Michael W. Smith has been releasing Christian music for a long time now. From his first album release in 1983 to now, his heart for the Lord is very evident in the songs that he writes. He has achieved major success in the music world with 3 Grammy awards, 36 Dove awards and 6 platinum albums to name a few. He has a wonderful testimony and when he leaves for Glory his music will live on for years to come.
Michael Whitaker Smith was born on October 7, 1957. He grew up in church and participated in many functions there, including singing in the choir. Michael was always interested in music. He wrote his first song when he was 5 years old! He learned how to play piano and that was a big part of his musical journey. Through his school years to the end of high school, Michael was very involved with his friends. They played music together frequently and disbanded after high school.
After high school he gave into desires of the world (marijuana, alcohol and other drugs) for a short time. After realizing the sin he was in, he recommitted his life back to Christ and joined a group called Higher Ground, in 1979. His audition landed him the spot as keyboardist for the band. Around this same time he met his future wife. Here is an excerpt about that moment from his book, “It’s Time To Be Bold:”
“…one afternoon while I was working in my office, Deborah Kay Davis walked by. I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. When she passed by, it was all over for me. I was blown away. Totally head over heels in love, I frantically picked up the phone and called my mother in West Virginia.
"Mom, I can’t believe it. You’re not going to believe this, Mom. I just saw the girl I’m going to marry.
"What’s her name?"
"I don’t know, Mom. I haven’t met her yet. But I gotta go. I’ll find out and call you back."
My poor mother! She must have thought I’d lost my mind. But I’d never been so clearheaded in my life.
I left my office and went searching for this girl in the warehouse. Sherlock Holmes couldn’t have done a better job of tracking her down, and eventually I found myself standing outside the ladies’ restroom, waiting for her to emerge. She walked out. I introduced myself. We were engaged three and a half weeks later – and married four months after that!”
Michael released his first album, “Michael W. Smith Project”, in 1983. This was the start of his musical journey as a solo artist. He did perform with Amy Grant for a while during this time and eventually they both moved on to be very successful musicians/songwriters.
As of 2012, Michael has released 23 albums, which have earned him many achievements. Here are his achievements so far: Grammy Awards: 3, Grammy Nominations: 13, Dove Awards: 36, Number One Songs: 31, Albums: 24, Double Platinum Albums: 1, Platinum Albums: 6, Gold Albums: 16, and Albums Sold: 17,210,000+.
His music is mostly considered as Christian Contemporary. One interesting fact is that on his first album he wrote all of the music, and his wife wrote all of the lyrics. This is truly inspiring to me in that music can really bring families together, especially music centered on Jesus!
"The Truth" Matthew 7:13-14 Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
His Top Songs
I think many would consider his number 1 song to be “Friends.” This song was named the #1 song of all time in 1998 by CCM Magazine. It debuted on his first album, “Michael W. Smith Project.” Some of his other big hits include: Secret Ambition, Above All, Healing Rain, Live The Life, This Is Your Time, I Will Be Here For You, Place In This World, Glorious Grace, Grace, and Heart of Worship.
He has had many more great songs besides these, but this is a good starting point. Below are a few of my favorite lyrics of his, and the songs they are from.
Friends – “And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.”
Healing Rain – “Healing rain, it comes with fire
So let it fall and take us higher
Healing rain, I’m not afraid
To be washed in Heaven’s rain”
Glorious Grace – “Let us praise the One who chose us
Let us thank the One who knows us
Set apart, blameless in His sight
Through the Son, we have faith, we have life
To the praise of His glorious grace”
Above All – “Crucified; Laid behind a stone
You lived to die, rejected and alone
Like a rose trampled on the ground
You took the fall and thought of me
I hope you have enjoyed this article on the life and music of Michael W. Smith. Let us know in the comments below what some of your favorite songs or stories of his are! God bless!
Are you a fan of Michael W. Smith's early works? Then check out this article to see where he ranks in the top 20 Christian songs of the '80's.
Resources- The Holy Bible, English Standard Version“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”, www.youtube.com,photo credit: p_c_w via photopin cc