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An Airman’s musical journey

An Airman’s musical journey

Airman 1st Class Zane Smith, 5th Force Support Squadron customer support technician, produces music in his spare time. Smith, originally from Charleston, Illinois, is a first-term Airman stationed at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. (U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Alyssa M. Akers)


Musical notes danced around him as he closed his eyes. He kept his head on a steady nod and tapped his fingers to the beat, letting the melody carry him through a journey he’s never been on.

For Airman 1st Class Zane Smith, 5th Force Support Squadron customer support technician, music is his escape.

“Every song has a story to tell and a journey to follow,” said Smith. “Music creates an atmosphere that you can’t seem to get away from, it’s everywhere.”

Music has always been a part of his life, but it wasn’t until he was 13 that it truly changed his world.

“The night my friend introduced me to the drum and bass genre, it felt like my mind was blown – I wanted to learn more and hear more,” said Smith. “It felt like falling in love with someone.”

He spent the next few years expanding his horizons and refining his musical tastes. He never turned down a song request from a friend or family member, including his grandmother, who supported him at every turn.

However, his life took a dark turn in the ninth grade when his grandmother died.

“At that time, I felt like I was alone and that no one else could feel how I felt,” said Smith.

He relied on music through that troubling time, to both pick himself up and remember his grandmother.

“It’s been a bumpy road, but I realized that if I want to remember her, I have memories of her that I tie with music,” Smith said. “Even though she’s gone, she will always be here because of music.”

By his senior year in high school, Smith ventured into composing. He purchased a computer program, after months of saving, and reached out to a friend, who happened to be a world-famous producer, for help.

After graduation, he enlisted in the Air Force. While he couldn’t listen to music through basic military training, Smith realized that he had another form of support – his Air Force family.

“Not only do I have music to fall back on, but the family that I have gained over the past seven months,” said Smith. “The Air Force has supplied me with great opportunities.”

Smith has picked up the necessary skills to not only create music, but also teach others to do the same.

“Music has helped me get through tough times, so I made it my goal to help others do the same – whether it’s creating music or just listening to it,” he said.

Since then, he has helped another friend produce an album, which led to show bookings and features in other songs.

“It’s fantastic that I helped him achieve that,” said Smith. “I’ve always been one to help others grow and succeed.”

Smith’s goal is to create impactful and meaningful songs that can convey the emotions he feels, regardless of whether they’re good or bad.

“Every day I strive to make a project that not only means something to me, but also to someone else,” said Smith. “I want to save anyone from making a bad decision by listening to a song that really touches them. I want them to know that everything is going to be okay, just like I was okay.”

Music is everywhere, from the everyday sounds you hear to the newest releases by popular artists, said Smith. Letting it in can take people through a journey they will never forget, leaving their toughest struggles in the past.
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