Laura Smith was born and raised in London, Ontario. She first became interested in music at 19 years old when she began teaching herself to play the piano and guitar. Laura had already been writing poetry for some time and began putting these pieces to music. During these early years, she performed songs at Smale’s Pace, a coffee house in London, Ontario where she also worked as a waitress.
In the 1970s, Laura moved to Toronto where she remained for nearly a decade. During this period, she was able to pursue self-study opportunities at the Royal Conservatory of Music and at York University where she took the Jazz program. She also continued to write songs and supported herself by working in various secretary, clerk, and personal assistant positions. Many of these part-time and summer jobs were with theatre, talent and production companies, instilling an interest in musical theatre.
In 1984, Paul Cranford, a friend who was a lighthouse keeper and fiddler invited her to live with him in Cape Breton Island for a change of pace. For the next four years, Laura lived in the communities around St. Anns Bay, working as a cook at a silviculture camp and performing at cèilidhs and with a local theatre group. She was on the Board of Directors for Theatre 200 which was based in Sydney, NS.
Laura eventually decided to move to Halifax, a move that propelled her musical career. She regularly played at the Flamingo Club (later known as Pub Flamingo) on Gottingen St. on Monday nights, and with the support of the CBC recorded Elemental in 1989 which was rereleased as her debut self-titled album in 1992 under a different label. She recorded and coproduced her second album, b’tween the earth and my soul with her partner David Hillier. It was released in 1994 to critical acclaim and brought on several radio and television appearances as well as a national headline tour and festival performances. A third album, it’s a personal thing was recorded in Hubbards and released in 1997. A compilation album was released in in 1998 after which Laura took a break from recording music, her next album Everything is moving releasing in 2013.
Laura has been nominated and has won numerous awards for her music, including two East Coast Music Awards, two Juno nominations, a Gemini award and an additional six ECMA nominations. In 2003, Laura received an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Mount Saint Vincent University. Throughout the 2000s, Laura continued to perform music and theatre and at one point pursued a Music Therapy degree but had to drop out due to health reasons.
Laura Smith passed away from cancer on March 7, 2020 in Mahone Bay, NS.