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Sohayla Smith, a local talent to be reckoned with




Written By PETER RICHARDSON

She is a musician, a singer, a song writer, a belly dancer, a painter, a chef, an amateur ornithologist, a mother, a teacher, a wife and a gifted humanitarian. She lives in big, yellow, house, with a red door and a garage, with two dogs, an 8 and a half year old, numerous parrots, a recording studio and her husband Adrian, also a musician.

She was born in Toronto, in 1979, of an Iranian father and an Azorian Portugues mother and grew up in North York and across the GTA. At 17, after fast tracking a high school diploma, she entered York University, left home, studied for a year and then left the university.

She worked in a bakery, she groomed dogs and also was a veterinary assistant for a small animal vet. She taught music, having studied at the Royal Conservatory as a child and she worked, for a time, in an office , for Buck-a-Day, before returning to York for another year of higher learning.

She is Sohayla Smith and apart from being multi talented, she is a wonderfully charming person whose “joie de vivre” knows no bounds.

After leaving York for the last time, she supported herself, in Toronto, as a music teacher, a performing artist and a groomer at Paws in the City. Sohayla had her first band at 15 and started writing songs as a way to cope, after the death of an uncle. She has written literally, hundreds since then. She got her first big break when she won 12 hours of studio time, with producer,Robert DiGioia, from a Q107 contest. She played in festivals and at open mics from 17 to 19 years old and eventually became the bassist for Aidan, an Indie rock band out of Toronto. About then, she met publicist Jane Harvey, who booked her into Hughes Room, where she played to a packed house that loved her music.

In 2008, she produced her first CD and met future husband Adrian and his guitarist brother Nathan Smith. The three formed a band and in  2009 she and Aidan were married and moved to Shelburne that March. The rest is history, as they say and Shelburne is the beneficiary. Rocky, her son, was born in “09” and the music began to evolve while Aidan drove truck and Sohayla worked in her own grooming business, Mom and Pop Grooming Shop. By 2015, the music was going well, but Sohayla started in a new direction, with the formation of Troupe Adore, a multi-faceted business involving chorale work, live theatre and the now famous Souphaus, to name but a few endeavours. Troupe was registered as a business in 2016 and has never looked back.

Souphaus came to be, after Sohayla read a post, on the internet regarding someone wanting to give money to a family or individual living at, or below the poverty line. It struck a cord with her. This was not the way to give something. This had strings and that was not right in Sohayla's mind. In response, she started Souphaus. It is a simple idea with far reaching implications.

Using some of her own grocery money and the Troupe Adore volunteers, she cooks a nourishing three coarse meal every Tuesday night and serves it to whoever wishes to come. Whether you are poor, homeless, well off or just want to have a nice meal and enjoy some company, Souphaus doesn't care, the gift of the meal, is unconditional and open to all. Since it's conception, the food bank has  gotten involved  and Trinity United Church became the home base. The food is good, nutritious and believe it or not, not costly to present.

Yet another Troupe Adore undertaking, is the Shelburne Farmers Market, where they contribute Henna Tattoos, Face Painting and Music to the passing shoppers. The group also presents, at various functions, in and around Shelburne and in a separate undertaking, provide Therapy Music to seniors in Shelburne and Orangeville facilities. Josh Oatman and Sohayla perform Celtic and Classical pieces on Celtic Harp and Guitar. In addition, Morningside Music, their band name, have opened for Travelorn and N.U.A. two well known Celtic bands.

In 2017, The Sohayla Smith Band, added a drummer, Nick Ovinton and a bassist, Devon Eichhoin to their existing trio of Sohayla, Adrian and Nathan and have been playing steadily of late. They unfortunately have spent most of their time abroad, in places such as Collingwood, since Shelburne currently has no Arts and Culture department in Town Hall, something Sohayla hopes will change after the municipal elections, in the fall. That said, they hope to release a CD in the near future and expect to play more, locally, to promote it. The band is currently well received in the UK, where they have won a place in the charts.

Sohayla hopes to expand musically and culturally from here. She plans to tour the Maritimes, in the next two years and to be able to effect and affect change, at home, in regards live music venues and support for culture and the arts. One of those cultural changes will be belly dancing. Despite being told she couldn't dance, as a youngster, Sohayla responded, recently, by teaching herself to belly dance and now she teaches others. It is something that makes her feel beautiful and it is very individual in nature. Everyone dances differently, and that is OK, as long as you enjoy yourself and your dancing.

Career wise, she plans to continue with her bands, both Sohayla Smith Band and Morningside Music and to grow Troupe Adore also. She plans to tour Eastern Canada and Ontario and the across Canada playing small intimate venues. Beyond that, she wants to continue things like Souphaus and Therapy Music , which give back to the community. Sohayla is one of those who is alive, at every  turn of their life. She gives unconditionally, asks for very little and loves everything she does. She is someone that everyone deserves to meet and she is a gifted musical talent. Whether alone or with her band she produces beautiful, heart rendering music that remains in the hearts and in the minds of all who take the time to listen.
Post date: 2018-07-12 11:00:24
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Post modified date: 2018-07-12 11:00:24
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