“Growing up is tough. There's so many pressures in society that most kids end up being blind to. I want to be what my idols were for me growing up. They told me that I could do anything I wanted, regardless of my circumstances. I want to help people understand their potential.”
― Conor Michael Smith, March 10, 2019
Conor Michael Smith (born June 7, 1999), shortened to CMS, is an American rapper, singer, and musician. He went by Michael Conor from 2017-2018, before addressing his name in 2019. He was 1/5 of In Real Life, known as the rapper of the group. He released his debut solo single, "With You in Mind," in 2020.
Smith was born in Chicago, Illinois, on June 7, 1999. He stayed there as an infant for three months, before moving to Seattle for four years. He lived in Cleveland, Ohio, for eight years; Reston, Virginia, for four years; and returned back to Cleveland. He is from Shaker Heights, Ohio. He has four younger siblings: Kaitlyn, Erica, Patrick, and Brendan.
He has been playing the violin since he was six years old, and started rapping when he was eleven, watching Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" music video on YouTube. He found Nas, Eminem, A Tribe Called Quest, and Lil Wayne (which was the popular artist at the time), his introduction to the rap industry. He wrote for fun, and never told anyone until he was fifteen. In elementary school, he would always play his violin during music class. During this period, he admitted that he caused a lot of trouble for the teachers, resulting in him and his two friends to be separated into different classes. After seventh grade, Smith grew more rebellious and independent, delving his time into music, as well as having a history of stealing. He acknowledged over an Instagram livestream that he and a few friends in seventh grade stole at Safeway and were finally caught when taking items from the front of the store, where the cameras were. One time he got reckless, and the cashier noticed him. About to get caught, Smith put everything back and ran home. He decided to do the right thing, and told his mother what he did, along with apologizing to the police and the cashier. It was the last time he stole, ending in his junior year.
2014-2016: Early beginnings
At the age of fifteen, CMS took music more seriously, where people his age were releasing music. He realized that he could do it, too, with it being openly accepted. Throughout high school, he struggled a lot. He took medication and therapy, moreso for others than himself. He would skip classes to write songs, and play piano. Smith claimed to not have many friends growing up; only one or two close ones who also wrote and recorded music. He would freestyle to anyone who listened, and handed out mixtapes.
When he was sixteen years old, musical artist Ray Jr. discovered him after finding a video of him rapping in a Twitter video that went viral in his hometown. Ray reached out to him, and helped with recording and music videos, which Boy Band found Smith through. Smith also bussed tables before he was in the band, working at B Spot and Dewey's Pizza. He got fired at the pizza place before his training was even done, and his other job because of a dress code violation, with his t-shirt being too long. At one point in his sophomore year, he spent his time in basketball, wanting a career in the NBA. He did not make the team, but it worked out in the end because he would not have been on the show. During the second year of junior high school, he started to take online classes. When he was about a week finished, Boy Band contacted him, and he set it aside.
2017-2020: Boy Band and In Real Life
For ABC's Boy Band, he was directly messaged on Instagram by one of the casting producers named Pamela, asking if he was interested in auditioning. He performed on Skype to the producer despite his inability to sing, and weeks later flew out to Los Angeles. He auditioned as a rapping-violinist with Machine Gun Kelly's "A Little More". The band In Real Life formed as himself, Brady Tutton, Chance Perez, Drew Ramos, and Sergio Calderon. Upon winning, he thanked his hometown. In the Shakerite, he mentioned that his school counselor, David Peake, and orchestra teacher, Donna Jelen, understood his goals as well as encouraged him toward his passion.
Known as the rapper of In Real Life, and "Tonight Belongs to You" was the band's first song to showcase his vocals. He added that if he rapped in every song, people might think, "Okay, dude. We get it, you can rap." He expressed in a tweet that he wrote his own raps ("point, blank, period"). "Eyes Closed" was the only rap he did not compose, which he was concerned about during Boy Band, unsure if the band was worth it if he could not make his own verses. Initially he began his part with "holy smokes," yet his rap changed when performing live, commonly using his "Six Track" rap instead.
