From the recording Until You Came Along
It was the year 1967 that I decided to join the vocal group, "The Delmonties." At that time, we were the hottest young vocal group from the Midwest. Daryl Pinrice, Ray Forman, Wilbur Taylor and myself, Eugene Smiley came together and set our goals to become Recording Artists. We left Kansas City as "The Delmonties" and after arriving in Chicago, our new manager (Carl Davis) decided we needed to change our names. At the time there were two other vocal groups, "The Artistics" and "The Chilites" that were also hot groups. We became good friends. They were very talented, had great showmanship and had the kind of harmony that blended well and sounded like heavenly angels whenever they would sing.
I remember our first club audition. We performed at "The Regal Theater.” This is where most of the new talent auditions became stars. If your auditions were unpleasant, a guy with a long hook would pull the horrible acts off stage. This had no effect on me, because I was confident of my abilities as a singer and performer. And, our group performance was excellent.
We were asked to do a couple more songs. No problem, the more the better. This was right down my alley. For me, it couldn't get any better than that. The more I sung, the more I got into the moment. The very next day, I signed my first recording contract as a group. It was Brunswick Records in Chicago that we signed with. This marked the beginning of my professional music career. After a couple of years, Carl Davis decided I should go solo. My contract was leased over to Atlantic Records. I had no control over what was going on and I didn't understand the music business well enough to object. I didn't like it, but there was nothing I could do, other than go with the flow.
After my contract expired, I decided not to sign another one. Not that I didn't enjoy what I was doing, but as I learned, when times are good, your money is good, but when times are bad musicians suffer. All these things I took into consideration. Being the type of person that I am, I decided to finish my education, develop a skill and keep my focus on the best things in life. To me, the best things in life are: (1) raising a family and being financially able to support them; (2) having sufficient job skills that are always in demand anywhere in the world, and; (3) enjoy life to the fullest, whether that means I am performing on stage or working a nine to five.
I believe you understand where I'm coming from. I love the recording business but I didn't like others controlling my life.
Eugene Smiley Sr.
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