Headpiece: CHU CHU NY
C'EST PRUNE: D. Smith! Hi! We were so thrilled to have you at Mike Ruiz’s birthday celebration - and now we’re here. For starters, thank you for supporting the Ali Forney Center, assisting LGBTQ homeless youth. With that being said, please introduce yourself to our readers:
D. SMITH: Hey, my name is D. Smith. I’m an artist and Grammy nominated writer/producer based in NYC.
Harness: Object & Dawn, Jacket: Maison Marie Saint Pierre, Skirt: Maison Marie Saint Pierre, Corset: Byron Lars Beauty Mark
PRUNE: You worked with Billy Porter for the single “Love Yourself”. Some would call this THE Gay Pride Anthem, and we are loving every moment of it. Talk to us about how this song + collaboration manifested.
D. SMITH: “Love Yourself” came about when one of Billy’s managers reached out to me and told me they needed a song for Billy Porter. I had just written and produced a song for myself called “Love Yourself.” Because the message was so urgent and Billy’s platform was more impactful than mine, I thought it would be perfect for him! I thought “Wow this song was never meant for me, it was created for Billy!”
PRUNE: Did you ever face career-related hardships being a transgender woman? How were you able to break boundaries in the industry and rise to the top?
D. SMITH: Well, I’ve only been transitioning for five years now. Before that, I would receive calls all the time for work. As I slowly started to change my appearance, the calls stopped. My “friends” stop coming by my studio, we stopped hanging out. I wasn’t invited to many industry events anymore. I was in so much denial about what was happening to me. I had major rapper friends that would call me and tell me I looked like a fool, a clown, a monkey. They told me “this ain’t you.” I’ve had artist tell me that my music was the best shit they’ve ever rapped on, then they find out that I’m trans and wouldn’t hear from them again. This is how I survived... I basically started over. Completely started over in the industry. I’m doing much better now because I have the greatest team. I’ve changed my circle of contacts and friends. Relinquishing myself from feeling obligated to put up with prejudice from men in the music industry. Putting up with just being tolerated instead of being revered was no longer a part of my life.
Jacket: ROSSI at The Confessional Showroom, Pants: ROSSI at The Confessional Showroom, Earrings: Alexis Bittar, Shoes: Stylist Own
PRUNE: Over the years, you’ve produced music for some of the biggest names in the industry - Lil Wayne, Ciara, Andre 3000, and Katy Perry, to name a few. How did you get into producing?
D. SMITH: I got into producing when I was around 19. I grew up around music my entire life. Between my dad playing drums for rock, jazz, R&B bands and going to my grandma’s church 3 days a week learning to play everything from drums, piano, tambourine and nasssty cowbell! I’ve had great lessons. When I first moved to NYC, I was a homeless subway singer and would write songs and perform original songs on the spot. When I started booking gigs and making money, I invested in a drum machine and protools and taught myself to produce.
Sunglasses: CHUCHU NY, Dress: The Blonds, Shoes: Stylist Own
PRUNE: Talk to us about your music style, and who inspires your work.
D. SMITH: I tend to be a really whimsical person in general. I love fantasy. I’m driven by melody and tone. Anything from “Fantasy” by Earth Wind and Fire to Madonna’s “Borderline” to OutKast to “Country” by Empire of the Sun. I honestly don’t listen to too much music at all. I like to stay true to my style and not feel pressure to change it for the sake of a check. My music is like “fantasy, soul, and pop”
PRUNE: You have a bold tattoo across your chest reading “SHOOT ME DOWN”. Talk to us about the piece of art and what it means.
D. SMITH: “Shoot Me Down” was a song I produced and sang the hook on when I was living in Brooklyn around 2008. It ended up becoming a really huge record on Lil Wayne’s “Carter 3”. It got me a couple of Grammy nominations. It being my first song ever placed professionally meant a lot to me. Was gonna make it a tramp stamp but I changed my mine
Headpiece: CHUCHU NY, Dress: The Blonds, Shoes: Stylist Own
PRUNE: On the topic of art - your fashion taste is out of this world. Talk to us about your favorite trends at the moment. Which do you approve of, and which trends would you like to see go?
D. SMITH: Square toe boots all heights are it this season. I’m so here for it. Knee high boots by brands like Ganni and Wandler is the vibe. It’s time to throw all double sole shoes from Balenciaga to Fila to knock offs on Canal Street in damn trash girl.
PRUNE: If you could collaborate with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
D. SMITH: Tina Turner and Phil Collins. 1979 Michael Jackson would be my absolute favorite. I would do a country/disco album with him.
PRUNE: Any last words you’d like to leave our readers with?
D. SMITH: I’ve accomplished so much in my career and I’m grateful but I only scratched the surface. I’ve never been more inspired than I am now. I can’t wait to share more with you guys.
PRUNE: Where can we follow you on socials?
D. SMITH: I’m pretty much only available on Instagram due to mental maintenance @truedsmith
OUR EDITORIAL TEAM
EIC x Style: Michael St. Michael @michaelstmichael
Senior Editor: Dylan Rubinstein @thedylanjader
Creative Director & Photographer: Mike Ruiz @mikeruizone
Talent: D. Smith @truedsmith
Fashion Stylist: Alison Hernon @718blonde at Agency Gerard Artists @agencygerardartists
Hair: Andrea Wilson @andreawilson_hair at Next Artists @nextartists
Makeup: Renee Garnes @reneegarnes at Next Artists @nextartists
Assistant Fashion Stylists: Julia Elvbo @juliaelvbo & Jules Hayot @juleshayot_