Like all great tributes, AJ Smith takes elements of a style and adapts them into his own signature sound. In this case, Smith’s focus is on the legendary Billy Joel, and the singer-songwriter’s piano talents take front and centre stage.
Of course, Smith’s voice is softer and his touch lighter than Joel’s — though he did receive a shout out from the man himself. His own candidness is spotlighted in the apologetic anthem to his love and muse — but the melodic hooks are there, as is the momentum and attention to narrative.
“Billy Joel” was written for Smith’s girlfriend, a Long Islander and lifetime Joel fan. She also filmed the music video on an iPhone, switching angles and splitting focus between a majestic grand piano and the face of her love. As the clip progresses, it becomes clear that Smith feels every ounce the emotion while singing this song that he must have felt writing it. “Billy Joel” might bring you to tears, and it will likely stay in your head.