Uploaded on Oct 19, 2009
Michael Whitaker Smith was born October 7, 1957 to Paul and Barbara Smith in Kenova, West Virginia. 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.
Michael attended college at Marshall University in West Virginia but after one semester dropped out to move to Nashville and pursue a career in music. (side note trivia: In 1992 Michael received an honorary Doctorate of Music degree from Alderson-Broaddus College in Philippi, West Virginia.)
The years 1979-1981 are best written by Michael himself in his book It's Time To Be Bold. From chapter 1, we read:
While playing keyboards for the group Higher Ground, I signed my first songwriting contract with Paragon/Benson Publishing Company. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I was knocking down $200 a week to do something that I loved. Writing songs for a living meant that I didn't have to wait tables anymore, or work at Coca-Cola, or plant shrubs with a landscaping company.
I thought my life had peaked and God didn't have to do anything else for me. I wasn't looking for a record deal, a higher salary, or even a girlfriend - and especially not a wife. Writing music, I was as content as I'd ever been, and I labored at it sixteen hours a day. Then 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!
In 1982, Michael was asked to play keyboards in a band that was backing up young artist Amy Grant. He also continued to write songs for himself.
The story goes that Amy's managers, Mike Blanton and Dan Harrell could not find a Christian record label that would sign Michael or a young New Yorker named Kathy Troccoli. Believing so much in these two young talents, they started Reunion Records.
Michael made his very first record in 1983 and it was called "Michael W. Smith Project." Michael wrote all the music and wife Debbie wrote the lyrics. The now famous song "Friends" debuted on this album. Michael continued to tour with Amy, now as her opening act.
From there - the records kept coming, and then the books as well:
1984 - the album "Michael W. Smith 2"
1985 - the video "Michael W. Smith Live in Concert"
1986 - the album "The Big Picture" and Michael's first book Old Enough to Know
1987 - the album "The Live Set" and the video "The Big Picture Tour"
1988 - the album "i 2 (EYE)"
1989 - the album "Christmas"
1990 - the album "Go West Young Man" which saw the song "Place in This World" hit the top 5 in pop charts, and helped earn him American Music Award's New Artist of the Year.
1992 - the album "Change Your World"
1993 - the album "The First Decade" (a best-of album) as well as a limited edition 2-cd boxed set entitled "The Wonder Years."
1995 - the album "I'll Lead You Home"
1997 - the book It's Time to Be Bold and the book Friends Are Friends Forever
1998 - the album "Live the Life" and the book Your Place In This World and at Christmas his second Christmas album "Christmastime"
1999 - the album "This Is Your Time," the book This Is Your Time, as well as a cookbook with his mom entitled Cooking with Smitty's Mom and a children's book co-authored with wife Debbie entitled Where's Whitney?
2000 - the album "Freedom"
2001 - the book I Will Be Your Friend and the album "Worship"
2002 - the book Worship, the book The Price of Freedom the vhs/dvd "Worship" and the album "Worship Again"
2003 - the CD box set "The Gospels Come to Life" (narration of the four gospels), a DVD "The Bigger Picture" and the album "The Second Decade" with a limited edition DVD
2004 - album "Healing Rain"
2006 - the movie and soundtrack "The Second Chance
2006 - the album "Stand"
2007 - the album "It's A Wonderful Christmas"
2008 - the album "A New Hallelujah"
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