After the group released one studio album, eleven singles, and two headline tours, they announced a hiatus in January 2020, to pursue their own solo careers.
2020-present: Solo career
As a solo artist, Smith headlined at Stella's Music Club on January 1, 2020. He released his debut single "With You in Mind" on October 26, 2020, and performed at The Odeon in late August 2021. He shared to ECHO his musical goals, "I want to put out music, but it's important to me that I take it at my pace and make sure what I'm putting out is something that I can live with for the rest of my life. [...] I want to pick up new instruments too, and I don't want to just rap. I've been practicing my violin, singing a lot, and playing ukulele, but I also wanna pick up guitar and learn drums. I've learned so much from studying hip hop but I need to grow as a musician. Everything I do is still rooted in hip hop though, 'cause I still feel like that's where I get the heart of my music from."
Music style and influences
Smith is a classically trained violinist, initially having a main interest in hip-hop, though wanting to branch out in genres. He has cited some of his musical influences to be Kendrick Lamar, Logic, Eminem, Machine Gun Kelly, Future, and J. Cole. In an interview, he clarified that he had multiple musical influences throughout his life. He named his biggest inspiration as of 2020 to be Tupac, appreciating the honesty in music. When he was 13-14, it was Eminem and Jay-Z; at 15 it was Logic and J. Cole; and at 16-17 was Kendrick Lamar. He named his "dream collaboration" to be John Williams, who composed for films including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Harry Potter.
On June 8, 2019, he revealed that four years ago he was diagnosed with high functioning autism, which he has kept as a secret even from his closest friends, due to the stigma and being "put in a box". He has a puzzle piece tattoo[note 1] which he got earlier that year on May 20th, for himself, and to inspire and give hope to others who also feel that they are given a label from their mental diagnostic.
Going as Michael Conor since Boy Band, Smith explained that he felt he needed a rap name that would create an identity "bigger than himself". In 2019, he decided to use his birth name, as it got confusing between the two, but more importantly to go into full transition to accepting himself. On August 7, 2019, his Instagram handle changed from 'michaelbmoc' to 'conormichaelsmith'.
|"With You in Mind"||2020||Non-album single|
|"Shine"||2017||Legit Paper Entertainment|
|"Lucky You"||2019||Thomas Crane|
|"Do or Die"|
|"How Much"||Frank Borin||Brianna Mazzola|
|"With You in Mind"||2020||All Minds||Himself|
|Boy Band||2017||Himself||10 episodes|
- "They call me daddy but I don't got a daughter."
- "I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I can rap, so it's okay."
- "'Are you the new Eminem?' No, I'm the first Michael Conor. Don't get it twisted."
- "You ever look at all the people around you and realize that everyone you see has their own story and own set of problems. We're so insignificant in the grand scheme of things."
- "People get offended when you're straight up honest, but by sugarcoating and making everything seem like it's ok you're not helping anybody. Truth comes out eventually, it's much better to just be real with yourself and the people around you so everyone can grow."
- "I don't want anyone to ever think we don't appreciate everything you guys do for us. Every tweet, every letter, every hug means so much to us. It's amazing how much y'all believe in this band. We will make you all proud one day. Remember this tweet!"
- "The thing that kind of kept me going [...] the thing that really kept me going, and I don't want to say this in a corny way, but it was meeting you guys. And going out to the shows - and if you went to any of the Tonight Belongs To You shows or American Idol, I stayed outside until everyone got a picture. Every single person who waited with the exception of a few cities because I was sick and I couldn't talk, I waited outside and I took a picture with every single one of you. And I made sure of that. So when people say he doesn't care about his fans, he doesn't care about this, he's so selfish, you know, he hates this group of people and this group of people, fuck you. Honestly, if there is anybody who cares... truly guys, it's just, it just means so much to me [...] I love you guys, man, I really do.
