Most Popular Songs
Bookings and Current Status
|Birth Name||Glenroy Anthony Michael Archangelo Smith|
|Years active||1960s – Present|
Glenroy Anthony Smith, BH(M),OD is the firstborn son of, Arthur George and Linneth Smith. He has eight siblings- three brothers and five sisters. His family had an inherent love of music. His father played the guitar and his mother sang in the church choir. The whole family sang during their many Sunday drives.Ernie Smith performed in school concerts and plays. After high school he formed a singing group with two of his brothers and two sisters. He later formed a band- the Vandals- with members of his family and friends. One of his dreams was to become a Radio Announcer. At the interview they told him, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you”. He then presented himself as a songwriter, to Federal Records. He told them, “I have written this song, maybe you could find someone to record it”. He sang his song with piano backup. They told him, “We have a band coming in at 2p.m., you stay and record it.” So began the professional musical career of Glenroy Anthony Smith who became fondly known as ERNIE SMITH, with his original composition “I Can’t Take It”. Johnny Nash later recorded it as “Tears On My Pillow”.
Ernie’s made an indelible mark on Jamaican music. Hits followed in quick succession, – Bend Down, Ride On Sammy, One Dream, Pitta Patta and Duppy Gunman.
In 1972 at The World Popular Song Festival of The Yamaha Foundation in Tokyo, he won the Grand Prize with his original composition of “Life Is Just For Living”, competing against songwriters like Neil Sedaka, and Michael Legrand.
Ernie Smith became the first Jamaican musician to win first prize in an international music festival. For this historic achievement, he became the first musician in the field of Popular Music to be honored by the Jamaican Government with the Badge of Honor for meritorious service in the field of popular music. In 1976,Ernie Smith was forced into exile in North America because of what was considered to be controversial political commentary in his song, “As We Fight One Another For The Power And The Glory, The Kingdom Goes To Waste”. Ironically, the once-banned song is still relevant and even more popular today. Decades after its release, it is the ‘battle song’ for Jamaican talk shows and community activists.
While in exile, Ernie Smith thrilled audiences in Canada and the Diaspora. Critics hailed his album “To Behold Jah” as one of the most important albums to come out of Canada for the year 1979. Ernie is renowned for bringing Reggae to mainstream Canada.
Ernie has written well over 200 songs, several of which have been recorded by other artists, including Johnny Nash, Rita Marley, Chakka Demus and Pliers, Sanchez, Twiggy, Ken Lazarus, John Jones, Judy Boucher, Goldie Hawn, Eddie Lovett, Yellowman, Grace Thrillers and others.
Ernie Smith played on many stages around the world including repeat performances at Madison Square Garden – New York, multiple venues in Europe, the USA , Central and South America the Caribbean and of course his homeland – Jamaica.
Ernie Smith returned to Jamaica in 1988. His absence from the island had an effect on his career but by the early 1990’s he had reclaimed his place in the music industry and widened his fan base. His anthology (1997) “After 30 Years: Life is Just For Living“ won great acclaim and is still in demand today. Ernie’s other works since his return include an early indictment of the negative direction the ‘new’ Dancehall was heading – Dancehall: Ernie Cleans It Up (1995). In this work he used positive lyrics over the then current styles. Over the years,Ernie Smith has maintained that there will be a fusion of reggae with diverse musical styles. He has been proven right. His “Rebel Music” (1974) included in his compilation “After 30 Years: Life is Just for Living:” (1997) is nothing short of prophetic.
His compilation of Folk Songs of Jamaica is widely sought after. His latest album “COUNTRY MILE” (2009) which features IRIE FM”s Ron Muschete and veteran performer Pluto Shervington has received some positive attention. Ernie Smith has plans far beyond 2010. Of paramount importance is the promotion of “COUNTRY MILE”, performing on the Continent of Africa for the first time and his collaboration with Glacia Robinson and others on his second gospel project – his first gospel project was in 1975 and predates most of the popular artistes recordings of gospel music .
On October 30, 2010 Ernie Smith had the signal honour of receiving a Congressional Proclamation from the United States House of Representatives at the behest of Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, a Certificate of Recognition from the Executive Chamber of the State of New York under the hand of Governor Paterson and the Pinnacle Award in memory of the struggles of founders of the Rastafarian community in Jamaica.
With Ernie Smith time has no boundary, and today, he is as vibrant and fresh as
ever and ready to move on through any challenge his musical journey may
encounter. His latest Release: COUNTRY MILE is fresh, current and hypnotic. It is Ernie’s offer to you, to enjoy, while discovering or, re-discovering the essence of Jamaican musicality and versatility.