Ten years ago today, renowned singer-songwriter Elliott Smith died of an apparent self-inflicted knife wound at age 34. His death came as a shock to many musicians, friends, and fans in the indie rock world. He was one week away from going back into the studio to finish recording what would be his final album, From a Basement on the Hill. It was known that Smith had suffered from depression, drug dependence, and alcoholism despite a growing career. These were topics he often covered in his songs. Smith's career had been growing, and perhaps too fast for him. In 1998 he received an Oscar nomination for "Miss Misery" from the Good Will Hunting soundtrack and performed it at the awards show which led to signing to a major label and releasing two critically acclaimed records before his death in 2003.
Smith's life is reviewed in a documentary, Searching For Elliott Smith, which recently screened at the Oriental Theater for the 10th anniversary of his death and tribute concert. The film features interviews and follows his life from high school in Portland through his death in Los Angeles. It is directed by Gil Reyes and Alisha Sweeney interviews him here.