Stephanie Neil

Heaven Adores You still

Director, producers recount making of Elliott Smith documentary ‘Heaven Adores You’

I’ve listened to the music of Elliott Smith, the prolific Portland-based singer-songwriter who rose to prominence in the late 1990s, for several, several years. Recently, during a closing shift at my night job, I used the restaurant’s premium speaker system to blast his 1998 release, XO. As his gentle guitar strumming emanated from the speakers, I realized that I now heard his music, understood his music in a more profound way than ever before. The catalyst for this was my having viewed the new documentary on Smith by director Nickolas Dylan Rossi, Heaven Adores You, and my subsequent interviews with those involved in the project. Listening to the hushed voice of Smith suddenly had greater poignancy. In Heaven Adores You, Smith’s friend and former publicist, Dorien Gay, reveals that friends and colleagues of Smith’s came together to host an intervention after the musician sent Gay an email that said to not be mad at him if he ever did something to himself. After that intervention, Smith wrote XO as a response to those friends who tried to help him. What started as a documentary about musicians who were inspired by Smith’s music grew into a film focused solely on Smith’s music. The…