b. John Wesley Lewis, 13 December 1963, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. By the age of 20, the multi-talented J.D. Smoothe entered and won a talent competition at his local church in Brooklyn. His notoriety spread throughout the New York boroughs and he went on to perform at various concerts in the city. He soon found work supporting notable R&B performers such as Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes, Joyce Simms and Blue Magic. In 1982, Smoothe performed at Reggae Sunsplash and later worked alongside dancehall artists such as, Buju Banton, Mad Cobra and Lady Apache. In the early 90s Smoothe was introduced to Studio One’s Coxsone Dodd who recruited the singer to perform over classic ‘Down Beat’ rhythms. The sessions resulted in the release of a cover version of the Chi-lites’ ‘A Letter To Myself’ performed over the original Heptones’ ‘Party Time’ rhythm. Other singles followed including, ‘I’ll Take Care’, ‘Bridges’ and ‘People Get Ready’. The formula of versions over familiar rhythms proved especially popular and Dodd released the singer’s album debut with more of the same. The album featured renderings of hits such as, ‘I’m So Proud’, ‘A House Is Not A Home’ and ‘Old Man Say’. Curiously in the same year the Studio Mix label released a compilation that included ‘A Letter To Myself’, which was noticeably absent on the Studio One album. In 2000 Smoothe was recruited by the Living Room posse to perform alongside Sylvia Tella on a tour of Europe and the USA. While affiliated with Living Room he worked on sessions with Sidney Mills and Barrington Bailey for the release of Classics. The album included favourites such as, Nat ‘King’ Cole’s ‘Unforgettable’ and Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Queen Of The Minstrels’.
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