This month’s featured composer is 9th grader Lucas Smith, who lives in Mississippi. With a few years of composing under his belt, he’s made great progress and we can’t wait to see where his musical journey takes him next!

Hi Lucas, thanks for talking with us. Can you give us a glimpse of your history with music?

I started making music in sixth grade, so I was about 10 years old. I was really just looking for something to do, and I signed up for Flat after looking through some other websites and finding them hard to use (I already knew how to read sheet music at that point). With Flat, I was pretty amazed to find that I could actually write music, too, instead of just listening to it.

What are some of your influences?

I don’t know that there’s anything specific, it kind of depends on what I’ve been listening to lately. If you ask me about a specific song that I’ve written, I can tell you about its inspiration, but I don’t think I have a clear style. I asked someone else once if I had one, and they said that I just write what I like, which I think is a cool way of saying it.

Who is your favorite composer on Flat?

I really loved Brennan Gunderson’s work, but he’s not around anymore; someone else who was a big help and I looked up to is Madison Salsbury, she would always listen to my scores when I published them and then give me feedback. I probably wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn’t for her.

What work are you most proud of?

I think my favorites are all part of the lesson songs movement I’m working on: That Good Man Strife won’t be Saving your Life, Mr. Blue, Greener Grass, The King who Knew no Kings… I’m still adding to those, and will have a new song out before October!

Do you have a creative process?

Of course, but I’ve never really tapped into my wild brain of scattered thoughts to figure it out. One thing I do though is to write a leitmotif at the beginning and go from there.

What dreams do you have for being a musician?

I absolutely want music to be part of my future, for me it’s one of the things I’m actually good at, and I can’t imagine anything else. Music for me is like a painting for the ears, it puts an image in my head, sorrow, joy, pain, excitement, etc.

And it’s true that in general I want a life that won’t be forgotten, I want my works to be remembered and to be talked about for years… It might sound a bit greedy, but I often think that if my name doesn’t mean anything, then what’s the point of existence?

What advice do you have for someone who wants to start composing?

Don’t give up: if you keep composing, you’ll get better and better. It took me years to not suck, and I haven’t been doing it for that long. But also try to push yourself: if you just compose the same things over and over and don’t try to improve, you won’t get better.

What would you have liked to know when you started composing?

Something very specific: I wish I’d known from the start that chords and chord progressions are very important.

Do you have a favorite Flat memory (a competition, event, etc.)?

Yes, writing Happy Land 100 for Alena Balister’s competition.

Anything else you’d like to share with the community?

I’d love for you to join my lesson songs movement! I’ve learned that so many people suck and I want to change that as much as I can with music. That’s why I’m building a movement that makes lyrical songs with a lesson to be learned in them.