Its was more than twenty years ago when Michael W. Smith first began recording music. Little did he know at the time the he and others like Amy Grant were blazing a trail for a new genre of music.
"I think back in the 80's nobody took us seriously," remembers Smith. "It was kind of that quote-unquote gospel music. We're not interested, it doesn't have any value in pop radio, we don't like people preaching at us...whatever all the excuses were. And then obviously Amy Grant opened up the door, obviously my song "My Place In This World" opened up the door. I mean I get all these younger artist who have become very successful and they come up to me and say man your my hero. It kind of takes you back a little bit. Its a little overwhelming. But you know back then we didn't know we were blazing a trail, we just did what we loved to do and it connected. I think more than anything I'm just really grateful."
In twenty years of work, Michael W. Smith has won three Grammy's, 40 Dove Awards and recorded 29 number one singles. He has become friend and confident to those in the secular music world. A close friend to President Bush. Living with success he says can be a struggle without faith and the power of prayer.
"The cool thing about feeling really secure and really great about where I'm at today is that is I think there is more a sense of calling, more than anything," says Smith. "I don't have to come out here and do this. I'm not out here just to promote "Healing Rain" and to sell records. Or to be on T-V. There's just a strong sense that there is a real calling of God on my life at this point to do what I'm doing. I think there are a lot of supernatural things that happen when I play the piano or lead people into a worship time. And I don't understand it and its really okay that I don't understand it. Its a real mystery."
At 47 years old, Smith says he doesn't see the end in site yet. He has just finished a movie that is due out this fall. And chances are he'll be back in the studio by Christmas. He also continues to work with his club for teens he developed back in his hometown of Nashville called "Rocketown." But with all he had done, and hopes to do, this husband and father of five prayer is to be remembered in a very simple way.
"Michael W. was a God fearing man who loved his wife and kids well. Period." That says Smith is the only legacy he hopes to leave behind.
Clint Yeatts, KLTV-7 News. firstname.lastname@example.org