Michael W. Smith

  • Contemporary Christian musician and songwriter, born in 1957 from Kenova West Virginia.
  • Smith developed a love of music at church, and at 10 years old, he had a spiritual experience that developed his devotion to Christian music. After high school, he became addicted to drugs and alcohol. He wrote songs and played with bands around Huntington West Virginia, until a friend who was a session musician in Nashville suggested that he move to Nashville to pursue a career in music. He made the move in 1978, and played in several bands while working as a landscaper and falling deeper into addiction. When he was 22 years old, he suffered a breakdown, and recommitted to Christianity as his escape from addiction. He auditioned with the Contemporary Christian band Higher Ground, and was chosen to be their keyboardist and vocalist.
  • In 1981, while touring with Higher Ground, Smith was signed to a writing contract with a music company that produced Christian music. His gospel songs were recorded by artists such as Sandi Patti, Bill Gaither and Amy Grant. Grant asked Smith to play keyboards on her Age to Age tour in 1982. Eventually, Smith became the opening act for Grant on tour. He signed a recording contract, and his debut album, Michael W. Smith Project, was released in 1983. Three more Christian albums were released between 1984 and 1988 – 1988’s i 2 (EYE) album peaked at #1 on the Top Contemporary Christian chart. Sixteen songs from these albums made the top 10 of Christian music charts.
  • Smith crossed over into mainstream music in 1990 with his album Go West Young Man. The album included the single Place In This World, which peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. During the 90s, he released 6 studio albums – 3 of them were certified platinum in sales. These records were inspirational pop albums – secular albums with a touch of religion to them. In 1999, Smith was the first Christian artist to receive a lifetime achievement in songwriting award from ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers).
  • His 16 albums since 2000 continued to focus on Contemporary Christian, hymns and worship music, with 25 songs charting on various Contemporary Christian charts.
  • Smith’s first effort as an author was published in 1987 with Old Enough To Know, directed at teenagers and struggles that many teenagers face. He has published 13 books, all of them from a spiritual point of view. He also has acted in 3 films, and starred as James the disciple in the live musical television special The Passion in 2016.
  • He is active in Billy Graham Crusades, and he sang the hymn Just As I Am at the memorial service for Graham at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda after Graham died – this song was the altar call song used by Billy Graham for many years.
  • Smith has won 3 Grammy awards in Gospel categories, and has earned 45 Dove awards, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the Christian music industry. Only Steve Curtis Chapman has won more Dove awards.
  • In today’s world especially – I enjoy listening to music that has a positive message to it. You can count on Contemporary Christian music to do just that. Here is the video to Michael W. Smith’s most recent single, titled Surrounded (Fight My Battles). Love it!

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