Jacob Ryan Smith and Daniel Mertzlufft (Smith & Mertzlufft) are a NYC based songwriting duo, recently formed with many projects in the works. Independently of each other, Smith and Mertzlufft have an extensive resume stretching through theater, film and television. “In My Head (feat. Andrew Barth Feldman and Joe Serafini)” is their debut single.
Daniel Mertzlufft is a classically trained composer, arranger, music director, songwriter and TikTok influencer based in New York City. He is most known for his viral sensations The Thanksgiving Musical on The Late Late Show with James Corden featuring Audra McDonald, Patti LuPone, Josh Gad, Josh Groban, and Kristin Chenoweth, as well as his arrangement of “Remy The Ratatouille” by Emily Jacobson that launched the TikTok Ratatouille musical movement, and The Grocery Store Musical, featured on ABC’s Good Morning America among other outlets, which is an arrangement of Lousia Melcher’s “New York Summer.” Daniel was also recently a creative leader for Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, a live streamed concert produced by Tony-winning Seaview Productions that raised over $2 million for The Actor’s Fund. Daniel served as music supervisor, songwriter, and arranger of the 10 song performance, which was praised by critics worldwide including the LA Times and New York Times, and starred Tituss Burgess, Wayne Brady, André De Shields, Adam Lambert, Andrew Barth Feldman, and Kevin Chamberlin. Daniel’s second major collaboration with TikTok, “Project Broadway,” led to the first ever TikTok commissioned musical, “For You, Paige” which garnered over 10 million views, and saw Daniel as Executive Producer, Composer and Music Supervisor.
Daniel’s original works include Breathe: Portraits from a Pandemic, Dot and the Kangaroo, commissioned by MTI Australaisa and iTheatrics, House Rules: A New Musical based on the New York Times Best Selling novel by Jodi Picoult, far memory, commissioned by Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar for Stephanie Blythe and Alan Louis Smith, Construction Site on Christmas Night. He also wrote on a new score for The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, commissioned by Bay Area Children’s Theatre, The Letter; A New Opera, and a new score for Laura Eason’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer commissioned by MU Summer Repertory Theatre. He is a member of the advanced class of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, and also recently completed a fellowship at the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat where he workshopped “Fashion Show.”
Music Direction credits include Off-Broadway: Sistas, 54 Below Sings – ABBA, Ariana Grande, Pop Hits of the 2000s, The Jonas Brothers. Readings: Monstersongs (NAMT), The Big One-Oh! TYA, and Hans Christian Anderson TYA (The Kennedy Center’s New Visions, New Voices). iTheatrics Workshops: Heathers HSE, Chicago HSE, Andrew Lloyd Webber for Young Actors Cats, Mary Poppins JR., G2K… Footloose, Newsies JR., Sister Act JR., The Drowsy Chaperone JR., My Fair Lady School Edition, Finding Nemo JR.
Arrangement & Orchestration credits include “Princess” by Matthew Lee Robinson from Witches for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Hans Christian Andersen (additional arrangements and underscoring) The Big One Oh! (Off-Broadway - additional arrangements and underscoring), “Children Will Listen” by Stephen Sondheim, commissioned by the Junior Theater Festival for the 20th anniversary of Broadway JR. “Rainbow Connection” by Paul Williams on the occasion of his acceptance of the Junior Theater Festival Legacy Award, and over 50 songs for Oh, What a Night!, The Rhythm of Life, & Fantastical Families, and more, at Transcendence Theatre Company.
As an educator, he leads workshops at the international Junior Theater Festivals, Junior Theater Celebrations throughout the United States, and specialized music workshops for the Shubert Foundation and the NYC Department of Education. Through JTF, he has performed his work to thousands around the world. Daniel also graduated valedictorian from The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. Born in Florida, Daniel has also lived in Germany, Las Vegas, and spent his formative years in Buffalo, New York before moving to New York City.
Jacob Ryan Smith
Jacob Ryan Smith has been writing music all of his life. After graduating from The University of Michigan with The Albert Stanley Medal (the highest accolade awarded to a single student) and with more than 500 original songs in a plethora of different genres under his belt, Jacob works everyday to create new and imaginative works.
