Shirley Smith - Singer, Songwriter, PerformerShirley Smith began her career in the music business in 1967, when she and her brother John, as the Same Day Twins won the Festival of Perth Talent Quest. The Same Day Twins performed around Perth with such acts as “The Shadows” and Billy Thorpe and appeared on Club 17, the local teenage TV Show. In 1968 they toured South Vietnam with the first West Australian Concert Party, sponsored by Channel 9 and AFOF (Australian Forces Overseas Fund). Upon their return, recorded two tracks on Martin Clarke’s Clarion label and moved to Sydney where they became Robert Stigwood’s only Australian-based act, recording two singles at EMI, released on the Festival label, making the National Top Ten in Australia and to No.3 in New Zealand.
The Same Day Twins were regular TV performers, appearing on Bandstand, The John Laws Show, The Gordon Chater Show, This Day Tonight, The Bob Rogers Show, The Brisbane Tonight Show, The Dick McCann Show, Celebrity Blind Date, The Easybeats Special, and were regulars on Rex Mossop’s Club Show – recording two tracks on the album of the same name. The duo also supported many local and international touring acts including Billy Preston, Matt Munro, Winnifred Atwell and Johnny O’Keefe.
In 1970, Shirley toured entertainment impresario Ivan Damon’s Swinger Circuit with acts including Normie Rowe, Johnny O’Keefe and Freddy Hampton, with whom she formed Trik, releasing two singles. Over the next few years Shirley performed in a wide variety of acts, including rhythm & blues showband Like Fun with Stevie Wright and Ray Hoff, the ten-piece showband Nine Stage Horizon with Richard Kaal and Mark Punch and guested on the popular Auntie Jack Show. While on a brief visit to Perth Shirley did a guest appearance at the Latin Quarter in Perth with Led Zeppelin.
In 1973 Shirley moved to Melbourne and joined top recording act Brian Cadd and the Bootleg Family, for their national tour and “Class of ‘74” album. During this time Shirley also appeared on recordings by Billy Thorpe, Colleen Hewitt, Kevin Borich, Ross Wilson and the “Alvin Purple” album. In 1975 she toured nationally with The Renee Geyer Band.
Her next projects were with her then husband, Russell K. Smith – in a revival of ‘70’s cult band Company Caine and with reggae outfit Billy T, producing the album “No Definitions” on CBS and co-writing the single Gotta Keep On Dancin’.
In 1979 the pair relocated to Western Australia and formed “A2Z Reggae” – fifteen years, several albums and hundreds of gigs made them West Australia’s principle exponent of roots music, entertaining audiences with it’s spirited and flavoursome concoction of reggae, soul, gospel, ska and soca. Shirley was also active in the recording studio doing many ads and contributing to many local albums, including the multi-award winning “Women At Work” compilation which featured seventeen female West Australian singer/songwriters. Shirley co-ordinated the recording of the album, which was heralded by The West Australian as “…The best local album ever released…” and “…a landmark local album which should silence the critics of local music, set a standard for other releases to emulate and turn the ears of the world towards W.A.”.
At the 1993 West Australian Music Industry Awards, the Western Australian Music Industry Association inducted Shirley into The West Australian “Rock’n’Roll Of Renown” in recognition of “Outstanding Artistic Contribution to the State through Achievement in the Arts”.
In 1998 Shirley’s career took a turn when she was elected Secretary of the Musician’s Union, Sydney Branch, NSW District, a position she held for a four years. She is credited with rebuilding the Union, which was about to close its doors. In 2002 she decided to return to her first love, performing and returned once more to the Perth Blues Club and recorded her first solo CD on the 14th January 2003, titled, “Shirley Smith –Live At the Perth Blues Club”. On the 3rd June 2004, Shirley became the Inaugural Inductee into the WAM Hall Of Fame by the WA Music Industry Association for Outstanding Achievement in and Contribution to the WA Music Industry. She has since added the Bellingen Festival (04), Manly Jazz Festival (05), The Lakes Festival (WA) (05) and Thredbo Festival (06) to credits and has been invited back to the Manly Jazz Festival (06) guest with the Zydecats at Clancy’s Fish Pub, Fremantle, WA on Nov 5th and Jazz In The Gardens at Vaucluse House in November 06.