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Michael W. Smith
Michael W. Smith is listed in the credits for the following albums:
- 1980 - Jamie Owens-Collins - Straight Ahead: Songwriter
- 1981 - Gary McSpadden - It Was Enough: Songwriter
- 1981 - Brown Bannister - Talk to One Another: Songwriter
- 1982 - Amy Grant - Age to Age: Songwriter, Keyboards
- 1982 - White Heart - White Heart: Songwriter, Piano
- 1982 - Truth - Keeper Of My Heart: Songwriter
- 1982 - Glenn Garrett - Nothing Without You: Piano, Background Vocals
- 1983 - Sandi Patty - More than Wonderful: Songwriter
- 1983 - David Meece - Count the Cost: Songwriter, Keyboards, Synthesizers
- 1983 - Amy Grant - A Christmas Album: Songwriter, Keyboards
- 1983 - Michael W. Smith - Project: Producer, Songwriter, Assistant Engineer, Piano, Synthesizers, Vocals
- 1984 - Billy Sprague - What A Way To Go: Producer, Songwriter, Keyboards, Vocoder, Effects, Background Vocals
- 1984 - Amy Grant - Straight Ahead: Songwriter, Keyboards
- 1984 - Kathy Troccoli - Heart and Soul: Songwriter, Synthesizer, Piano, Moog Bass
- 1985 - Scott Wesley Brown - Somebody's Brother: Songwriter
- 1985 - Amy Grant - Unguarded: Songwriter, Keyboards
- 1986 - Amy Grant - Collection: Songwriter, Keyboards
- 1986 - Sandi Patty - Morning Like This: Songwriter
- 1987 - Prism - Yellow: Songwriter
- 1987 - John Fischer - Casual Crimes: Vocals
- 1988 - Amy Grant - Lead Me On: Songwriter, Keyboards
- 1989 - Amy Grant - A Moment In Time: Songwriter, Keyboards, Background Vocals
- 1989 - White Heart - Collector's Disc (Whiteheart / Vital Signs): Songwriter, Piano
- 1992 - Mylon LeFevre - Faith, Hope and Love: Background Vocals
- 1992 - Michael W. Smith - Change Your World: Songwriter, Keyboards, Vocals
- 1994 - Guardian - Swing Swang Swung: Piano
- 1994 - Randy Stonehill - Lazarus Heart: Keyboards, Vocals
- 1994 - Kathy Troccoli - Stubborn Love [rerelease]: Songwriter
- 1995 - Geoff Moore - Familiar Stranger: The Early Works of Geoff Moore: Keyboards
- 1997 - Chris Rice - Deep Enough To Dream: Executive Producer
- 1998 - Michael W. Smith - Live the Life: Producer, Songwriter, Programming, Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals
- 1998 - Crystal Lewis - Gold: Songwriter
- 1999 - Guardian - Sunday Best: Piano
- 2000 - Michael W. Smith - Freedom: Executive Producer, Producer, Songwriter, Piano, Keyboards, Programming, Hammond B-3 Organ
- 2001 - 4Him - Chapter One ...a decade: Songwriter
- 2001 - Tait - Empty: Piano
- 2012 - Dan Macaulay - From You For You: Producer, Songwriter, Piano
- 2013 - Graham Kendrick - Worship Duets: Duet Vocals
Michael W. Smith was born on October 7, 1957. Smith is a Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor. He is one of the best-selling and most influential artists in Contemporary Christian music. Smith also has achieved a considerable amount of success in the mainstream music industry, and is a three-time Grammy Award winner, and has earned 40 Dove Awards. Over the course of his career, Michael W. Smith has sold more than 13 million albums and recorded 29 #1 Hit songs, fourteen gold albums, and five platinum albums. Michael W. Smith is also an American Music Award recipient.
Michael Whitaker Smith was born to Paul and Barbara Smith in Kenova, West Virginia. His father was an oil refinery worker at the Ashland Oil Refinery, one of the top ten largest oil refineries in the world, in nearby Catlettsburg, Kentucky and his mother was a caterer. He inherited his love of baseball from his father, who had played in the minor leagues. As a child, he developed a love of music through his church. He learned piano at an early age and sang in his church choir. At the age of 10, he had "an intense spiritual experience" that led to his becoming a devout Christian. "I wore this big cross around my neck," he would recall, "It was very real to me." He became involved in Bible study and found a group of older friends who shared his religious faith.
After his older Christian friends moved away to college, Smith began to struggle with feelings of loneliness and alienation. After graduating from high school, he gravitated toward alcohol and drugs. He attended Marshall University for a few semesters while developing his songwriting skills. He also played with various local bands around Huntington, West Virginia. During that time, his friend Shane Keister, who worked as a session musician in Nashville, encouraged him to move to Nashville, the Country Music capital, and pursue a career in music.
In 1978, Smith moved to Nashville, taking a job as a landscaper to support himself. He played with several local bands in the Nashville club scene. He also developed a problem with substance abuse. “ I really started losing touch when I moved to Nashville, around April of '78. I was smokin' marijuana, drinking, doing some other drugs; just being crazy, you know. My mom and dad knew what I was doing. But they never hassled me, they just prayed for me. And I felt convicted by God. Every time I'd wake up I knew: This isn't me. But I couldn't change myself.”
In November 1979, Smith suffered a breakdown that led to his recommitment to Jesus Christ. The next day he auditioned for a new Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) group, Higher Ground, as a keyboardist and got the job. It was on his first tour with Higher Ground, playing mostly in churches, that Smith was finally able to put the drugs and alcohol behind him.
