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‘The Habit of Noticing: Using Creativity to Make a Life (and a Living)’

A modern Renaissance man, Darden Smith is an accomplished singer-songwriter, educator, speaker, philanthropist, author, and (by no means least) contributor to the FirstCom Music library.

His latest project, ‘The Habit of Noticing: Using Creativity to Make a Life (and a Living)’ collects together short narratives and musings on creativity, aesthetic thought, and the life of a working artist. Presented as both a wonderfully illustrated, hardcover book and an audio book featuring field recordings, music taken from two of Darden’s albums ‘Marathon’ and ‘Everything’, as well as pieces written specifically for this project, it’s as much an aural tale as it is a literary journey.

What could simply have been a unique and entertaining insight into one man’s vision is instead an illuminating and inspiring essay on the workaday nature and lived experience of artistic life at its most universal. Whether telling stories or proving words of wisdom, Darden succeeds in being both a personable close confidant and an authoritative mentor.

Fellow FirstCom Music alumnus and MasterSource founder, Marc Ferrari says; “I read it cover to cover and was enthralled! It’s an amazing treatise on many subjects, the core being on art, being artistic and living the artistic life, and creative humanity. I really connected with it and feel that it is something that other artistic people will discover a similar close connection with”.

Read an excerpt from ‘The Habit of Noticing’ below, and discover more about Darden and his work at dardensmith.com


When I make records,
I rarely tell the musicians what to play.
I get the best players I can,
and pay them as much as I can afford.
I want my monies worth.
So first,
I want to hear what they hear,
then build off that.
Their ideas are almost always better than mine.

Know what it is that only you can do.
Work with people who are different.
Allow yourself to be amazed and be willing to be wrong.

To not be the smartest person in the room.

Darden Smith | Composer, Author, Educator, Philanthropist

Darden Smith is a singer-songwriter based in Austin whose thirty-year career redefines what it means to be a musician. In addition to fifteen critically acclaimed albums, Smith continues to break new ground using the craft of songwriting in education, entrepreneurship, and in service to others. He is the founder and creative director of SongwritingWith:Soldiers, a nonprofit that pairs award-winning songwriters with veterans and service members in retreat settings to craft songs about combat and the return home.

Recording since 1986, Darden’s music remains rooted in the songwriting traditions of his home state of Texas, while reflecting influences of rock, folk, and Americana rhythms and melodies. Described by All Music Guide as “a singer-songwriter blessed with an uncommon degree of intelligence, depth, and compassion,” Smith continues to write songs and tour across the U.S. and Europe.

Darden’s production music tracks have been used in high profile advertising campaigns, for television and for film.

Explore Darden Smith’s music today.


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