PC senior pursues dream of becoming a professional musician

PC senior pursues dream of becoming a professional musician

It is one thing to have a big dream – and another to have the skill and the will to pursue it.

Presbyterian College senior Jared Smiling has all three.

The senior business major has already recorded and released two albums and an EP over five years. Smiling dropped his first album when he was a senior at A.C. Flora High School in Columbia. He produced the others while studying full-time at PC.

Smiling, the son of George and Barbara Smiling of Columbia, said music has been with him from the beginning.

“Music has always been a part of me,” he said. “Probably since birth, because my mother sang all the time, and my sisters also sang.”

In elementary school, though, music began playing a much more significant role.

“I remember joining the choir in elementary school, and I guess that’s when it really started because ever since then, I’ve stuck to choir and singing. I also started playing the piano in elementary school, so I guess that was the inception of me and my music.”

Smiling performed in choirs throughout elementary, middle, and high school and discovered the joy of performing solo – a move that undoubtedly sparked professional music ambitions.

Smiling began creating original songs using a music mixing app on his phone. He took the tracks to a studio, recording vocals for his first two albums. His first, “Dreamer,” was released during the spring of 2018, and his second, “New Beginnings,” dropped following his freshman year in 2019.

Smiling followed those projects by releasing singles throughout his sophomore and junior years at PC. This fall, he released the EP “Low Expectations,” his first full-length project in several years.

A variety of musical genres influence Smiling. Pop. R&B. Gospel. Christian contemporary.

“But in terms of music I like to make, it usually comes from pop music,” he said. “And then I add my own little twist to it. Some originality and uniqueness.”

Like many artistic types, Smiling has a process for creating music.

“I normally start with the tunes,” he said. “I hum something and see how it goes. Sometimes I play around with the studio software and hear something I like and hum something to go with that.”

Putting words to his songs is more of a challenge, Smiling said.

“I can go through songs like crazy sometimes, but when there’s a song I really want to finish, it might take me longer than others,” he said. “It really depends on how I’m feeling. I write through emotions and feelings, so I just put them down on paper. Some songs flow better than others, and on some I get stuck.”

A business major with a music minor, Smiling is also an intern in the marketing and communications office at PC. Those learning experiences influence his passion for pursuing music as a career.

“I’ve learned a lot more about marketing through my business major and my internship,” he said. “I know more about styles of marketing and social media and that really guided my latest release. Musically, the voice and piano lessons I take have made me a better performer. PC had a lot to do with that.”

Smiling also has built a system of support from PC.

“PC is where I’ve met some of the best friends I’ve ever had,” he said. “They support me and my music and are just as excited as I am when I release music. That gives me a little fan base that I didn’t have at first.”

As a solo performer during an Inauguration Week event last October and as a soloist in this month’s “Christmas at PC” concert, Smiling reached even more future fans.

As he approaches the end of his college career at PC, Smiling contemplates his future as both a musician and business professional – hoping for and working on making both a reality.

“I would love to be able to make music as a career and profession because it’s something I really enjoy doing,” he said. “If I can find some way to make a living at it – that’s one of my goals.”

The other goal, in the meantime, is to become a more accomplished artist.

“I want to continue to progress in my musical production because I’ve noticed where my music was in its beginning stages and where it is now is a lot better,” he said. “I think I can get better. I also want to engage with other people and ask them for advice on areas I can grow in. I want to perfect my craft before I release anything else super big like an album and keep working on music.”