After being personally affected by the consequences of drug and alcohol abuse, Mike Smith refused to sit idly and allow this to happen to other families. Smith put together the Sober Society Showcase, as well as Artists Against Addiction, two music-based organizations that help those with a previous drug or alcohol addiction recover.
What is Sober Society Showcase?
“Sober Society Showcase is an event where people can go out and not have to deal with temptation. A lot of times when people get out of recovery or rehab centers, they don’t know where to go. They want to get back in the scene, but they can’t go to a bar anymore. Some of them can come out of rehab and go to the bar and not drink, but others can’t. This allows them to go out, have a music element and actually go to a show. It’s also a place where you can get educated on [addiction], you can get information for a friend from organizations that are there that night, or just go out for the night. It’s a lot of different connections. I deal with a lot of local businesses too. It’s something new; it hasn’t been done out here to this extent. It’s much needed.”
How did you come up with this idea?
“To a personal level, I’ve never dealt with addiction. I drank; I’m open about that. My drinking has definitely lowered compared to what I used to be. Now that I’ve been involved in this, I definitely drink less. To a personal level and how this came about and why I created Sober Society Showcase, I lost my father eight years ago and then I lost my best friend three moths ago because of drug overdoses.”
What were you doing before this?
“I’ve always been on the music scene. I’ve put together a lot of hip hop shows and I’ve done different platforms for four artists to develop their brand and get on the scene more. The scenes were mostly hip-hop and R&B and a little bit of gospel. I have a lot of connections with artists. I know artists over here that are more active in the community. There are artists out here who will push their name, and then there are artists who will push their city to advance and not stick to a stigma. The artists that are involved are involved in street clean ups, stop the violence, and now there are artists who are getting involved to stop addiction.”
What is Artists Against Addiction?
“It gives artists a way to get involved in their community more. It’s making music for a purpose. It’s making music that talks about your trials and tribulations, going through the struggle, talks about your life, talks about your community, what’s going on in your community. It’s artists who are more aware of their surroundings. It’s not gang-related trap music that people make for sales. That music is the stuff that all you’re doing is adding gasoline to the community. It only takes one person to jump on that and now they’re hooked on something. Now artists are more aware of their surroundings and they just want to be more involved in making change.”
Why do you do what you do?
“To bring hope to the community. To bring change. I started this basically to bring change to the community that’s much needed. I want people to get educated so something like this doesn’t happen to someone in their family. Once it starts hitting closer to home, people want to do something about it and that’s what happened to me. I’m grateful for where I am today. I’m here. I want to do something that’s positive. I definitely get emotional with this. It hits very close to home.”
Who is the most important or influential person in your life?
“The most important person in my life right now would probably be my wife. We have two beautiful kids. I have a daughter that’s four. I have a son that’s two in October. My kids make me go full force in everything I do. They definitely motivate me to be a better me. Kids are like sponges; they see everything you’re doing and they take everything in; they hear everything you say. I definitely have changed the way I speak. I have changed the way I dress. It’s the little things because they see everything. My wife and my kids are definitely who motivate me.”
What are your future plans?
“Future plans for Sober Society would be to make it as big as possible, to get bigger venues, bigger crowds, bigger named artists, industry underground, unsigned, bringing the talent out as much as possible, making artists involved as much as possible with these events. I want to make this brand definitely known locally or maybe even across the east coast. I would like to pack a stadium just because. Just for me, I would like to buy a house. I’m in the process of that right now.”