The Kirkwood Call

Singing it forward

%E2%80%9CWhenever+I%E2%80%99m+performing+I+have+to+tell+a+story+about+what+I+am+singing%2C%E2%80%9D+Smith+said.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Singing it forward

“Whenever I’m performing I have to tell a story about what I am singing,” Smith said.

“Whenever I’m performing I have to tell a story about what I am singing,” Smith said.

Photo Courtesy of Isabel Perkinson

“Whenever I’m performing I have to tell a story about what I am singing,” Smith said.

Photo Courtesy of Isabel Perkinson

Photo Courtesy of Isabel Perkinson

“Whenever I’m performing I have to tell a story about what I am singing,” Smith said.

Jonathan Munroe, news features writers

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






*Since this story was published Smith is no longer performing at Sophie’s. She is planning to have a regular performing gig at another venue in the near future. This story will be updated when more information becomes available.

It is a typical Friday night at *Sophie’s Artist Lounge & Cocktail Club. Malena Smith, 2012 KHS graduate, is in her element as she approaches the microphone as the lights dim around her. Smith performs under a residency with the Kranzberg Arts Foundation where she can relax, grow and learn as an artist.

“Whenever I’m performing I have to tell a story about what I am singing,” Smith said. “I don’t feel pressured, but it just feels like I have this duty. I do not want to get behind the mic and not deliver and inspire people.”

Malena started her music career in orchestra as a violin player in fourth grade at Keysor Elementary. At KHS she performed with Concert Orchestra under the direction of Kelly Judge her freshman and sophomore year. She performed in Symphonic Orchestra with Patrick Jackson and in the KHS choir her junior and senior year.

“I did have a sense she had a passion for music while she was in high school,” Jackson said. “I’ve always been a believer that if the talent is real, it will blossom somewhere. I think she’s found her niche and voice that’s unique to who she is I just hope she continues this path of being true to herself.”

“It is a journey more than a destination and I would love to use the music and platform I have to help people and serve them and use my craft to give back.”

After graduating from KHS, the University of Missouri offered Smith a music scholarship, but after a transitional summer program, she decided to attend Meramec Community College for three years to complete her associate’s degree in music. She then attended the University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL) for three years and while finishing her bachelor’s degree in music she met her mentor Brian Owens. Owens is a local St. Louis artist who helped her get her current position as a St. Louis Symphony In Unison Graduate Fellow where she helps with the facilitation and management of outreach programs. One of these programs is Peer to Peer where youth orchestra students mentor middle and high school students.

“[The program] is geared toward minority students and [our goal] is to connect minorities with the symphony,” Smith said. “From the top down, everyone has a love for music and the education department is bringing music to the people of St. Louis to make people feel like the orchestra is their orchestra.”

Smith still lives in Kirkwood. Her mother and her family all attended KHS and her grandfather, Robert Curry, coached football and basketball while teaching woodshop class at KHS.

“I would not have wanted to go to another high school except for Kirkwood,” Smith said. “People call me ‘Kirkwood’ because of how often I talk about it. I’ve traveled a lot of places and I know I’m biased, but I love Kirkwood and I’ll be here for a while.”

Romona Miller, assistant principal, has close ties with Smith’s family. Her husband, Alvin Miller, grew up with Smith’s family and Romona has watched Smith grow up in and out of school.

“I can remember the first time she sang a solo in the Keating,” Miller said. “I was blown away. It’s going to be very exciting to see her career go. I think we’re going to have a time where we will see her as this big star and we’ll be very proud she came from Kirkwood.”

Smith will continue to work on her music career and performs every Friday night from 10 p.m.-12:30 a.m. at Sophie’s Artist Lounge and Cocktail Club (3224 Locust St.) She is planning on releasing an album in the upcoming year with the help of Owens.

“After I left high school I realized how much of an incredible music scene St. Louis has,” Smith said. “There’s so much to learn and so many connections to be made here so I’m so happy to be here. I want to keep doing what I’m doing full time: singing, writing songs and just be able to fully support myself and living comfortably. It’s a journey more than a destination and I would love to use the music and platform I have to help people and serve them and use my craft to give back.”

About the Writer
Jonathan Munroe, news writer

Interests: Violin, eating and sleeping
Favorite food: Mac and cheese
Favorite quote: “I love bread.” - Oprah Winfrey
If you had to be another...

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Singing it forward

    Senior Profiles

    Senior Profile: Felicia Harris

  • Singing it forward

    Features

    Reaching out

  • Singing it forward

    Features

    It’s a date

  • Singing it forward

    Features

    Turning to Tinder

  • Singing it forward

    Features

    (Same) sex education?

  • Singing it forward

    Features

    Saving yourself

  • Singing it forward

    Features

    Reflections

  • Singing it forward

    Features

    Tell me amour and amor about love

  • Singing it forward

    Features

    Taking the long shot

  • Singing it forward

    Features

    “Sectored off”: Meacham Park

Navigate Right
Kirkwood High School student newspaper
Singing it forward