Dakota Smart – “Don’t Go Changing” solidifies his musical abilities

An ASCAP writer-publisher who has written over 100 songs, 21-year-old Dakota Smart is an award winning singer-songwriter, whose main instrument is piano, but he also plays guitar, ukulele and...

An ASCAP writer-publisher who has written over 100 songs, 21-year-old Dakota Smart is an award winning singer-songwriter, whose main instrument is piano, but he also plays guitar, ukulele and drums. He won Top Solo Artist at the Hard Rock Cafe Boston and was nominated for two New England Music Awards. Most recently Dakota was selected out of 1,100 bands worldwide to perform in a Nashville, TN showcase, in front of music industry reps from labels such as Warner, Capitol, Sony, and Curb Records. This opportunity was made possible as part of the vetting process for a Worldwide Tour, with The Extreme Tour. Performers will be considered for assistance from Grammy and Dove Award-Winning friends of the Tour.

Dakota Smart’s new Album, “Leap of Faith”, will be released July 1, in the meantime he has dropped the single, “Don’t Go Changing”, which is taken from the aforementioned album. With each new record, it seems artists feels a certain pressure to demonstrate to the listening public why they should still be invested in, why they should continue to be listened to, and why they still warrant a platform in an era where attention is such a highly sought-after commodity.

This, consequently, sets the artistic bar incredibly high, and often results in a disappointment when the release just is not the celebratory occasion one had hoped it would be. This does not happen to Dakota Smart, who delivers exactly what his talent and potential promises with “Don’t Go Changing”.

The respect commanded by Dakota’s musical abilities is solidified here. What he presents with this single is truly remarkable, and shows that an artist, when engaged, can create compelling, accessible art. The fact that this art was executed successfully in the pop format while managing to retain its integrity only makes it all the more admirable, as do the layers added by the jangling guitar-driven aesthetic.

Dakota Smart belongs to a very slim cadre of true musical artists, and “Don’t Go Changing” proves that beyond any doubt. Dakota’s understanding of the complexities of music composition is extremely elevated, and that understanding in his catchy and heartfelt music adds an element of intrigue to his records.

That element is strongly present on this single, where Dakota shines in the art of sharp musical arranging, and relatable lyrics. There is purpose and thought behind every note and word.

There is a wonderful, captivating simplicity to “Don’t Go Changing”. It really serves as a musical mode of transportation, a gateway to a direct kind of emotional connection. It’s music is real; it’s honesty is earnest; and its message is powerful.

“One day his playboy streak will fall, and you will realize he doesn’t have it all. And when that day comes I’ll be long gone, oh what a shame,” sings Dakota, caught up in a kind of love triangle.  It’s an easy song to identify with. The type of emotion Dakota Smart is expressing is personal, yet remains universal. His voice moves effortlessly from a melodic croon to high-flying falsetto.

Every musical moment on “Don’t Go Changing” carries with it clear thought and purpose, and every word was carefully chosen to unfold the narrative. All throughout, the song somehow remains uplifting and hopeful, despite the obvious torment that permeates it.

There is something gloriously wistful about the track, which immediately creates a state of bittersweet, romantic reminiscence. Dakota Smart is an extremely talented songwriter and performer, whose thoughtful appeal is as apparent as ever on this release.

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