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Artist in the Office: Marissa Smith

There are those who are unflappably jovial almost all of the time.

Marissa Smith, a freshman majoring in business, is one of those people.

The serenity she exudes in her life radiates through her music and affects those around her as well. She uses music to unwind from daily strains.

I use music as a relaxant, when Im stressed or Im upset I go to it to bring me up, she said. For a lot of people it works to write about negative things, but I like writing about positive things because when I go to my music I want to be able to be happy.

But its not just Smith who is content when her music is played, as she said she takes into account the audience around her and their feelings.

Whenever I sit down and write a song, there is a thought that always goes through my mind, What are the people that Im playing for going to think of this? she said. I like writing music for me, but the most fun I have is when Im out performing and having someone come up to me and say Wow! The opportunities I get where stuff like that could happen I always look for so, I think considering other people, relating my songs to other people, is always a main goal.

Citing her two main influences as Jack Johnson and Frank Sinatra, Marissas style may seem old-hat on paper, but with lyrics such as, Window or aisle it dont matter to me/ Ill be in 25A as long as youre in 25B/We may not have first-class tickets but well get to where we gotta be/So will you please travel the world with me, she brings a fresh take on feel-good love songs.

Yeah, of course love is one of the easiest things to write about, Smith said. Im in love, and thats what it is. When you look toward things for inspiration theres only so many things you can say about the world around you or yourself. I feel like when someone else affects you in such a great way thats where our main emotions come from. So, when I get good feelings of love I want to share it.

A surprisingly nimble guitarist, Smith has been playing guitar for six years. When she was 13, she began lessons and soon after that began writing her own material. As she played three originals, Okay, Sweet Tea, and Travel the World, all of which are infused with her sultry vocals and bubbly lyrics, her musical training can be felt by the audience as her voice soars up into her higher register and slowly falls back into its comfortable, velvety range.

Smith performs at various open mics around Tampa and St. Petersburg and is performing at Sacred Grounds Coffee House on Friday. You can catch her on the radio on WMNF 88.5 or online