In 1981, Smith was signed as a writer to Meadowgreen Music, where he wrote a number of gospel hits penned for artists such as Sandi Patty, Kathy Troccoli, Bill Gaither and Amy Grant, to the effect that some of these popular worship songs can now be found in church hymnals. The following year, Smith began touring as a keyboardist for Grant on her Age to Age tour. He would eventually become Grant's opening act and recorded his first Grammy-nominated solo album The Michael W. Smith Project (which he also produced) in 1983 on the Reunion Records label, a label started by Grant's brother-in-law, Dan Harrell, along with Michael Blanton. This album contained the first recording of his hit "Friends", which he co-wrote with his wife Deborah. They wrote it one afternoon for a friend who was moving away.
By the time Smith's second pop album was released in 1984, he was headlining his own tours. In 1986, Smith released The Big Picture, produced by Johnny Potoker. Smith intros "Tearing Down the Walls" with an Amy Grant recording of "Emmanuel" played backwards via the CD search button. He has explained that he and Potoker were trying to come up with a different way to go into the song.
After the release of his 1988 effort, i 2 (EYE), Smith once again teamed up with Grant for her "Lead Me On World Tour". The following year, Smith recorded his first Christmas album.
In the mainstream
In 1990, Smith released Go West Young Man, his first mainstream effort, including the mainstream crossover hit "Place in This World," which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1992, he released Change Your World (which included the No. 1 adult contemporary hit "I Will Be Here for You"), 1995's I'll Lead You Home, and 1998's Live the Life. Also in 1998, Smith released his second Christmas effort, Christmastime. In 1999, Smith released "This Is Your Time" (about Cassie Bernall, one of the students killed during the Columbine massacre). In the music video for this song, the beginning shows a real video of Bernall talking about her religious beliefs and how she wanted to spread the word of God. Smith wrote the song with Wes King, the brother-in-law of Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Smith had been asked to perform at some of the memorial services that were held in honor of the victims.
In 1996, Smith opened his own record label, Rocketown Records, named for a song on The Big Picture. He does not personally record on it. He states the label is driven by the artists, and the first artist signed was Chris Rice, who had written "Go Light Your World", a No. 1 hit song by Kathy Troccoli, in 1995. In 1999, Smith collaborated with Jim Brickman on "Love of My Life" from the album Destiny, which went to No. 9 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks.
Nearly all of Smith's albums contain at least one instrumental track, and in 2000, Smith recorded his first all instrumental album, Freedom. The following year, Smith released an all Christian music album, Worship, on September 11. This album was followed by a sequel, Worship Again in 2002, recorded live at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY. Both albums were recorded live in concert. (Both are also the only two albums to be composed almost entirely of songs he did not write himself). A Worship DVD, which comprised a selection of songs from both albums, was recorded live in Edmonton, Alberta at YC Alberta and released in 2002. It immediately topped the Billboard video charts and went gold in both the U.S. and Canada.
Smith won the Male Vocalist of the Year award at the GMA Music Awards in 2003.
Michael wrote a song entitled "There She Stands", inspired by the September 11, 2001 attacks. He performed this song live for the 2004 Republican National Convention, saying that President George W. Bush, whom he said is a fan and a family friend, had asked him to write a song about the attacks.
Smith's album, Healing Rain, was released in 2004 and debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 200 Chart. The title track rose to No. 1 on the Radio & Records Charts and a music video for the song was released. The album nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album, combines the pop style of his previous recordings with the religious feel of his two releases in that genre. A new album, Stand, was released in November 2006.
In October 2007, he released It's a Wonderful Christmas. On June 20, 2008, Smith recorded his third live Worship album at the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, titled A New Hallelujah. It was released in October 2008. That same month he began a tour with Steven Curtis Chapman. In September 2010, he released Wonder, and in October started touring with Third Day, tobyMac, and Max Lucado on the "Make a Difference" tour.
In 1994, Smith opened a teen club, named Rocketown, in Nashville, Tennessee (6th Avenue). Later in early 2003, the club was moved to a new location — a renovated warehouse in downtown Nashville. The venue offers a large dance floor, extensive indoor skate park, and a cafe hosting live acoustic music.
Smith is actively involved in volunteer service and is vice chair of the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, which is chaired by Jean Case of the Case Foundation. He is also an avid spokesperson for sponsoring children through Compassion International. Smith finished work on a film directed by Steve Taylor entitled The Second Chance which was released on February 17, 2006 in selected theatres. In the movie, he stars as a pastor assigned to work in the inner city. The DVD of the movie was released in July 2006.
Smith is married to Deborah "Debbie" Kay Davis (b. 1958) and has five children: Ryan Whitaker, Whitney Katherine Smith-Mooring (married to Jack Mooring (of the band Leeland)), Tyler Michael (keyboard player for the United Tour), Anna Elizabeth and Emily Allison. He resides in the Nashville suburbs and spends time at the Smith family farm.
Alderson-Broaddus College awarded Smith the degree Doctor of Music honoris causa in 1992.
Smith is the founding and visionary pastor of New River Fellowship in Franklin, Tennessee where he was the lead pastor from 2006 to 2008. Currently Smith and his wife remain involved members of the church.
Michael W. Smith. (2011, December 15). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:41, December 28, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Michael_W._Smith&oldid=465947243