CCM: You’re the patriarch now, right?
MWS: Yeah, which is a little insane. So processing all that and making sure my mom’s good, and then, honestly, I didn’t feel like I had it in me to write anything else for a while. I remember saying to my team, “I think I’m just going to take a little break.”
2017 was awful. I don’t know anybody who said, “2017 was incredible.” [Laughs] And I’m not talking just politics. Lost loved ones. Even in the Smith family, we’ve had a trial like no other with one of our kids. And social media, and the bullying thing, and people taking their own lives—just awful. One day, I started writing a song, and I thought it was a good one. And then they just kept coming. I thought, I’ve got something to say. All of a sudden, I couldn’t hit record quick enough.
CCM: Was that the first time in a while that you felt that kind of energy, as far as from a songwriting perspective?
MWS: Yeah. [The first time in] three years probably. I always panic. It happens every few years, and I think, Well, it’s over. I’ve got to get another job. It’s been a great run. [Laughs] And then all of a sudden, it’s like, Wow, where’d that come from? I feel like I went to another territory, got on a plane and went to a country far, far away and discovered something, because I’m not just going to do the same ol’ thing. I’m not going to play it safe.
CCM: What continues to drive you—to continue to push you through to new ideas, new things?
MWS: I think this is what I’m made for. It would be different if I was tired, or sick, or I just didn’t want to do this anymore. That’s not the case. I’m still passionate—maybe more than I ever have been, believe it or not. I think the reason for that is … well, there’s mystery because there’s part of it that I don’t know, but I do know a big part of it is that, for the most part, I don’t really care what people think anymore. That is a freeing place. And so instead of comparing myself, which is very, very dangerous—and I’ve done it, every artist has done it—it’s so easy because everybody wants to be the man, and we’re supposed to be the little man, you know? We’re supposed to be small. If God’s going to raise us up, we have to be small. So not caring what people think has propelled me into, “I’m going after it,” but going after it in a pure way and not to try to prove anything.
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