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Positive Purpose

Crestwood music composer Sandra M. Levy Smith releases her newest CD "Positive Purpose," a combination of electronic & acoustic sounds

Sandra Levy Smith is an award-winning music composer, arranger and producer for film, television, radio, children's music and corporate communications. photo by Diana Linsley.
November 10, 2017
Crestwood resident Sandra Levy Smith, an award-winning music composer, has released her fourth CD, "Positive Purpose."

Two years in the making, the CD incorporates computer software "virtual instruments" with St. Louis-area musicians Tim Mauldin (guitars), J. Hayes (guitars), Jay Hungerford (bass), Rusty Parker (drums) and Lamar Smith (brass).

Levy Smith did all the arrangements using computer software, then added live musicians later in the recording process.

"It does make a big difference in the overall sound when you use live players," Levy Smith said. "When it is all virtual instruments, it doesn't sound as dynamic or rich. It sounds a lot better with real people in it."

The title of the album, "Positive Purpose," holds a special meaning to Levy Smith, because her daughter, Sarah, has a severe form of epilepsy that requires 24/7 dependent care. Since Smith is her primary caregiver, she is driven to make her daughter's life as comfortable and happy as possible. Music is among the close ties that bind this family and eases the challenges of the day-to-day medical needs and care.

Levy Smith's goal on "Positive Purpose" was to create positive, optimistic and uplifting music. Smith said she wanted to have music libraries to offer her clients with her new release.

"The whole purpose of music libraries is to have music that is available to license for videos or commercials," Levy Smith said. "You can't just take a top 40 song and put it in your video without permission."

"Positive Purpose" was recorded by audio engineer Justin Fisher at SmithLee Productions in Maplewood.

"When I did other CDs, I worked with another writer, so we had the ability to 'Simon and Garfunkel' back and forth," Levy Smith said. "I wrote this one by myself, so it was great to have Justin give me his two cents on it."

Among her credits, Sandra Levy Smith has composed music used by TLC, Access Hollywood, HBO, Saturday Night Live as well as 53 episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show. photo by Diana Linsley.

It took Levy Smith a year to come up with the demos to send to her record label, Sonoton. After Sonoton agreed to put out her CD, it took her another year to finish "Positive Purpose" with its 47 tracks totalling 72 minutes.

"That is a long time, because I was working with my other music clients, my audio clients, my daughter's needs and my family life," Levy Smith said.

"Positive Purpose" is the fourth CD she has made for Sonoton, the last being "Open Skies" released in 2001.

Levy Smith and her husband, David Smith, met the owners of the German-based Sonoton right after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Sonoton licenses its music worldwide and is represented in the United States by Associated Production Music.

Levy Smith has been producing music since 1985 and has been awarded four Mid-America Emmy Awards for composing music.

Her music has been featured on Access Hollywood, HBO, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Saturday Night Live, TLC and WWF Smackdown. Other clients include Anheuser-Busch, John Deere, SSM Health, BJC HealthCare, Six Flags, Enterprise, and the Missouri Department of Conservation.

In 2013 she won a Mid-America Emmy Award for composing the music featured in the documentary, "Deadline in Disaster." Her score also won awards from the Syracuse University Mirror Awards and the China Academy Awards for Documentary Films.

The documentary features first-hand accounts from Joplin Globe journalists during the aftermath of the EF-5 tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., on May 22, 2011.

Levy Smith said it was an emotional and compelling documentary that focused on a real-life tragedy.

"The reporters were the only link of information because there was not any other communication happening," Levy Smith said. "It's really moving because there is not a narrator. It's just them talking, and I did the original score for it."

Levy Smith said she receives regular statements from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers listing what movies and TV programs picked up her musical offerings.

"It's always fun to look at those and see it is from all around the world," Levy Smith said.

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