Steel pan player, Paul Smith performs at Chewstick on Saturday night. *Photo supplied
Steel pan player, Paul Smith performs at Chewstick on Saturday night. *Photo supplied

Paul Smith, Bermuda’s most energetic, modern and inspired pannist will be performing on the Chewstick stage, Saturday, February 1 in a Griot Session showing his growth over the past year. 


This is a show not to be missed, as Paul is passionate about revitalizing pan culture in Bermuda, honing his craft and sharing his talents with young people across the island. He has performed alongside talented Pannists in both Trinidad and North America, and is ready to bring all that he has learned to his fellow Bermudians.

Having recently launched De Onion Patch Crew website  to bring his band’s talents to the broader community, this performance will leave the audience in awe as Paul is focused on the beauty and versatility of that art form. Accompanied by De Onion Patch Crew band, the show is guaranteed to inspire and open your eyes to the possibilities of pan.

Interview by

Sarah Lagan.


When did you last laugh out loud?

I laugh out loud every day, but last time I cried whilst laughing was September 2013 in Colorado. The Regiment band participated in a Scottish festival there. 

And the massed pipes were facing the massed bands and they were to get off parade first. And they clearly didn’t have a conversation about the how, because they all marched into each other and didn’t recover too well and, unprofessionally, I laughed so hard I cried.


What’s your earliest memory?

Mostly, being on variations of a stage singing or playing an instrument.  Mostly, with church members the Talbot brothers.


What were you like in school?

I was just trying to be around a stage atmosphere, school I don’t remember much academics but music and stage stuff I remember well and enjoyed the most.


If you were given a million dollars tomorrow what would you do with it?

Get a music degree, invest in a few stocks and take care of debt.


Who is your hero/heroine?

I have a few The Talbot Brothers, Mr Rodney Tucker, Mr Darryl Simons, the LaPierre steel pan family... 


Human trait you value most in others?

Honesty, through actions and honouring their word.  


Most embarrassing moment?

As a child, I was riding my pedal bike and flipped over the handle bars and went face first into a hole with paint and was covered with it.


Your ultimate ambition?

To develop as a musician and teacher, and change Bermuda’s perception of musicians and artists to be respected individuals and professionals that they are.

Your most unappealing habit?

Twisting my fingers backward.


Describe yourself in three words...

Passionate, loud and loyal.


Best party you’ve ever been to?

Toronto,  Jouvert 2009 they sprayed the crowd with a water truck and people were putting paint all over you. 

I was hot and sweaty inside, but when the party ended at 6am it was cold and we were shivering. 


Worst job you’ve ever done?

I don’t think I have ever had a job that I didn’t want, that was bad.


Biggest regret?

Not taking my music as seriously as I should have when I was younger.  

I could have done more back then, but in today’s world you can go for anything at any age.


Closest you’ve ever come to death?

I am not a daredevil at all and if there was a moment it would be through driving. 


Your desert island song?

As a musician, I have too many to have just one.


What animal would you be and why?

I really enjoy being human but, I guess dogs are cool.


What do you do if you can’t sleep?

Try to do little odds and ends, clean, look for new music to try out and try to force myself to sleep. 

Sleep is extremely important.


If you had a time machine, where would you go?

Bermuda circa 20 years ago when I was a kid and in my neighbourhood (Devil’s Hole).  

It is a great place to grow up and I had fun in this area.


Your most memorable dream?

As a child I used to have strange dreams about funerals and death. 

I even dreamt that people I knew were alive and I was at their funeral. What is worst is that they died.


Most unpleasant exchange you’ve had with a person?

I try to avoid bringing up old exchanges to keep me from dwelling in the past that isn’t healthy to keep a record of.


Best advice you have ever taken?

The human potential is the most untapped resource.  


What do you most dislike about your appearance?

My weight. For my health I need to change and it has been a struggle.


What do you like best about your appearance?

I don’t know. My eyes.


Nicest thing anyone has ever said to you?

Compliments about my music, and how well I am doing.


Most treasured possession?

Steel pan.


A dream location for a home?

Harris’ Bay aka Devil’s Hole Bermuda.


What keeps you up at night?

Executing the vision for steel pan in Bermuda.


Guilty pleasure?

Anything steel pan and gospel singers.


Favourite film?

The Namesake and Illegal Tender. They are two great films about sons and fathers.


Your proudest achievement?

Being involved in the Regiment Band, representing Bermuda in Jamaica, Australia, Germany, Colorado, Scotland, Rochester NY, Barbados, London, Virginia, and Bermuda.


Most important lesson life has taught you? 

Respect goes a long way, honesty and upholding your word.