As a testament to his discipline and creativity, Jacob challenged himself in 2020 to write and produce a full song everyday, resulting in 366 original songs. Throughout the challenge, Jacob collaborated with artists such as Tony Nominee and star of Emily In Paris Ashley Park, Tony Nominee Michael McElroy, Ozark’s Madison Thompson, Dear Evan Hansen’s Noah Kierserman, and Tik Tok star Lauryn Hobbs. The end of the challenge culminated in a large, one-take music video in which Jacob starred, entitled “One Hell of A Year.”
In 2018, Jacob hosted an evening of his original music entitled “Stories of Me and You: The Songs of Jacob Ryan Smith” at Feinstein's/54 Below. The show featured Wicked’s Emily Koch, Dear Evan Hansen’s Matthew Edward Kemp, and The Lion King’s Leanne Antonio, as well as a multitude of others. Jacob wrote and performed two new original songs for the evening, one to open the concert, and one to close it.
His Feinstein’s/54 Below show included many pieces from his original song cycle The Outs and Ins, which had already been featured multiple times at the venue. Songs from The Outs and Ins have been performed by stars like High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’ Joe Serafini, Mean Girls’ Cheech Manohar, and Tina’s Nkeki Obi-Melekwe, as well as many others. The show itself was produced at The University of Michigan in 2017 and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA in 2018.
While in school, Jacob was commissioned by The University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to write a musical examining the opioid epidemic which he entitled Painless: The Opioid Musical. The show was orchestrated by Olivier Award Winner August Eriksmoen (Orchestrator of Come From Away, Prince of Egypt, Bright Star) who has since become one of Jacob’s primary collaborators. Jacob made a music video for “The Boy in the Box” from Painless, and will be releasing a cast album and starting a tour of the show in Michigan in 2022. The show will receive a full feature on The Today Show in October, 2022.
One of his personal favorite pieces he’s written is Mr. Sipple, based on the true story of Oliver “Billy” Sipple, a former marine and friend of LGBTQ politican Harvey Milk’s, who saved President Gerald Ford from an assasination attempt and was subsequently outed as being gay publicly. The show as a whole was a finalist at The Eugene O’Neill New Musical Theater Festival in both 2019 and 2020. You can hear a few produced excerpts from the show here.
During the pandemic, Jacob developed multiple new works that have been produced in different formats. Terminus Modern Ballet Theater commissioned Jacob to compose the music and write the script for a new Christmas ballet/play hybrid entitled Marley Was Dead, To Begin With, which he also sound engineered. The show, recorded professionally and debuted as a film, was recognized by ArtsATL as the “best dance production of 2020” and received a full feature on NPR. Jacob also wrote the book, music, lyrics, and orchestration for Unprecedented, a movie musical produced by The University of Southern California’s Musical Theater Repertory.
On top of all the above, Jacob was commissioned to write a campaign of commercials for Laura Geller Beauty featuring Tony Nominees Elizabeth Stanley and Celia Rose Gooding.
In television and other media, he’s written songs for the upcoming Nickelodeon TV show “Hamster and Gretel” with showrunner (and creator of Phineas and Ferb) Dan Povenmire, composed and sang the theme song to Recess!, an upcoming Netflix pilot, and co-scored "Third Wheelin’ with Ashley" , a talk show hosted by Ashley Park, alongside friend and colleague Daniel Mertzlufft (writer of the Ratatouille Tik Tok Musical). He’s also created pieces for non-profits like Fernbank Museum of Natural History and Ceres.
Currently, Jacob is working on a new musical entitled Like Father, a fictionalized two-act musical about the daughter of the most prolific serial killer in history navigating high school after her father is arrested. The show is planning for an equity reading in January 2023. Along with that, he is thrilled to be in a writing partnership with Dan Mertzlufft, releasing their first single “In My Head” sung by Joe Serafini & Andrew Barth Feldman. They have other projects in the works currently.