Michael Whitaker Smith is consistent. Not simply because his pop and worship discography is lined with dozens of platinum and gold recordings, and runs deep with number one hits spanning over three decades of artistry, but Michael—the person—is consistent. His care for his continually expanding craft is merely a tending to the medium in which he believes he can communicate the greatest truth best—that a Creator loves every single last one of us perfectly, regardless of tribe, or tongue, or denomination, whether in a state of belief or unbelief.
Smith’s songs have long encouraged unity in love. “Give It Away,” “Love Crusade” and even his staple ballad, “Friends,” all verse-and-chorus a desire to see the world internalize the truth that we are loved completely by God, so that we can then more readily, and freely, and liberally, love each other. Sure, we hear the “love one another” conversation often. For those of us who grew up in the Christian church, our first lessons in faith were motivated by Jesus’ directive to “love your neighbor as yourself.” But has the core message of Christianity fallen on deaf ears? Through its repetition from our church’s pulpits, have we forgotten to engage with it within our hearts, and enact it with our own hands and feet?
Releasing two recordings back-to-back, an all-new studio pop record, A Million Lights (buy), plus a brand new live worship album, Surrounded (buy)—both via his self-owned Rocketown Records and The Fuel Music—the multi-GRAMMY Award winning singer and songwriter suggests that unity born from love is a message worth repeating, and he just happens to repeat it best in song.
Eavesdrop in on this exclusive CCM Magazine cover conversation to hear from a legend whose legacy goes far beyond record sales and radio singles, into the heart of a man compelled to bring people together through the love he first discovered through the legacy of another man … a man named Jesus.
CCM Magazine: Take me back a couple of years. I’ve heard you say you felt you lost your “voice” in music. Questions of, Am I relevant? Do I have anything left to say? How did that season result in these two brand new records?
Michael W. Smith: Honestly, I think a lot of this had to do with the passing of my dad … crossing over to the other side. It’s been a little over two years and I’m still grieving. You’re never ready to say goodbye to your dad. It makes you reassess life, and makes you want to aspire to be like your dad, because my dad was amazing and he finished well. I’m thinking, Oh my gosh, I’m the next in line.