Chris D Smith

Chris D Smith
Birth name
Chris D Smith
Soul, Funk, Jazz

DJ Profile Biography

Chris D Smith’s first experience of DJing came from playing records at his school’s music club in Wantage in the early sixties. Early musical influences came from The Beatles and Spencer Davis, which led Chris to search for the origins of the 60’s Beat, from that point on his influences switched to Stax and Motown. During his time at school, Chris dabbled with playing the drums with some friends in their own band.

From playing records at his school dances, Chris continued playing music at his local youth club, the beginning of great things to come. In those early days of playing mobile discos around the Oxon area, Chris soon secured residencies at clubs, one of the earliest ones being the Cannon Club which was at an MOD depot at Bicester.

Work was not hard to come by for good DJ’s in the 1970’s and in those heady days when clubs opened six days a week and depended on resident DJ’s to set the tone of the club, Chris was busy playing many of the clubs in the Oxford area. It wasn’t long before the Brunel Rooms in Swindon offered Chris an opportunity eventually turning the clubs amphitheatre into a hot bed for Soul and Funk music.

The beginning of a Legend, Chris DJ’d for John King when he owned a nightclub called Casa Rio. After Casa Rio closed, John moved his operation to Hadden Hill, Didcot and opened the now infamous Rio. Chris will tell you stories about Froggy and various Radio 1 DJ’s playing alongside him at the Rio and Froggy, then playing current pop music, showed a keen interest in Chris’s soulful record boxes. Chris wanted to play more Soul music at the club rather than the usual top forty and moved back to the Brunel Rooms, but it wasn’t long before John was on the phone offering Chris Fridays to play his brand of Soul and Funk and “Funky Fridays” at The Rio was born!

The Rio with Chris as its resident DJ soon became the “country branch of the Soul family” with regular guest spots for Chris Hill, Robbie Vincent, Chris Brown, Sean French etc on both Friday and Saturdays with people travelling far and wide to The Rio. Chris played on many of the early Soul Mafia events with Chris Hill and co before concentrating on his own Rio nights and regular guest appearances across the country. Chris could also be found looking after the Belvedere Arms when Chris Brown was away on Caister duties. The reputation of The Rio was all built on Chris’s vision of the Jazz Funk scene and in 1981 Chris was voted the Number One Soul DJ by Street Level magazine.

The Rio and, more importantly, Chris D Smith became legendary in the Soul & Jazz Funk scene. You will not find a more respected and likeable guy than Chris and long may it continue.