If the Internet still needs living proof that it’s transformed the music industry, it can point to none other than Derek Vincent Smith.
In a matter of five years, Smith has gone from unknown to a household name in the electronic dance scene under the “Pretty Lights” moniker.
And at the age of 30, he already has his own record label to go along with six studio albums, three EPs and a handful of distinguished remixes — all for free on his website.
Yet ask Smith what his profession is, and you certainly won’t hear him use the word “DJ.”
While it may just be semantics when it comes to Smith’s actual job title, the Fort Collins, Colo. native has quickly blossomed into one of today’s most recognizable producers.
Mixing elements of hip-hop and soul with electro-funk flavors, Pretty Lights’ cutting-edge style has earned Smith headlining appearances at Red Rocks Amphitheatre and major music festivals all across the country.
Now, with another album set to come out soon, he’s at it once again, hitting more than 50 U.S. cities this fall in support of “The Illumination Tour 2012.”
One of those dates was a Saturday night gig at the historic Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, where scantily-clad college students and 20-somethings turned out in groves to see Pretty Lights preview some of that highly-anticipated material and showcase a new light show that features a one-of-a-kind LED cityscape and bridge — not to mention an army of lasers that included just about every color and shade in Crayola’s catalog.
But Smith also didn’t shy away from what got him to this point, busting out signature tracks like “Sunday School,” “High School Art Class” and most notably “Finally Moving,” which samples Etta James’ "Something's Got a Hold on Me.”
Whatever he decided to play during his two-hour set, the crowd ate up before asking for more. Though the Shrine’s seated rows made it awkward to dance at times, those in attendance still found room in the aisles to jump, shake and twist their way into a sweat whether they were on the floor or up in the balcony.
When it was all said and done, Pretty Lights gave his fans what they all came out for: one hell of a party.