The longer you live in Maine, the more you come to realize that Mainers are everywhere and behind everything.

This week’s example comes to us because rap legend and pop icon Snoop Dogg is playing two shows at Portland’s State Theatre on Friday. And helping to set up those shows — and all of Snoop’s concerts for these past 14 years — was his agent, Houlton-born Brent Smith.

Yes, one of the prime movers in the Doggfather’s posse is from Maine potato country.

How do you like them apples, big-city types?

So how did a Mainer get to be so close to someone like Snoop?

“As these things tend to happen … completely without reason,” wrote Smith during an email interview. “We were both living in L.A. at the time. I got a call from a friend I met in Hong Kong who asked if I’d be interested in meeting Snoop, as he needed an agent. I had met the friend while in Hong Kong with Sting. The friend had met Snoop via Hootie and The Blowfish. Makes sense, right?”

Not in the real world, where the people you meet are usually co-workers or parents whose kids go to school with your kids.

But it does make sense in the world of big-time entertainment, which is Smith’s world now. He lives in Beverly Hills and works for WME, one of the better-known music agencies. Besides Snoop Dogg, his clients include Soundgarden, Drake, Ice Cube, Hugh Jackman and Mark Knopfler.

Among Smith’s duties in service of Snoop are planning and negotiating all of his tour dates. But he says the fact that he is from Maine really has nothing to do with Snoop playing Portland now, or playing Bates College in Lewiston in 2010. Smith says those dates and venues just happened to make sense at the time.

Growing up in Houlton, Smith always wanting to be in the music business, but couldn’t play an instrument or sing. He was “pretty good” at numbers, though, so the business side of music made sense to him. After graduating from the University of Southern Maine, he eventually landed work as an agent.

Smith still remembers clearly the first time he met Snoop, more than 14 years ago.

“It was in Phoenix. I had never seen him perform before,” he said. “I was completely mesmerized by his live performance. It was just Snoop, a microphone and a DJ with a turntable. He destroyed the place. I’ve been a fan ever since.”

And although publicly Snoop often sounds like he’s speaking his own language, Smith said he’s never had trouble understanding the rapper. And Snoop has no difficulty understanding him, even though his roots in Los Angeles — where he was in a street gang — are a long way from Smith’s home in Aroostook County.

Smith calls Snoop “a pretty normal guy” who loves family and friends. He says his own children — Grace, 8, and Matthew, 6 — love their “uncle Snoop.”

Smith and Snoop have “been around the world several times together,” producing great memories. One that really sticks out in Smith’s mind was the time they landed at an airport in South Africa. The airport completely shut down so that everyone there could take time to get a look at Snoop.

“Everyone, pilots, airport staff, and travelers everyone stopped working to say hello to him. People were crying just to touch him,” Smith said. “He has such a powerful connection with people. It was really moving.”

 

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791–6454 or at [email protected]

Twitter: @RayRouthier