Pretty Lights is a man from Colorado. His real name is Derek Vincent Smith. He makes party music. And he has built a legion of dedicated fans around the world.
His blend of hip-hop and funk with glitched-out EDM has changed the game. It set him apart from the EDM masses and inspired a whole new urban-hippie raver movement. How many producers can say that?
Smith also runs the label Pretty Lights Music, a showcase for friends — including Michal Menert, Break Science, Gramatik, Paul Basic, Super Vision, Paper Diamond, and Eliot Lipp — who make like-minded beats. The Pretty Lights crew's energetic and eclectic approach to jamming out makes Smith and his pals perfect for music festivals. Their sample-heavy style and sophisticated yet trippy stage design set it off every time.
From his humble beginnings in a Colorado college town to becoming the mastermind of this funky glitch-hop movement, Smith has done everything he can to keep it real. His honest approach to the music business has struck a chord with fans and brought him more success than he could have ever imagined.
Want proof of Smith and crew's preeminence? Just check the stats. This is Pretty Lights by the numbers.
2011. Pretty Lights reached new levels of fame when he debuted a state-of-the-art, 3-D LCD cityscape stage setup at last year's Bonnaroo. From that moment, his live show has continued to grow and evolve while remaining sleek and simple. Though he's had the chance to work with giant companies across the globe, Smith chooses to work with personal friends. Everything he does follows his "keep it crew" ethos of working with and supporting talented buddies.
47. That's the number of dates on Pretty Lights' Illumination tour. The show at the Fillmore Miami Beach this Tuesday will be Smith's 35th in just over three months. The cross-continental trek kicked off in July and runs through November, making stops all over Canada and the United States.
17. After a brief attempt at playing bass in a traditional band, Smith turned his attention to hip-hop production and began making beats at age 17. He's now 30. That means he has dedicated almost half of his life to producing killer party music, even though he's been working under the Pretty Lights moniker since only 2006.
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12. To date, there have been a dozen Pretty Lights releases. In six years, Smith has released six albums, three EPs, and three live sets. He dropped his last full album, Passing by Behind Your Eyes, back in 2009. But his latest single is 2012's "You Get High."
$0. That's how much money Smith and his labelmates have made from selling their music. Yes, you can donate some cash if you're feeling generous. But all Pretty Lights Music products are available as free downloads. Smith believes this is the best approach to the post-Napster music industry, especially when you consider the fact that even superfamous contemporary musicians make most of their money on the road, not from record sales.
$44.50. The price of seeing Smith and crew in Miami is a few dollars more than your standard club set. But this is how the man makes his money. Someone's gotta pay the label bills and cover the cost of all those Pretty Lights.