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Michael W. Smith

Michael Whitaker Smith (born October 7, 1957 in Kenova, West Virginia) is an American singer, songwriter and keyboardist.

Since his first solo project in 1983, Smith has become one of the most popular artists in the Contemporary Christian music world, while also finding considerable success in the mainstream. Smith has frequently topped both Christian radio and Billboard charts, and is often listed as one of the top keyboardists in rock and roll in Keyboard Magazine[?]. Smith had sold more than seven million records and had 25 #1 hit songs.

By the time Smith graduated from high school, he had found himself with serious drug and alcohol abuse problems. Nevertheless, he was able to get through a couple of years of college and develope his songwriting skills with various local bands. In October of 1979, Smith suffered an emotional and mental breakdown that awakened a recommittment to the Christian beliefs of his childhood. He cleaned up his substance abuse problem and began playing keyboards for the CCM group, Higher Ground[?].

In 1981, Smith was signed as a writer to Meadowgreen Music[?], where he racked up a number of highly successful gospel hits penned for artists like Sandi Patti[?], Kathy Troccoli[?], Bill Gaither[?] and Amy Grant. 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 record his first Grammy nominated solo project the following year.

By the time Smith's second pop album was released in 1984, he was headlining his own tours. In 1986, Smith released the critically accliamed rock effort The Big Picture, with well known record producer Johnny Potoker[?] (Brian Eno, Genesis, Madonna, No Doubt, Talking Heads, etc).

After the release of his 1988 effort, I 2 eye, Smith once again teamed up with Amy Grant for her "Lead Me On World Tour". The following year, Smith recorded his first Christmas album.

In 1990, Smith released Go West Young Man, which was his first real mainstream effort. That album was followed by 1992's Change Your World, 1995's I'll Lead You Home and 1998's Live The Life. Also in 1998, Smith released his second Christmas effort, Christmastime. In 1999, Smith released This Is Your Time, largely inspired by the Columbine shootings. Smith had been asked to perform at some of the memorial services that were held in honor of the victims, which made a huge impression on Smith.

Nearly all of Smith's albums contain at least one instrumental track, and in 2000, Smith recorded his first all instrumental album,Freedom. The following year, Smith released an all praise and worship album, called Worship, which was followed by a sequel, Worship Again. Both albums were recorded live in concert. A Worship Again DVD was released in 2002, which immediately topped the Billboard video charts.

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