Reeny Smith says the song that she’s most proud of writing is “Dream,” a gorgeous piano ballad she released in 2014 that encourages listeners to “dream big, don’t dream small.” “It’s the song I use to motivate myself every day,” the Nova Scotia native admits all these years later. It also is, in some ways, a song that has helped her get over the obstacle of feeling like she wasn’t a strong enough songwriter.

In Smith’s online biography, there’s a quote of hers that says, “Songwriting was never something I thought I was good at.” For a while, the R&B artist only saw herself as a singer. “The biggest hurdle I had to overcome was my own insecurities and expectations,” she explains, looking back on that mindset now. But validation came when she saw that her music – especially an early cut like “Dream” – not only served as an inspiration to herself, but also to others. “I became more confident in my writing after seeing how my music helped people.”

In fact, her songwriting helped land her a deal with CYMBA Music Publishing. Award recognition also helps, and in recent years, Smith has picked up quite a few trophies, from the 2018 African Nova Scotian Music Award for Artist of the Year to being crowned The Coast’s “Best of Halifax” Best R&B Gold winner last year. This year, she also earned two East Coast Music Award nominations. All of that attention stems from the release of her 2018 debut full-length, WWIII: Strength Courage Love, a collection of soulful tunes that incorporate Gospel and dance elements, and gracefully explore the highs and lows of love.

It’s clear that Atlantic Canada is enamoured with Smith, and that feeling is mutual. “I’ve never felt pressure to move,” Smith reveals, acknowledging that Canada’s major music scenes are more concentrated in cities like Toronto or Montréal, but displaying no urge to pack up and leave her home. “I love where I live, and I love that I can be an example to show some of the talent that we have here on the East Coast.”