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Christian Artist Michael W Smith Plays With the Spirit of Worship
Michael W. Smith has it all: incredible talent, good looks, and deep faith. It’s easy to become disillusioned in the music industry, especially after the kind of success Smith has achieved. Yet, through his faith and his music, Michael W. Smith is one of the true models of modern American music.
Born in West Virginia, Michael enjoyed playing baseball like the other little boys around him. What set him apart was his great affinity for music. He started playing the piano at an unusually young age. When he was only five years old, he wrote his first song. He loved to sing in the church choir, and when he reached his teens he felt ready to commit himself to the Lord. He had a happy childhood, nurturing his musical talent while praising the Lord with a group of other Christians in the neighborhood.
Michael had a rough time in his life when his older Christian friends went to college. Drugs and alcohol pushed him even lower. When he finally graduated from high school, he had been in college for less than a year when he quit to become a songwriter. Like her faith, writing songs and experimenting with music brought her a sense of fulfillment and happiness. He was involved in a few local bands at the time, and professional songwriting was the perfect career choice due to his passion for music.
His first songwriting contract was signed with a publishing company in 1981. He gave up his odd jobs, one of which was helping out at a landscaping company. Michael was first asked to write songs for rising musician Amy Grant. He accepted the job and also spent time working on his own material. Michael quickly gained a reputation as a successful songwriter for artists like Bill Gaither and Sandi Patty. Amy Grant’s management approached him to play keyboard on one of their tours, and Michael happily accepted.
Michael produced his first album, The Michael W. Smith, and it was released in 1983. The response was overwhelming and the album was nominated for a Grammy Award. The album was released on the Reunion Records label, launched by the management of Amy Grant. Traditional businesses were skeptical of adopting Christian acts at the time, so they started their own business. The label was so successful that music giant BMG Records took ownership in 1995.
Michael quickly followed the success of the first album. He worked hard to release three more in 1984, 1986 and 1988. His 1990 offering spawned the mainstream hit “Place in This World.” His albums did well throughout the 1990s, and in 1996 he started his own label called Rocketown Records to promote other Christian musicians.
National tragedies like the Columbine attack and 9/11 inspired Michael to write music in honor of the victims who lost their lives. He befriended the Bush family and U2 frontman and philanthropist Bono. Michael continued to make music into the new millennium, and in 2003 he received the Male Vocalist of the Year award from the GMA Awards. New Michael W. Smith albums were released in 2004 and 2006 to an ever-growing fanbase, thanks to Christian youth camps across the country playing his music.
So far, Michael W. Smith’s career has been long and illustrious. Having recorded 22 albums including a live album in 2002, he cemented his place in the annals of American gospel music. He’s won three Grammy Awards, been nominated for nine, and has an incredible 34 Dove Awards to his name. If he wasn’t destined for greatness, his musical talent and faith in God still made it.
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