Out Now


Out Now


The year: 1998. R&B ruled the Billboard charts, and rightfully so, according to Billboard’s Top Hot 100 songs of 1998. In that same year at the iconic Apollo theater in Harlem, Stannis Smith – a sophomore at Morehouse College – stepped into the national spotlight singing Jodeci’s rendition of Stevie Wonder’s soul-stirring “Lately.” His Showtime at the Apollo performance highlighted his creamy vocals homegrown at a Baptist church in Albany, Georgia.

Stannis rubbed the legendary “Tree of Hope,” a longstanding tradition for contestants, and his performance was introduced by host Steve Harvey. He shared the same stage that night with featured performers SWV — aka Sisters With Voices — and a 10-year-old Sammie who appeared during the Apollo Kids segment, one year before his 1999 hit single, “I Like It.”

Stannis didn’t win Amateur Night, however, a positive comment about his performance from an audience member lifted his spirits when he watched the televised version. That same affirmative energy resonated back on campus at Morehouse and around the city of Atlanta.

He continued to pursue music but “education was priority.” Stannis befriended singer-songwriter Kandi Burruss, founding member of platinum-selling female R&B vocal quartet Xscape. In one summer, Smith co-wrote more than 10 songs with Burruss.

The industry support did not stop with the “Just Kickin’ It” singer. While in college, Stannis received early co-signs from industry legends Dallas Austin and Daryl Simmons. He hit the ground running as a songwriter and professional background vocalist. He also signed his first publishing deal thanks to music executive Hiriam Hicks.

While in the A-T-L, his love for music continued to grow, but he was completely turned off by the business dealings behind the scenes in the music industry. He accepted a corporate 9-5 gig and relocated to New York City, ready for a change of scenery. In the Big Apple, he continued to sharpen his songwriting skills. Stannis connected with multiple producers in the concrete jungle, but he had his eyes on another feat: law school. After a short term in NYC, Stannis packed up and moved to the nation’s capital and eventually became an attorney. Per contra, music never left his side. Through the years he’s graced the stage alongside India Arie, Sharissa, Lathan, Remy Shand, and Prophet Jones as a supporting vocalist.

The year is now 2020. R&B songs no longer rule the top of the Billboard charts, but Stannis is eyeing the number one spot. The “Warning Label” singer has full support from his industry friends and collaborators, including multi-platinum singer Kameelah Williams from the trio 702. Kameelah, his friend for over 20 years, advised Stannis to do it his way and make people see him.

Now, all-too-familiar with crummy industry deals and reading between the lines of contracts, Stannis started his own label, 1223 Music. After months of recording in Miami and Atlanta, his new EP titled Chapters One – Six is ready for the world. The first musical offering, “Four Seasons,” is a deeply satisfying atmospheric groove cooked up with Grammy-nominated producer Tiyon “TC” Christian, also a co-executive producer on the project.

Chapters One – Six features contributions from Kameelah and Grammy Award winner Kennard Garrett, also a Morehouse graduate. Producers Johnny Thomas and Cam Fletcher overwhelmingly brought key ingredients into the EP, and Marcus Eldridge collaborated as a songwriter.

“Four Seasons” is currently available on all streaming platforms. The EP is slated for release at the end of summer. Stannis proves one thing is certain: R&B is not dead.


Industry Buzz

Debut Album

Coming Soon

Stay up-to-date with the latest from Stannis