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Kitchen Table – An Album by Michaela Smith

June 17, 2024, in Articles > Music, by

Singer-songwriter Michaela Smith has released a new album called Kitchen Table. It’s poetic that Michaela, who is the mother in a very musical family, has crafted songs that sound like an invitation into her home and into the folds of her family. With devotional pieces as well as those that are Baha’i-inspired, Kitchen Table is a warm and loving musical embrace. It’s been a delight to hear from Michaela all about it!

For our readers who aren’t familiar with your music, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was brought up in an atheistic home in North London in the UK. My parents and brothers gave me a safe and loving childhood, with little money, but lots of singing, parties, camping holidays and a slight sense of superiority over everyone else on our council estate in Barnet.

My best early memories are of singing together around the piano at Christmas with my extended family, including Nana Kath (a.k.a. Granny Glitter because of her sequinned wardrobe gleaned from jumble sales). We also sang in the back of our Bedford camper van as dad drove us around Britain looking for campsites in Wales, the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District and Scotland. “Is everybody happy? You bet your life we are!” is a chorus that sticks in my mind.

In 1981 I met my Baha’i husband Geoff at University in Wales and three years later we moved to Cornwall in the South Western Celtic corner of England–a place of turquoise Atlantic seas, granite cliffs and constant rain! We have four musically talented children and recently have been blessed with two grandchildren. In 1987 I had a vivid dream of being cradled in a huge hand, which resulted in my acceptance of Baha’u’llah.

Can you tell us a little bit about your style of music and experience as a musician?

Singer songwriter Michaela Smith at her kitchen table

I am a singer, guitarist and songwriter and have had to balance motherhood with earning money as an entertainer and teacher. I have performed regularly over the years to live audiences fronting bands, duos and trios as well as working alone. Despite many constraints on personal creative time, I have felt impelled to write songs inspired by the stories and teachings of my faith.

The songs are wide ranging in genre, but all reflect a passion to share a message in an accessible style with strong melodies and memorable choruses.

My songwriting reflects the diversity of some of my musical influences and I am inspired by women who are great instrumentalists as well as singer songwriters for example Bonnie Raitt, Shawn Colvin, Joan Armatrading and Carole King.

Can you tell us a little bit about Kitchen Table?

My latest album, Kitchen Table, has seven new songs and four Baha’i writings and prayers set to music. The title track welcomes you into my home, to sit at my table and have all the love and support you need, leaving you with radiant words in your heart to help you in your life.

Each song has a specific story or message behind it. For instance I listened to a talk about Charles Dunning, Knight of Baha’u’llah. He had tried to offer his own eyes to a child in hospital who had lost their eyesight. I wrote “Take My Eyes” immediately afterwards as I was filled with awe at such a sacrificial offer.

The “Ladder Between Heaven and Earth” celebrates the music of Seals and Croft and describes how my husband was led to the Faith at the age of 15 after watching them perform a Baha’i song on the TV. It’s also a tribute to Jimmy Seals who passed away in June 2022.

Many people have commented on the beautiful album artwork created by my good friend Yasmine Davey who is a professional illustrator and author. She was moved by listening to the songs and her lovely art work is her heartfelt response.

Could you tell us about the spiritual principles that inform your music or your creative practice?

A guiding principle of my work is the practice of excellence, married with solid songwriting skills. We have enjoyed giving the songs on Kitchen Table the full studio treatment and expanding the arrangements to incorporate a diverse range of musical styles from funk, rock, pop and folk. I have also been mindful to create songs that hold up when I am performing solo or acoustically at house concerts with Geoff.

I believe that Kitchen Table is the best work that I’ve done so far, and some of this is a result of the collaboration and engagement with other skilled musicians. We have been engaged with many other artists, some of whom contributed remotely, most notably the amazing Steve Ransome, who added keyboards, vocals and mastered the whole album at his studio in Aberdeen 700 miles away from where we live.

We were supported on drums and vocals by my eldest daughter Rosanna Lea, with harmonies by our son Jordan and daughters Bonnie Lisbeth and Mica and with lead guitar from our son in law Tom Holland.

My husband Geoff worked tirelessly recording and editing the tracks and played guitar, mandolin and bass; Geoff also recently created a network of Bahai musicians all over the UK which he named “The Sonic Shed” – and they support and encourage each other with technical help, critical listening and encouraging excellence in the creation of music.

What do you hope your listeners will take away with them long after they’ve finished listening?

I hope that the tracks will make you dance, sing along, get tingles up your spine and inspire you to share them with others!

Thank you, Michaela, for taking the time to share this with us!

You can listen to Kitchen Table on Bandcamp and YouTube and you can also find Michaela and Geoff’s music on YouTube, including this video for the title track:

Posted by

Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.
Sonjel Vreeland

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