Big Muddy Blues Festival puts Renee Smith front and center

This weekend is the 22nd annual Big Muddy Blues Festival. It will feature 18 hours of music with more than 50 bands and musicians and the talented woman you're about to meet who grew up in East St. Louis is one of them.

ST. LOUIS, MO -  
She is a ball of energy with a knack for entertaining, but for Renee Smith to get to that stage she had to travel a road with several twists and turns.
 
"I wanted to be a school teacher or a nurse, but my mom and my sister they sang. They was just singing and I would join in and sing and they'd stop singing.  I'd say why did you all stop? My mom said baby you just can't sing I couldn't sing.  I could not sing," she explains.
 
When she hit her teens, however, something changed and she's been stealing the spotlight ever since with stops at the Apollo Theater and Singapore.
 
"I introduced that blues honey and boy they just went crazy over there."
 
She doesn't just sing the blues she's lived them.
 
"If you don't walk in the shoes you can't have the blues," she points out.
 
She'll do a little R and B or jazz, but she is the Queen of St. Louis Soul.
 
"I like the blues because it tells how you feel and it tells where you're coming from."
 
And after 40 plus years of singing other people's songs she's finally putting her own words to music.  'Sitting Here Waiting' is her first single.
 
"I had a pastor once tell me he said Renee you're out there singing, having a good time you're balling he said, but you are going to be a late bloomer. He said it's going to be awhile before you make it, but you're going to make it."
 
Of course make it is a relative term.  She's opened for some incredible entertainers, survived cancer and is in the National Blues Museum.
 
"I walked in and took a double look and said that's me!  That's an honor."
 
To see her is to witness something special.
 
"This is a gift from God so you're being blessed. This is a ministry that I have."
 
It is a soulful serman that deserves a listen because Renee Smith has a lot to sing about and you can expect the verses to keep on coming.
 
You can see Renee Smith at the Big Muddy Blues Festival this weekend.  She'll be on the main stage Saturday night for the Blue Lotus Revue.  There will be three stages inside and three stages outside.  It's a three day festival on the landing.  
 
You can look over the line-up at www.bigmuddybluesfestival.com.
 

© 2017 KSDK-TV


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