This is very sad news....
Oct. 22, 2003
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Elliott Smith, a singer-songwriter whose dark-tinged, introspective songs and plaintive singing voice won universal critical acclaim, has apparently committed suicide, his publicist and coroner's officials said Wednesday. He was 34.
Smith's body was found by his live-in girlfriend Tuesday, Los Angeles County Coroner Records Supervisor Marsha Grigsby told Associated Press Radio.
He sustained a single stab wound to the chest that appeared to be self-inflicted, she said.
Smith's New York-based publicist also confirmed his death.
Smith released five widely acclaimed solo albums that garnered modest commercial success. His song "Miss Misery," recorded for the film "Good Will Hunting," was nominated for an Academy Award in 1998.
Smith's songs were often compared with those of Alex Chilton, Nick Drake and the Beatles, his favorite band. They were marked by intricate melodies written over unorthodox chord changes.
Lyrically, they addressed such dark subject matter as drug addiction, troubled relationships and loneliness -- though Smith tried to distance himself from the label of confessional songwriter.
"I don't feel like my songs are particularly fragile or revealing," he said in a 1998 interview in the Los Angeles Times. "It's not like a diary, and they're not intended to be any sort of super intimate confessional singer-songwriterish thing."
Smith was born Steven Paul Smith on Aug. 6, 1969, in Nebraska; his mother was a singer and his father was a psychiatrist. He spent most of his childhood with his mother in the suburbs of Dallas and then moved to Portland, Ore., in high school to live with his father.
Smith studied piano and guitar as a youth and began composing songs when he was 13. He began calling himself Elliott in middle school, he later explained to a reporter, because Steve sounded too "jockish."
Smith graduated Hampshire College in Amhert, Mass., with a degree in philosophy and later joined a Portland punk band called Heatmiser. On the side, he recorded several solo albums -- "Roman Candle" (1994), "Elliott Smith" (1995) and "Either/Or" (1997), all on independent labels -- that won him a devoted underground following.
In 1997, he moved to New York City, where film director Gus Van Sant approached him with an offer to use several of Smith's songs on the soundtrack to "Good Will Hunting." The movie was a hit, bringing Smith's music to a mainstream audience.
Smith subsequently signed with Dreamworks Records and recorded two albums with bigger budgets that featured denser arrangements than his early work. "XO" (1998) and "Figure 8" (2000) continued Smith's critical winning streak, and took him to the middle reaches of Billboard's Top 200 albums chart.
"I don't really have any goals as a songwriter," he once said, "other than to show what it's like to be a person - just like everybody else who's ever played music does."
Smith had recently spoken in interviews about his struggles with alcoholism. "When I lived in New York I was really a bad alcoholic for a few years," he told Under the Radar magazine in an interview published in June 2003.
In an effort to quit drinking, Smith told the magazine, he had undergone treatment at the Neurotransmitter Restoration Center in Beverly Hills, which administers an intravenous solution meant to clear the bloodstream of toxins.R.I.P. ElliotSteven Paul (Elliott) Smith. August 6, 1969 – October 21, 2003. Elliott Smith was born on August 6, 1969 in Omaha, Nebraska. Elliott spent his childhood near Dallas, Texas where he began his musical training at the age of nine, winning a local award for original composition at the age of ten.
Elliott relocated to Portland, Oregon as a Sophomore at Lincoln High School where he achieved the rank of National Merit Scholar. During his time at Lincoln High School, Elliott joined the band “Stranger Than Fiction” in which he composed music and performed until his graduation in 1987.
Elliott later attended Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he majored in Philosophy and Political Science. During his time at Hampshire, Elliott, known then as Elliott Stillwater-Rotter, co-founded the band “A Murder of Crows”. He later became a member of well known band “Heatmiser”. It was during this time that Elliott began to release music as a solo artist.
During his lifetime, Elliott released five full-length albums as a solo artist as well as a number of singles. Elliott was nominated for an Academy Award for “Miss Misery”, his musical contribution to the Academy Award winning movie, “Good Will Hunting”.
At the time of his death, Elliott was recording his sixth album, “From A Basement On The Hill”.
Elliott is survived by a host of family, friends and fans.
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