Smiley was a hard-edged, alternative rock group based in Liverpool. When they signed to the management company Blue Moon Entertainment in 1997, Smiley had been together for just short of two years. However, the band members had known each other since their early school days. In those days, they shared a common love of rock music and skateboarding.
Smiley's profile steadily increased under Blue Moon with regular features in the Merseyside & UK press. Granada Television and Channel 5's program... [More]me RAD were a handful of UK broadcasters who used Smiley tracks.
A headlining spot at Liverpool Now for two consecutive years, a tour of Poland and a European distribution deal saw their profile rise dramatically.
Smiley wrote, arranged and co-produced their own music - no mean feat for a bunch of fiteen and sixteen year olds. Although they were still very young men, Smiley earned the respect of musical peers - including the respect of top studio technicians and producers.
Smiley had a quick wit and personable charm which made them instantly likeable. UK and European press and media were completely won over by the lads' cheekiness, good humour and Northern level-headednesss.
As for their sound, one prominent American tour promoter immediately dubbed their sound "BritCoast" - a mixing of solid American West Coast rock sounds with a distinctive British sensibility. Smiley created a "sound" that generated enthusiasm in some of the hardest music markets in the world - Japan, North America and Latin America.
Smiley enjoyed excellent local exposure built on a reputation for providing strong, quality progressive rock music. Lead singer Joel Morton was an excellent performer with an enigmatic stage persona. Joel could be shy one minute and completely "knowing" the next. The quality of his vocals and his ability to use his vocal versatility to brilliant effect was noted early on in Smiley's gigging experience. He always established a direct, intimate rapport with the crowd.
Smiley captured an audience's attention quickly and never lost it. The crowd's enthusiasm was palpable. As for showmanship, it was not all down to lead singer Joel - who could easily carry the show on his own! Guitarists Chris and Ben worked the crowd right alongside Joel, with Craig and Bryan adding their own distinct personalities and enthusiasm. It was readily admitted that Bryan was the "cheeky monkey" of the group. Craig, Chris and Ben had a distinct 'cool dude' front which gave way to an adrenaline rush of exhibitionism. As a group, they illustrated what makes a good gig. They always stole the show wherever they played.
As stated in the Merseyside press: "Smiley...we hate to say it but they're damn good. The public will lap this up." Or, as another article put it: "Thanks to Smiley, the boy band as we know it is dead!"!