Review: Your Smith at DC9

“It’s okay to reinvent yourself,” Your Smith said to the large crowd assembled at DC9 on Wednesday evening. The artist, formerly known as Caroline Smith, is a Minnesota native now based in Los Angeles. Throughout her music career, Smith has proved that it’s never too late to change, reinvent or start over.

Growing up in Minnesota, I knew Smith as a beloved artist in the Minneapolis music scene; first, when she performed as Caroline Smith & The Good Night Sleeps, an indie folk-pop band, and later as Caroline Smith, an R&B-infused solo project. Eventually she left the comfort of the Minneapolis music scene and moved to Los Angeles where she’s been exploring her own sound and figuring out who she wants to be as an artist. In June, she officially announced the latest chapter in her musical career in an Instagram post, “in the spirit of new beginnings and the celebration of refinement through perseverance, I present to you Your Smith; a name that defines the soul of the next chapter.” Your Smith’s debut EP, “Bad Habit” out now via Neon Gold Records, combines the grittiness of top 40 songs from the 90s with the shininess of present-day pop and her Midwestern roots.

Dressed in simple black and white attire, she beamed with a confident radiance as she glided around the small stage, playing a combination of songs from “Bad Habit” and old favorites from her Caroline Smith days. Opening the set with “Magazine,” an upbeat track off of 2013’s “Half About Being a Woman,” Smith had the crowd’s attention immediately. Backed by an awesome band, every song off of “Bad Habit” sounded even better live and every chorus demanded a singalong. “The Spot” was absolutely massive and had everyone in the crowd grooving along with her and singing the words. Smith’s banter with the crowd was genuine and when she spoke about an acid trip she had in Nicaragua last January, it felt like she was an old friend catching you up on her life. “I’m not not normally that type of person, but I was last January” she told the crowd.

Before playing an unreleased new song she asked if anyone in the crowd had a cigarette she could bum. After a fan offered her one, she got a lighter from someone else and proceeded to smoke à la James Dean while belting an Adele-style ballad. This contrast is probably the best way to describe this next chapter for Your Smith —an artist blurring the lines between what’s considered masculine and what’s consider feminine by pop culture’s standards. Smith’s look is now more androgynous and she’s as cool and confident as ever. If performance on Wednesday evening was any indication, this next chapter for Caroline Smith may be her best yet.