Friday, Nov. 9, 2018 | 2 a.m.
From the time she was in elementary school, Lisa Marie Smith grew up in Las Vegas wanting to be an entertainer. But she had to travel around the world and come back to get her first big gig on a Vegas stage.
A singer known for her powerful performances in “Pin Up” at Stratosphere and “Baz” at Palazzo, Smith recently signed with Fervor Records and recorded her first EP, which will be celebrated with a show and release party on November 12 at the Esports Arena at Luxor. It’s the first live music event open to the public to be held at that Las Vegas Strip venue, formerly LAX nightclub.
After graduating from the Las Vegas Academy and the Boston Conservatory of Music at Berklee, Smith was planning to return to Las Vegas and find her way in the robust music and showbiz landscape. “I hit the ground running with a bunch of auditions and I usually made it to the final callback, but I wouldn’t get cast,” she says. “The feedback was always that I looked too young. I started working as a cocktail server at the Rio’s bever-tainment program where I would serve and get up and sing, but after a while it just felt like, this is not what I went to school for.”
She started working cruise ship gigs, traveling as far as Europe and Africa, until one day when she was set to travel home to Las Vegas and received a random call from a friend about an audition. “I got on a layover in Rome, flew home 14 hours, got to Vegas, slept four hours and went to this audition. I didn’t have a headshot or a resumé or a song or anything,” Smith says. “It was ‘Pin Up’ and I was cast within a week. I got super lucky.”
Her natural talent and soulful style may have had something to do with it. She performed in the Stratosphere’s sultry show for three years and then did “Baz” for a little less than a year, leaving to rest and rehabilitate her vocal cords after an injury. More recently she’s been singing with longtime Las Vegas lounge favorite Pop Rebels, formerly known as Generation, where that talent and style grabbed the attention of Fervor, a Phoenix-based independent label.
Smith’s self-titled debut EP comes out on November 16. “I would say it’s dark pop and what I mean by that is it’s a little more brooding, with a lot of soul, but definitely pop-based,” she says of the sound she developed. “It’s just a darker, rounded sound, not very bubblegum. When you listen to pop artists now, a lot of that music is not as easy to pinpoint, where back in the day it would be like, you are bubblegum, you are acoustic rock or whatever. Now there’s a lot of crossing genres, which I love because I like to be a chameleon.”
You can hear it for yourself by checking out the single “Get Closer to Me” on YouTube, or better yet, catching her show at Luxor. She started hosting the Esports Arena’s new 70h2uesday Locals Night recently and realized the online gaming-based venue would be the perfect spot for her album release show, a free event set for 7:30 p.m. November 12. For more information, visit esportsarenavegas.com or singlisamarie.com.