one last chance to make somebody's dreams come true. This week, the selected artist had the opportunity to open for Lady Gaga's "Born This Way Ball."

"You have amazing stage presence and, most of all, congratulations," Lady Gaga told 25-year-old Von Smith. "It’s no small feat what you’ve accomplished."

Smith performed a Beyonce song, "Halo," as well as "Hopeless," and got a great response from the crowd and from Gaga. He took to Twitter during the show to reiterate the point of the entire show, and his experience with it.

"Dreams DO come true!" he wrote. Smith made it to the Wild Card round of "American Idol" Season 8.

FireWallNova.com

On a similar note, in Pittsburgh on Friday, newcomer Von Smith’s tour de force number was his version, of Miche Braden’s PMJ cover of “Sweet Child O’Mine” – originally by Guns ‘N Roses, but reinvented as New Orleans jazz.

Smith, with mind-blowing vocal range himself, came in at what sounded like one octave and two adrenaline levels higher than Braden, and basically riffed upward from there, evoking arched eyebrows and wide grins from the band. It brought down the house and, for those keeping track, counted as double-meta and double the fun.

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Theatermania:

"But it's the powerful upper register of Von Smith that blows away the audience; the long-held high notes in "Satisfied Mind" caused a standing ovation in the middle of the show."

Los Angeles Magazine:

Review: For the Record: Tarantino in Concert

There are 22 cast members listed in the program. Though I’ve seen the show a couple times now, I haven’t seen everyone, so I can’t tell you that one performer is better than another in a given role. However, there is in performer I’ve had the privilege of hearing and you should make sure you do as well: Von Smith. 

There’s a tradition in Broadway shows called “the eleven o’clock number.”  It is usually reserved as the ultimate moment for the lead role late in the second act (think “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy.) In Kill Bill Vol. 2 Johnny Cash’s “Satisfied Mind” is heard. If you know the song, you will be magically reintroduced to it when it is performed by Mr. Smith. His is a transcendent performance that literally stopped the show cold.  His range is as extraordinary as his seemingly effortless performance.