- "Four years ago on this day June 8th 2015 I was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism. Hearing this at the time was the most scary and confusing thing, as I didn't exactly know what it meant for me. I was terrified, not only because of the stigma surrounding autism, but because I felt like now I had been put in a box I couldn't break out of. Naturally, I spent years hiding it from everybody, including my closest friends. It wasn't until I met you all, the fans, that I finally realized my true purpose as an artist and as a HUMAN. I heard your stories, and the thing that shocked me was that a lot of your struggles were very similar to mine. Going through school the common question was "how do we fix this kid?" or "how do we get him to adapt to our ways of learning and growing?" I was put on so many different pills and medications to keep my focus in class, when in reality I was too focused, too determined, too much for any school to take on. I don't wanna be corny but you guys really saved me. I heard your stories and realized how much I related to all of you, but the problem was you didn't know how much you truly related to ME. I needed to get this tattooed on my body forever so I can show people that no matter what label you're given, whether it be ADHD, OCD, ODD, ASD, or Anxiety, you are on this planet for a REASON. We have a VOICE, and as I continue to grow and gain more success I will use my platform to bring an awareness to this BEAUTIFUL disorder and give kids like 16 year old Conor HOPE. This was never about me though, my purpose is to inspire this next generation of SUPERHEROES to innovate and change the world we live in. I turned 20 yesterday, so it's only right that I approach this next chapter of life as ME."
- "I think people really want to put you in a box. And it's not even just like having autism, or anything [...] What I was going through, and what my struggle was, what I kind of victimized myself for, was a lot bigger than me, and was actually a strength that I could use to help somebody else who was going through that. And maybe make [them] feel like, 'Oh, he's really cool, I really look up to this guy. And if he says he's gone through this, then that makes it okay for me too, as well.' [...] To have something where your whole life you're just like, 'Oh, this is the part that is the worst about me,' to have it be like... 'Wow, we accept you. And we actually, like praise you for what you've gone through.' There's no better feeling. So, for anyone else who's going through something... it doesn't have to autism. There's so many different things and stuff that we go through just as people in general. That's what I stand for, and that's what I do, just to give everyone that voice."
- "Trust yourself, have faith, and remember that nobody can do it for you. There's no handouts, people come along the way to help you out, but ultimately you look back at your career, and you remember your whole life. The moments that are going to stick out to you are gonna be the times you pushed through the toughest points, where you wanted to give up."
★ His height is 5'11.
★ His shoe size is 9½.
★ His sweater size is a medium.
★ In his former Instagram username, the "BMOC" is what he and his friend, Chris, came up with. "BMOC" stands for "Big Man On Campus".
★ He once admitted over an Instagram livestream that his name could've been Brett.
★ His number one place to visit is Japan.
★ Before his first puppy, Addison, he didn't have any pets growing up. It was on May 25, 2018, when his mother posted a picture of their cavapoo.
★ When he lived in Reston, Virginia, he attended Southlake High School as a freshman.
★ His ideal girl is genuine, down to earth, and ambitious.
★ His perfect date is to go out to a nice dinner.
★ His favorite number is 6.
★ His favorite Disney princess is Elsa.
★ His favorite Disney-Pixar movie is Toy Story.
★ He is in the Gryffindor house, according to the Pottermore quiz.
★ His favorite color is blue.
★ His favorite food is from Chipotle.
★ His favorite meal is a midnight snack.
★ His favorite school subject was Music.
★ He loves shoes, and even went to a shoe convention.
★ His favorite ice cream flavor is strawberry.
★ His favorite sport is basketball.
★ His guilty pleasure is watching The Bachelor, which he thinks is "stupid but entertaining".
★ He never really watched High School Musical.
★ He has over 10 years of classical violin training.
★ He can solve a Rubik's Cube in under one minute.
★ He broke his wrist in 5th grade.
★ His dream vacation was to go to Hawaii or Italy, and later in April 2019 he went with his family to Hawaii.
★ His raps are written by himself; he feels proud of what he can do. In an interview, he mentioned that he wrote them in a book.
★ He's had a hard time finding a niche in the music industry, not having a lot of performing experience.
★ According to Smith, he has always challenged the status quo and done things his own way.
