Smith attended Auckland's Willow Park Primary School, Takapuna Normal Intermediate and Northcote College. In 1999, as a 16-year-old, Smith made the album Light From a Distant Shore after winning Best Female Vocalist at the National Jazz Festival of NZ. This album of Celtic music was produced by her stepfather who was a well-known musician in New Zealand.
In 2003, Smith moved to Wellington singing with TrinityRoots. She recorded an album Home, Land and Sea and toured with the band. In 2005, the 5-track Hollie Smith EP was released, featuring her own compositions. In 2006, she released her debut full-length album, Long Player. Also in 2006, the single "Bathe in the River", written by Don McGlashan, was released. The song, from the soundtrack of the New Zealand feature film, No. 2, was a significant hit for Smith, spending 22 weeks in the NZ Top 10.
In May, 2007, Smith signed a multi-album record deal with Manhattan Records, part of the Blue Note Label Group. This deal then collapsed which forced the singer to use the profits of Long Player to get out of the deal with Blue Note.
After a forced two year absence from the music industry, Hollie Smith released the album Humour and the Misfortune of Others on 15 March 2010, and toured New Zealand. She followed this soon after with the "Hollie and The Last S.O.S Tour" in New Zealand.
2011 saw the release of a collaborative album Smith produced with Electric Wire Hustle member Mara TK titled "Band of Brothers Vol. 1", which received a 4 star review from the NZ Herald's Russell Baillie, describing it as "a sideways step but still highly approachable".
In 2012, Smith along with fellow singer/songwriters Anika Moa and Boh Runga embarked on a sell out national acoustic church tour of New Zealand. Later that year Smith, Anika Moa and Boh Runga starred in an online video campaign supporting gay marriage, alongside other New Zealand singers Anika Moa and Boh Runga, as well as Olympian Danyon Loader and former Governor-General Dame Catherine Tizard.
In 2013 Smith, Anika Moa and Boh Runga released a collaborative album titled "Anika Boh Hollie". Following this they embarked on a national tour of concerts at wineries around New Zealand with the internationally acclaimed New Zealand group Fat Freddy's Drop.
Later in 2013, Smith was selected to perform at the Australasian World Music Expo in Melbourne, which resulted in an invitation to perform at the prestigious Montreal Jazz Festival in July 2014. There with her band she headlined her stage as part of the Les Soirees jazzy series of free outdoor concerts, performing two concurrent sets in front of an estimated audience of over 50,000. Reviewer Sharonne Cohen from US jazz magazine JazzTimes, went on to describe Smith's performance as "...powerhouse outdoor performance captivated thousands". From there Smith's northern hemisphere tour continued with a concert in New York at the Rockwood Music Hall and further concerts throughout UK/Europe including several for the New Zealand Commonwealth Games team in Glasgow.
In July 2015, Smith signed a licensing deal with Warner Music Group (NZ) and then in September of that year released the single "Lady Dee", followed by the 2016 release of her album "Water Or Gold" and released the singles "Helena", "Lead The Way" and "Water Or Gold".
In 2016 Hollie completed two tours of New Zealand a tour of Australia to promote the release of the album.Home, Land and Sea (2004) Trinity Roots
Hiatus on the Horizon (2005) Recloose
Chaos by Design (2006) Concord Dawn
Steps in Time (2006) Solaa
Based on a True Story (2007) Fat Freddy's Drop