Michael W Smith

From Wind Repertory Project
Michael W. Smith


Michael Whitaker Smith (b. 7 October 1957, Kenova, West Va.) is an American musician, who has charted in both contemporary Christian and mainstream charts.

As a child, Smith 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. After graduating from high school, he gravitated toward alcohol and drugs. He attended Marshall University while developing his songwriting skills but dropped out after one semester. He also played with various local bands around Huntington, West Virginia before moving to Nashville in 1978.

Smith played with several local bands in the Nashville club scene. He also developed a problem with substance abuse. In November 1979, Smith suffered a breakdown that led to his recommitment to Jesus Christ. The next day he auditioned for a new contemporary Christian music (CCM) group, Higher Ground, as a keyboardist and got the job.

His biggest success in mainstream music was in 1991 when Place in this World hit No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Over the course of his career, he has sold more than 18 million albums.

Smith is a three-time Grammy Award winner, an American Music Award recipient, and has earned 45 Dove Awards. In 1999, ASCAP awarded him with the "Golden Note" Award for lifetime achievement in songwriting, and in 2014 they honored him as the "cornerstone of Christian music" for his significant influence on the genre. He also has recorded 31 No. 1 Hit songs, fourteen gold albums, and five platinum albums. He has also starred in 2 films and published 13 books including This is Your Time, which he worked with Christian author Gary Thomas to write.

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