Passings: Toby Smith, Founding Keyboard Player in Jamiroquai (1970 - 2017)
Toby Smith, the keyboardist for Jamiroquai from their founding until 2002, died on Tuesday (April 11) at the age of 46. No cause of death has been announced.
Bassist Stuart Zender, another founding member of the band, wrote:
I love you so much. My big brother Toby crossed over to the other side last night. All my fondest memories are of him and the band that we created. The most talented musician I have ever had the honor to make music with. There will never be another like you Toby. Your light will shine on eternally. Thank you for making mine and everyone's life so bright. I celebrate your love and life! Rest in Love. Your bald brother Stu x
He was born Toby Grafftey-Smith and, in 1992, joined Jason Kay, Derrick McKenzie and Stuart Zender to flesh out some of Kay's home demos into releasable material including their debut single that year, When You Gonna Learn? (1992 / #28 U.K.) which led to an eight album deal with Sony. The next year, the completed their first album, Emergency on Planet Earth which included the hits Too Good to Die Young (1993 / #10 U.K.) and Blow Your Mind (1993 / #12 U.K.).
Jamiroquai returned in 1994 with the album Return of the Space Cowboy which finally saw their first success in America with the single Space Cowboy (1994 / #1 U.S. Dance / #17 U.K.) and Light Years (1995 / #6 U.S. Dance / #36 U.K.) along with two U.K. only hits, Half the Man (1994 / #15 U.K.) and Stillness in Time (1995 / #9 U.K.)
Their third album, 1996's Traveling Without Moving, finished their conquest for the world as it hit number 24 on the Billboard 200, their first charting album in the U.S., and the single Virtual Insanity (1996 / #34 U.S. Dance / #3 U.K.) became a huge hit on MTV and went on to win Video of the Year and three other awards at the MTV Video Music Awards.
Smith stayed with the band for two more albums, 1999's Synkronized and 2001's A Funk Odyssey before deciding that he had to put family before fame, leaving on April 29, 2002 right before the group went out on the Funk Odyssey tour. He was replaced by Matt Johnson who is still with the band.
Along with his keyboard work, Smith was also a principle writer for the band, contributing to 29 of the songs on their first five albums including the songs Too Young to Die, Blow Your Mind, Emergency on Planet Earth, Virtual Insanity, Supersonic and King for a Day.
Post-Jamiroquai, he went on to produce and manage the band The Hoosiers along with producing a number of other artists. He also owned Angelic Recording Studio in Banbury, England.