As defining as his platinum pop and worship albums have become, there is yet another musical side to MICHAEL W. SMITH that is as passionate and creative. Ask the multiple GRAMMY Award winner, whose songs have changed so many peoples’ lives, to discuss his favorite film scores, and something changes within him. Like a sports fan rattling off player stats, he runs through a list of movies and the composers who made them come alive; testifying to the innate spiritual power of wordless music. Michael puts the same amount of passion into his words from the lectern as he does playing music on the same stage.
More than any other mainstream Christian artist, Michael has certainly broadened his own genre’s listening ear. Between 1999’s compelling This Is Your Time record and 2001’s much needed Worship set (released on September 11), he made the instrumental effort, Freedom, which has sold more than 500,000 copies.
In Glory, Smith’s twenty-third career album, he feeds the enthusiasm its predecessor stirred and soundly exceeds expectations. A sweeping cinematic statement rich in melodies, emotional range, and musical twists, it was born at a piano in Tennessee then completed with a 71-piece symphony orchestra in England at famed AIR Studios.
While the fact that Michael imagined each note heard on Glory clearly highlights his sophisticated talent as a serious musician, his first love was the pop song, figuring out The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” by ear as a child. Soon enough he would stop formal piano lessons, join bands, and move from West Virginia to Nashville, becoming a Christian artist whose dozens of No. 1 hits and fifteen million albums sold would impact a worldwide audience that could never be calculated.
In the midst of 22 albums, ten books of inspiration, as well as multiple awards (Dove awards and Grammy awards among them), Michael founded a teen club called Rocketown in an effort to provide a place for teens to gather in a safe, loving environment.
But for all of Michael’s accolades, from his involvement in his teen outreach program, leadership in his local church body, the business of being an artist, an author and a record label executive, Michael sums up his life as this, “to be remembered as a God-fearing man who loved his wife and kids well.”
Michael currently resides in Nashville.
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