B. Smyth was a bit of a late bloomer.

Growing up in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Smyth didn’t realize he wanted to be a vocalist until he was halfway through high school. “I figured it out kind of late. Once I got into high school — about the 10th grade — I joined chorus and I started doing a couple of talent shows,” he recalls. “And I started getting a response from girls at school and was like, ‘I’m gonna stick with this!’ ”

He admits that rappers were far more celebrated among his friends and classmates. “Singing was not really the coolest thing to do. “

But the teenager’s decision to stay with singing paid off. He’s among a new class of R&B singers and hip-hop stars poised to blow up huge in 2013. Smyth is the latest sensation signed to Motown and over the past year, he’s seen his life change and witnessed firsthand what it means to be an artist on one of the world’s most recognized labels.

“[Being on Motown] means a lot,” he says. “I know that I have pretty big shoes to fill. I love it because it means that I have to hold myself to a certain standard and I think that’s just good for me as an artist because Motown is  a staple in music and represents a [certain] caliber of artist. It’s an honor to be amongst the greats.”

His determination to take his place alongside those greats is what drives Smyth. He admits that hard work is the one factor that he underestimated prior to taking his first steps in the industry. “I would say sleep is a non-factor,” he says with a laugh. “It’s basically all about your work ethic — because at the end of the day, you’re running your own business. [It’s] the business of yourself and you’re the CEO of it. You have a team around you and you’re only as a good as your team, but it’s your business and it’s all about how hard you work.”

For B. Smythe, putting in that work is paying off. His single “Leggo” is getting him a tremendous amount of buzz and features hip-hop star 2 Chainz. And he says his album should be hitting stores in the summer of 2013. The kid who wasn’t sure if singing was cool has certainly found a way to make it work for him. And he’s enjoying the ride.

“It’s great to see the fans’ reaction,” he shares. “… Last year, I was looking at other people on TV and the fact that it’s me now is just … surreal.”


–stereo williams

Stereo Williams

Todd "Stereo" Williams, entertainment writer based in New York City. He co-founded Thirty 2 Oh 1 Productions, an indie film company.