Michael Whitaker Smith became one of the most enduringly popular artists on the contemporary Christian music front and also found considerable success as a mainstream artist. In 1981, he signed to Meadowgreen Music as a staff writer, providing gospel hits to such artists as Sandi Patti, Kathy Troccoli, Bill Gaither, and Amy Grant. His 1983 debut album, Michael W. Smith Project, garnered him a Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Performance. Afterward, he changed musical directions and began recording more rock-oriented music in order to reach a younger audience. As a result, some of his songs became more secular and began breaking through to mainstream audiences.
Michael was born October 7, 1957 to Paul and Barbara Smith in Kenova, West Virginia. His father was an oil refinery worker and his mother was a caterer and church secretary. A sister named Kim would follow. Michael was a typical boy - active in baseball, his family's church activities, and playing piano. But in not-so-typical fashion, he wrote his first song at age five. At the age of ten, he made a decision to give his life to Christ. He dreamed of playing professional baseball. But seems like God has other plans for his life.
One can see the humility and humbleness of Michael as he prayed that prayer while finishing up the last song of his very first album - Michael W. Smith Project. God clearly honored that. It has been a great journey that he still have to pinch himself from time to time to make sure all is real.
Yet, how many people knew that Michael almost lost himself in drugs at one point?
Being saved at the tender age of 10 and had a massive encounter with the Holy Spirit when he was 13, Michael had a group of older friends who were his support group. As life has it, they all left for college or got married a few years later and Michael found himself more or less alone.
He thought he could play with fire and not get burnt. So he tried a little here and tried a little there. All of a sudden, he found himself stuck in the pit for 4 years. He could not let go of the drugs.
Despite knowing what Michael was doing, his parents continued to love on him and prayed for him. They never disowned him and never turned their backs on him. They just loved him unconditionally.
God answered his parents' prayers.
In November of 1979, God touched Michael so strongly that he was never the same since. That was the turning point which led to the impact his songs have brought to millions and an identity that is secure in Christ.
For a copy of Michael's latest album, Sovereign, please visit our Crossroads' eStore!