Bennie J. Smith aka "BENNY J" is a Danville, KY native raised simultaneously in Danville and Lexington, KY. He is the eldest of 4 born into the union of Bennie and Dolores Smith and is currently a Louisville, KY-based musician, vocalist, promoter, and event planner who has been in the entertainment arena for over 40 years.
While growing up in the Charlotte Court housing complex, he developed his early interest in music while listening to the sounds of STEVIE WONDER; THE TEMPTATIONS; THE SUPREMES featuring DIANA ROSS; DIONNE WARWICK; MARVIN GAYE; and THE BEATLES.
He learned to play the saxophone in the 5th grade at Edna L. Toliver Elementary School in Danville under the direction of Mr. William Gravely. By the age of 14, he played his first professional gig at the old Boxing Ring aka The Pipeline in Lexington with neighborhood musicians. Later, he played with area bands: TOUCH of FUNK; VANISHING POINT; and SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION (currently called SCANDALOUS) and others.
While in high school, a decision had to made whether to play in Lafayette High School's marching band or continue to play football as he branched out in sports. He chose football to fulfill his goal of earning a letter, which he did during his senior year as a starting defensive back wearing #42.
During this interim, he had an opportunity to attend the Upward Bound tutorial program at Kentucky State University for three summers as well as weekend sessions at the old YMCA on Jefferson Street. He also had the opportunity to check out the KSU Marching Band while attending Homecoming festivities. While approaching graduation from high school, he decided to further his education and musical career and auditioned for the KSU Marching Band and was awarded a music scholarship.
He played in the Marching, Concert, Pep and Jazz Bands during his tenure at KSU and during his freshman year, he had the unique experience of playing in the Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Mr. David Anderson. Several of those members were hand picked by KSU JAZZ ENSEMBLE trumpeter Reggie Calloway to form the hit techno-funk band, MIDNIGHT STAR. As he witnessed the group come together and develop into a dynamic, fresh musical force, it was at this point that he was influenced to pursue performance goals and he credits them for his die-hard pursuit of such.
He has performed with many of the musicians and artists from various regions of the U.S., and broadened his horizons when he relocated to Charlotte, NC in 2006. He also had an opportunity to sit in with THE LEGACY BAND while vacationing in The Bahamas in 2006. (The founding members of LEGACY BAND wrote, recorded and performed "WHOOP! THERE IT IS")
He signed with Charlotte, NC-based BULLISTIC RECORDS & ENTERTAINMENT also in 2006 and released a single from the label entitled, "I DON'T WANNA LOSE YOUR LOVE." He has recorded two other albums in the past, including one on Red Diamond Records label, (an independent label established in Louisville, KY in 1994) with BROTHERS of STRUGGLE along with member and music writing partner, Ronald E. Booth.
As a saxophonist and vocalist, he performs and records instrumentally and vocally. While a member of THE CALCULUS II BAND and THE RAZZ-MA-DAZZ BAND, he had the BLESSED opportunities of being on the same billing with several national recording artists such as: MIDNIGHT STAR; S.O.S. BAND; READY FOR THE WORLD; ROGER TROUTMAN & ZAPP; THE DEELE; INSTANT FUNK BAND; CHOCOLATE MILK BAND; THE BAR-KAYS; SLAVE; EVELYN CHAMPAGNE KING; BOBBI HUMPHREY; CHANGING FACES; ALEXANDER O'NEAL; BRIAN O'NEAL; THE DAZZ BAND; and NAJEE.
BENNY J. was also a member of THE TRENDELLS SHOW BAND as a vocalist and played saxophone on a few songs from their set list from 1999 - 2002 under Band Leader Charlie Shuck. After relocating back to Lexington, KY he opened for R&B Artist NORMAN CONNORS and Blues Artist THEODIS EALEY at the 22nd ANNUAL ROOTS & HERITAGE FESTIVAL in Lexington, KY on Friday September 9, 2011. Other performance dates are also scheduled and will be available upon request.
BENNY J. also recently had the BLESSED opportunity to open for the 2016 and 2017 DERBY CITY JAZZ FEST featuring such notable artists as: ALTHEA RENE, MARION MEADOWS, BOB BALDWIN, MAYSA, and URBAN JAZZ COALITION.
Although music and entertainment has been his lifelong passion, he still finds time to give back to various communities through charitable donations and benefit programs for worthy causes. "In spite of the many BLESSINGS and OPPORTUNITIES I've had to rub elbows with some of the entertainment industry's top artists and celebrities, I have been consciously aware of my surroundings and NEVER want to forget where I came from...nor forget about those who have either influenced me or helped me along the way with this strange phenomenon called ENTERTAINMENT!!!"
BENNY J. is also Vice-President and co-owner of Booth-Smith Music Publishing Company, Inc., which is under the licensing authority of BMI.
He wishes to thank all his maternal and paternal family members, friends, fans, and associates for the love and support as he continues to..."BRING LOVE, PEACE & JOYOUS VIBES to the PEOPLE OF THE WORLD!!!"