Steven Paul Smith was born in August 6, 1969 to his parents Bunny and Gary Smith. At that time his parents lived in Omaha, Nebraska. His parents divorced after one year of his birth and his mother moved with him to Texas. He faced challenges with technology as he recalls breaking their TV when he tried to flick the volume. He liked watching cartoons. His father was a psychiatrist and Elliot had taken after his way of speaking by carefully enunciating words. When he was three years old, his father took him to his apartment and started playing the white album on a lot. He showed his love for rocky raccoon. Since he was exposed to the white album early in his age, he became determined and became a bass player at the age of five. He had a friend called Amy who they could get married on the sidewalk and divorce for only an hour when they are mad at one another.
He grew up in Texas where only country music was available. He liked Hank Williams in the country music. His mother thought that one cannot make a living out of music. Elliot’s grandfather was Dixieland jazz drummer and his grandmother used to sing standards like Moon River. In fact there is some of his lyric like Sweet Adeline which is inspired by his grandmother’s singing in her glee club. In addition to being brought up in a family with singers and music individuals, his family was also religious. His family had a very great interest for music making it part of Elliot’s life from his early age. His mother confessed that he used to sing and tell him stories even before he was born. He loved songs and stories and used to entertain his parents at a very early age.
He started going to computer classes at the age of nine. He used to have a very good piano teacher who composed avant-garde piano pieces. At this age, he could buy records and listen to them in his room. He was able to compose an original piano piece at the age of ten and worn a price. His piano classes were discontinued after one year and he turned to woodwinds. When he was in junior high school, he was the first chair clarinet in which he continued to be in the band for three years. At the eighth grade he was the president of the band. He had early musical influence by the Beatles and Dylan. His father also taught him some lyrics in his early age including “don’t think twice”. In a 1998 concert, he performed “it’s all right” which he dedicated to his father. His musical life was also influenced by flamenco. This influenced him since he used to listen to it, play it and come up with a bastardised version. Motown also had a lot of influence in his music life.
When his parents divorced, his mother remarried and Elliot lived with his new family but frequently visited his father in Portland. He had an alcohol experience when he took a bottle of clear liquid from his fourteen old friend and neighbor and drunk it unknowingly. He took it he ended up with one of his friend’s sisters. He also tried marijuana at the age of fourteen. He does not drink a lot but only drinks from time to time.
When he went to visit his father in Portland at the age of 12, he gave him his first guitar. Together with his friend, they started teaching themselves how to play a guitar. He first learned how to play “Amazing grace” and then other songs.
Skertchly, K. (2011). Elliot Smith Bibliography. Retrieved on May 14, 2011 from http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Elliott-Smith-Biography/26FCE728BF9C6B06482568AB001566F6