A daughter of the late A. Ray Smith, who owned the former Tulsa Oilers baseball team, Smith moved to Tulsa in 1959. A onetime Tulsa nightclub owner and friend to many Tulsa Sound artists, Smith was the inspiration behind Leon Russell's song "Sweet Emily." Russell recalled how he came to write it while in the studio recording an album, and Emily was there visiting.
"She had fallen asleep in the control room and was snoring. We had an idea to write a song about her and have it playing when she woke up." Smith loved the results, even adopting "Sweet Emily" as her moniker.