Sean O’Bryan Smith has made a career of transcending every nuance of the music industry. Throughout his nearly three decade career he has gained International acclaim as a top-selling recording artist, bassist, film composer, producer, clinician, and writer. All of these opportunities have led Sean on a journey that has resulted in a successful and blessed career. His career paths lead him all over and his love for making friends and making music come out in all of his performances whether live or recorded.
As a recording artist, Sean is somewhat of an enigma in the industry. He is a household name to some and unknown to others but always present in some form of the music industry. As a solo artist, Sean can be seen at any time all over the US performing at some of the Nation’s premiere jazz festivals and clubs. His freshman CD, Tapestry gained worldwide acclaim including rave reviews from major publications such as All About Jazz, Bass Player magazine, 20th Century Guitar magazine, and many more. The all original Tapestry also had Sean in the composer and producer’s chair working with friends and musical legends Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Jerry Marotta, and Ken Rarick.
Since the release of Tapestry, Sean has tirelessly been recording and touring both as a solo artist and highly sought after session musician. He’s recorded and/or performed with jazz legends like Randy Brecker, Larry Carlton, Brian Bromberg, Victor Wooten, Rick Braun, and Gerald Albright as well as Grammy Award winning artists Chuck Loeb, Esperanza Spalding, and Frank Catalano. This helped carve the way to the release of his second album entitled “Reflection” which immediately ended up in the Top 20 of the Contemporary Jazz charts in early 2012 and consequently gained his highest amount of critical acclaim worldwide. His third solo album entitled Quartet da Funk from 2013 became an instant fan favorite and became one of the top selling releases of Australian record label Wolf Entertainment. His fourth solo album “A Day With My Imaginary Friends” is due out in early 2014 with a corresponding US Tour in the Spring. He also has multiple releases including EPs and singles scheduled for release in 2014 as well including the first full-length, all original solo album since “Tapestry” entitled “Rightful Place” and the ambient offering “Anembo” produced by Australian producer Bluewolf.
In addition to his career as a successful solo artist, Sean is quickly becoming a go-to composer for film makers and television producers. Directors and producers from across the globe are taking advantage of Sean’s diversified musical talents and ability to offer genres from full orchestral to ambient to electronic. He has recently scored a number of independent films across the United States as well as film projects in India, Germany and Australia. Some of his clients are critically acclaimed Christian film makers Donald James Parker, Cheryl Wicker, Corey Paul,Timothy Paul Taylor, Rodney Ray and Chip Rossetti. He’s also heavily involved with 30 Time Award Winning Canadian filmmaker Patricia Chica where their recent project “Serpent’s Lullaby” releases at Cannes with a stellar response. Through Chica is also working with the award winning horror twins the Soska Sisters and many others. He also has a partnership with the iconic English conductor Martyn Ford whose credits range from major films to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Phil Collins. This partnership also allows Sean the use of studio symphonies in the UK and Prague for major projects with numerous major film credits. He also has access to the world’s best genre-specific artists across the globe to fulfill any stylistic need for TV and Film which is why Sean is currently attached to projects for Universal and Sony Pictures.
In addition to his careers as a recording artist and film composer, Sean has had a successful career as a collaborator and and music composer. Jazz artists from around the globe including countries like Russia, India, Indonesia, Poland, and Germany have had Sean make guest appearances on their recordings. He is currently on bassist for two major instrumental artists. The first is The Joe Taylor Group where he shares the billing with drum legend Steve Holley (McCartney and Wings, Joe Cocker, etc) and Grammy nominated producer/guitarist Joe Taylor. the other is his role with international guitar icon Neil Zaza. He is even part of the musical duo Jamal O’Bryan along with superstar actor/musician Malcolm-Jamal Warner. Sean has upcoming releases due out in coming months with drum legend Atma Anur, International trumpeter Hans Peter Salentin, Russian pianist Stan Z, and Romanian jazz vocalist Gosia.
Sean continues to gain international exposure with his presence with Australian record labels Emergence Records and Wolf Entertainment. Sean was continuously the top grossing artist on the eclectic Wolf Entertainment music label and his collaborations through them range from Top German ambient recording artist Matzumi to Grammy winning soul singing legend Sidney Barnes. This continued with recent works for the iconic, multi-Grammy award winning artist George Clinton. Starting in 2014, Sean has signed with PBH Records/MDI Distribution with a new worldwide album deal in which he will be re-releasing his entire catalog as well as soundtrack albums for a number of his film releases.
Not one to be confined to one musical styling, Sean continues to branch out as a session musician working with top producers in numerous genres all over the globe. He has recorded for artists for American Idol and Canadian Idol including Matt Giraud. He regularly records for top hip-hop producers in Atlanta and Los Angeles for major label artists and has had a long running position working for top Nashville producers in the country and CCM markets. This has led him to performance and/or recording credits with over 100 major and independent artists including Keith Urban, Darius Rucker, Billy Currington, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Rogers, Wynonna, The Oak Ridge Boys, Rebecca St. James, Billy Ray Cyrus, and the list goes on and on. Sean has had the distinct pleasure to perform for President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalind Carter. He’s even known to record with fellow bassist/spoken word artist/actor Malcolm Jamal-Warner as well as his longtime position as bassist for iTunes Jazz chart-topper Anna Wilson. He’s even opened up for major jazz artists like the late Michael Brecker, Roy Haynes, Kevin Mahogany, Eddie Palmieri, Fattburger, and Jamie Cullum as well as countless pop and country superstars.
With his vast experience in composing and recording, one of Sean’s top priorities is producing music for artists worldwide. This comes naturally due to the production success of his solo albums. The result is credits as producer for a wide array of acts ranging from the aforementioned American Idol alum Matt Giraud to multi-platinum selling Christian recording artist Rachael Lampa. Sean is currently involved producing artists for Emergence Records, Groove Therapy Records and more.
Sean has a strong commitment to musical education as well. To help fulfill this Sean has been a featured clinician for a number of musical instrument manufacturers over the years including Rybski Basses, NS Design, Ampeg, Bluesman Vintage, Xotic, Steinberger, Tobias, Valley Arts, Eden Electronics, and Epiphone. He is also a contributing writer for Mel Bay’s Bass Sessions where he offers tips for new and seasoned players on diversifying and surviving the music industry. Finally, he has contributed to a number of national publications as a writer including Vintage Guitar, Christian Musician, Premier Guitar, and Bass Player.
From his humble music beginnings in Chattanooga, TN to his ever-growing presence in the music industry, Sean O’Bryan Smith has been privileged to live the life of a professional musician. His contributions can be found in various forms but they are always plentiful. From being raised by his mother, jazz vocalist Bebe Hannon, to being part of the exploding Seattle music scene in the early ‘90’s his journey has already been full of inspiration and excitement. He’s played for packed coliseums with artists as well as the smallest New York jazz clubs but keeps the same musical integrity throughout. There is no telling where GOD will lead him next but either way Sean continues to try to impact lives and spread his love for music to any and all that will listen.