★ He remembered getting a call from Arkansas after winning the show, and it turned out to be Logic. Logic's wife was watching the show, and the rapper followed Smith. He named it as a moment he fanned out.
★ On November 10, 2016 he was an opener at the Cleveland House of Blues where he performed for about 12 people. Two years later he performed along with the rest of In Real Life at the same venue, the show was sold out.
★ In elementary school, he had a fight with a boy who he dubbed as "Peter". It began with the boy attempting to trade lunches, but when Conor refused, "Peter" became resentful. Later during recess, the boy knocked his hat off, threw rocks at him, and, after Conor egged "Peter" on, tried to fight.
- Main article: Conor Michael Smith/Gallery
Notes and references
- The puzzle piece has become a ubiquitous symbol for autism.
- "Conor Michael Smith". Twitter. June 28, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
- "Meet Michael Conor". Boy Band. July 6, 2017.
- "Lukewarm Soda: Ep. 6 - Michael Conor". YouTube. January 23, 2019.
- "Conor Michael Smith". Instagram. November 25, 2018.
- "In Real Life: Exclusive Interview Following Boy Band". YouTube. August 29, 2017.
- "Conor Michael Smith on Meeting Timbaland and being an Artist with Autism | Button Mashing". YouTube. March 4, 2022.
- "Conor Michael Smith". Twitter. June 21, 2018.
- "Conor Michael Smith". Twitter. April 2, 2018.
- "Michael Conor Talks In Real Life, Early Inspirations, 2019 Goals, & More!". YouTube. March 17, 2019.
- Kayali, Yasmine; Benincasa, DC (August 31, 2017). "America Put Him in the Boy Band". Shakerite. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
- Wass, Mike (September 12, 2017). "In Real Life On Their Debut Single “Eyes Closed” & Boy Bands: Interview". Idolator. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
- "I write all my raps POINT BLANK PERIOD.". Twitter. July 23, 2017. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
- "Conor Michael Smith". Instagram. April 22, 2020.
- Heffernan, Will (March 31, 2021). "EXCLUSIVE: Conor Michael Smith Talks "With You In Mind," Being a Solo Artist and More". Echo.
- "In Real Life - America's Next Boy Band | Exclusive Interview". YouTube. October 12, 2017.
- "Conor Michael Smith on: With You In Mind, 2020 In The Music Industry, and His Hidden Talents!". Listen Notes. February 17, 2021.
- "Conor Michael Smith". Instagram. June 8, 2019. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
- "Conor Michael Smith". Instagram. August 1, 2019.
- "Conor Michael Smith". Twitter. February 21, 2019.
- @electricink09. Instagram. May 20, 2019.
- "Conor Michael Smith" (livestream). Instagram. September 18, 2017.
- "Conor Michael Smith". Twitter. September 5, 2018.
- "Conor Michael Smith". Twitter. December 5, 2018.
- "Conor Michael Smith". Twitter. August 11, 2018.
- "Conor Michael Smith" (livestream). Instagram. March 8, 2019.
- "Conor Michael Smith". Instagram. June 8, 2019.
- "E33 Conor Michael Smith". Easily Annoyed. April 21, 2021.
- "Conor Michael Smith" (livestream). Instagram. June 6, 2018. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
- @bikram_mohm. Instagram. May 25, 2018.
- "Conor Michael Smith" (livestream). Instagram. July 24, 2017. Retrieved 2019.
- "Justine Magazine: Get to Know the "Boy Band" Top 8 Finalists! They Talk Dates, Food & More!". YouTube. August 23, 2017.
- "Conor Michael Smith" (livestream). Instagram. July 2, 2018. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
- "EXCLUSIVE: IN REAL LIFE's FEARS & FOOD 411!!". YouTube. September 4, 2017.
- "Conor Michael Smith" (livestream). Instagram. August 7, 2019.
- "Boy Band Cast: Michael Conor"
- "Conor Michael Smith". Twitter. September 18, 2018.
- on Apple Music
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|Conor Michael Smith|
|Raps · Gallery|
"How Much" · "Curtain Call"
|In Real Life|
|TV and award shows|