Will Smith biography 2022

Actor and singer Will Smith

Will Smith biography

Will Smith grew up in Philadelphia and partnered with his future musical and business partner, Jeff Townes, better known as DJ Jazzy Jeff.

He parlayed his charisma into a musical career, which brought in countless sales of albums, number 1 songs, and Grammy Awards.

He has expanded his repertoire to include a movie career, having been the star of Hollywood's biggest blockbuster hits.

It all began in Philadelphia when Will Smith met Jeff Townes at t2. They hit it off instantly and began creating demo tapes to emulate their heroes Run DMC.

At the age of 20, he produced the Grammy-winning album "He's The DJ I'm The Rapper," with hit songs such as "Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble" and "Parents Just Don't Understand."

Smith came to represent a new breed of rappers that did not need explicit language or violence to entertain listeners. Even though he tried to project a more urban persona, he lived a suburban life. His father was an engineer who often pushed Will to get an education, but Smith pursued music and acting. Will Smith was always ambitious, though.

Despite fame at a young age, he wanted more, so he approached Warner Bros. executive Benny Medina about pursuing an acting career. The concept of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was based on Medina's life; after all, he was born poor and went on to live with a wealthy Beverly Hills family.

The idea was pitched to NBC, who immediately bought the concept and brought Quincy Jones in as a producer. The show hit a cord and lasted 6 years before Smith decided to call it quits.

As an actor, his first movie role in Six Degrees of Separation was hailed as a rookie performance. The dark subject matter didn't stop him from doing the movie, but he realized that his chosen movie roles would affect the image he projects through his music. As a result, he started taking on roles in action movies such as Bad Boys and Independence Day in 1996, cemented his stature among moviegoers, and substantially raised his asking price to Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise-like levels.

He followed up in 1997 with another hit, Men in Black, and provided the title song, which also became a hit. At the start of 1996, it seemed that Will Smith could do no wrong, and after two significant blockbusters under his belt, he married actress Jada Pinkett on December 31st of that year.

The success of the song Men in Black sent Smith back to the studio to make the album Big Willie Style, which contained songs like Miami and Getting Jiggy Wit It.

In 1998, he did an interview with Barbara Walters in which he openly criticized other rappers for encouraging youths to speak in ebonics instead of correct English. He also revealed his paranoia about the government in an X-Files-like manner. The interview resulted in further criticism from fellow hardcore rappers, but that didn't deter him.

In 1999, Will Smith released another successful album, "Willennium," but experienced his first cinematic failure with Wild Wild West, which was considered a flop despite the high box-office gross.

Also, in 1999, Will Smith picked up 3 American Music Awards and should be a serious contender for the 2000 edition of the Grammies.

Will claimed he "fell in love" with Stockard Channing while they worked together on Six Degrees of Separation in 1993.

Last updated October 2022

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