Michael W. Smith

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  • I'll Lead You Home
  • Change Your World

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About Michael W. Smith

Michael Whitaker Smith is a self-motivating workaholic with a powerful voice, movie-star looks, and a roomful of Gospel Music Association Dove awards. The singer/songwriter parlayed his successful contemporary Christian music of the '80s into pop and adult-contemporary success in the '90s—peaking with his crossover hit "Place in This World"—before returning to the worship fold more or less exclusively since. Born in West Virginia in 1957, Smith received his big break from Amy Grant, who hired him as her featured keyboardist in 1981 and then tapped him as her opening act. Beginning with his 1983 solo debut, Michael W. Smith Project, Smith punctuated his big-voiced balladry with jazz-funk, techno-pop, jittery New Wave, and other sounds new to the CCM field—most notably on 1986’s The Big Picture, an innovative, hard-edged gem influenced by Talking Heads, U2, and Peter Gabriel. Smith's recordings of live, high-energy worship music became his bread and butter; he augmented those with a handful of Christmas albums, instrumental albums displaying a keen appreciation of Hollywood film-score styles, and Lullaby, the musical accompaniment to a children's book he co-wrote. In 2020, Smith enjoyed a non-holiday Christian Airplay hit with his cover of Nigerian gospel singer Simcha’s hit "Waymaker," a tune fans found hugely soothing during the global pandemic.

Kenova, WV, United States
October 7, 1957

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