Michael W. Smith
Michael Whitaker Smith (born October 7, 1957) is an American contemporary Christian musician, who has charted primarily in the contemporary Christian and occasionally in the mainstream charts. His biggest success in mainstream music was in 1991 when "Place in this World" hit No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Smith is a three-time Grammy Award winner, and has earned 40 Dove Awards. Over the course of his career, he has sold more than 13 million albums and recorded 29 No. 1 Hit songs, fourteen gold albums, and five platinum albums. Smith is an American Music Award recipient; he was also named one of People magazine's "Most Beautiful People". He has also published 12 books including This is Your Time, which he worked with Christian author Gary Thomas to write.Beginning (1981-1989)In 1981, Smith was signed as a writer to Meadowgreen Music, where he wrote numerous gospel hits penned for artists such as Sandi Patty, Kathy Troccoli, Bill Gaither and Amy Grant, to the effect that some of these popular worship songs can now be found in church hymnals. The following year, Smith began touring as a keyboardist for Grant on her Age to Age tour. He would eventually become Grant's opening act and recorded his first Grammy-nominated solo album The Michael W. Smith Project (which he also produced) in 1983 on the Reunion Records label, a label started by Grant's brother-in-law, Dan Harrell, along with Michael Blanton. This album contained the first recording of his hit "Friends", which he co-wrote with his wife Deborah. They wrote it one afternoon for a friend who was moving away.By the time Smith's second pop album "Michael W. Smith 2" was released in 1984, he was headlining his own tours. In 1986, Smith released The Big Picture, produced by John Potoker. Smith intros "Tearin' Down the Wall" with an Amy Grant recording of "Emmanuel" played backwards via the CD search button. He has explained that he and Potoker were trying to come up with a different way to go into the song.After the release of his 1988 effort, i 2 (EYE), Smith once again collaborated with Grant for her "Lead Me On World Tour". The following year, Smith recorded his first Christmas album.PublicationsOld Enough to Know. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1987.Friends are Friends Forever. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997.Your Place in This World. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1998.This Is Your Time: Make Every Moment Count. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999.The Price of Freedom. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001.Worship. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2002.Freedom. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard Corporation, 2002.It's Time to Be Bold. New York: Doubleday Books, 2003.Above All. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2003.Signs. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004.Healing Rain. Nashville: Thomas-Nelson. 2004.A Simple Blessing. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.The Power of an Ordinary Prayer: Worthy Publishing, 2013.Audio booksThe Gospels Come to Life. Irving, Texas: Gospels Come to Life, 2003.