Sunday School #40: Pretty Lights


By: Forward Musiq

The 40th edition of Sunday School is special, very special! We conmemorate this achievement with presenting you Electric Daisy Carnival Puerto Rico headliner and one of the most captivating live acts in dance music today Pretty Lights!

Once in a long while visionaries that break the boundaries of different genres of dance music and mix old with new make their way into mainstream musical success and set the bar high for craftsmanship in dance music culture. The man himself Derek Vincent Smith a.ka. Pretty Lights said it himself after ending a tour in 2010 in preparation of producing his latest album and his biggest masterpiece “A Color Map of the Sun”.  “I’d been spending a lot of time thinking about the state of the music scene I’m part of,” Smith explains. “Right then, I decided to step it up in all aspects. I needed to make an album that showed that it’s not all about making everything in the computer – a history lesson, but still utterly contemporary.”. Smith has a huge catalog of music, but with his latest artistic vision, his legacy as a song writer and dance music producer is only starting. A legend in the making.


Derek Smith started his musical path producing hip-hop in high school. After attending the University of Colorado at Boulder he dropped out to focus on his musical career as he was already getting fame from his superb and experimental hip-hop productions. In 2009 is when Derek adopted the stage name “Pretty Lights” and started gaining nationwide recognition and started playing festivals like Bonnaroo, Electric Daisy Carnival and more. Later that year he started his tour around the United States. In 2011 Derek cemented himself as one of the inovators in dance music and hip hop production having debuted his distinct and impressive live lights show and having the live performance of a lifetime in At All Good 2011 fest when he played a remix of John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads”. This year brought on even more sucess in the form of his new record label Pretty Lights Music. He uses his record company to distribute his music and all other artists under the label for free. Derek Smith is not only a trend setter music-wise but also understands the changing landscape of music consumption.

In 2012 Derek Smith was part of a music documentary called Re: GENERATION Music Project, producing the track Wayfaring Stranger.

In 2013 Derek releases his prime masterpiece, his fourth album called “A Color Map of the Sun” This is the first album in which Derek does not use borrowed samples and composed all of the music himself with the help of other musicians in Denver, Brooklyn and New Orleans. Derek Smith went crazy on this album creating over 20 hours of continuous, spontaneous music. Then he took this music to Brooklyn where he sampled and cut music into the 13 different composition available in “A Color Map of the Sun”.

Derek Smith’s (Pretty Lights) music cannot be classified and categorized. In ranges and fluctuates through all the styles and preconceived notions of what dance and hip hop is. Endlessly sampled, polished by some of the best sound engineers in all of music, Pretty Lights talent is above all the rest. With the copy/paste trend sweeping the EDM world right now, Pretty Lights shows us that there is still room to grow and expand with all types of genres, hip-hop, dubstep, techno, house, trip-hop, soul, breakbeats, without having to alienate the dance music community. Derek Smith is undoubtedly one of the best producers EDM has ever seen.


Download all his music for FREE here:


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