Nov 3, 2009

Q&A with Smitty

by Amanda Sullivan

Liberty Champion (LC): Where do you hope to see the Christian music industry going?

Michael W. Smith (MWS): The worship movement is huge, and it’s progressing. There’s also a lot of aggressive music that’s going on that’s reaching the young kids, and I think that’s fine. My hope would be that we would be innovative and start leading the way instead of following. I think we just kind of jump on to the latest (trend), and we follow it. I hope that we can be more creative when it comes to creating art — not only with music but with painting. I think that we need to be on the front lines of serving the poor — doing the stuff that really resonates with the heart of God. That would be my hope and goal, to see us as an industry not spending our time at award shows. We’ve been given this platform, and how do we reflect what God really wants to do on the earth. I don’t think we need to drive around all the time being rock stars. It’s got to make a difference, whether it’s working with Compassion International or stepping into your own backyard. Just make a difference.

LC: What is your favorite part of the writing process?

MWS: My favorite part would be when I write a great song, which I don’t know how often that happens. But when you hit on something, it just comes out of nowhere. You hit a chord progression and sing a melody, and you just go “Oh, wow.” I immediately reflect to when I wrote “All is well,” and the hairs on my arms stand up. I also think back to when I wrote “Place in this World,” I was crying when I wrote it. I didn’t even have the lyric, but I had the melody. I knew it was special. I wish those times happened more often. I write a lot of stuff that ends up on the shelf. It’s just part of the process. I like the process, the journey. I like fooling around and trying different things. It’s fun. It gets a little discouraging from time to time. You’ll go two months and not write anything that’s worth a flip. You’ll get a little worried that you need to find a new job and then a month later you write something that you
hear people singing years later.

LC: What is it like touring with Meredith Andrews?

MWS: This is her stomping grounds. Obviously, it’s a big night for her being back here. What I like about Meredith is that (she) is extremely authentic — what you see is what you get. I have to be honest; I get a little skeptical because I encounter a lot of non-authenticity in the industry. I automatically check. I don’t need to be that way, but I’ve been disappointed so many times.

Somebody gave me her record, and I liked it so much that I just called her up out of the blue. When I called, I think she was having a cow on the other end of the phone. I just told her that I loved her record. Later, we were at a worship conference and she led before me. When she led, I just felt myself being led. The way to lead me is to have someone who has a really pure heart. She’s not up there for herself. From that point on, I’ve been sold.

LC: What do you hope that people leave with
after your concerts?

: I think the real key is that people know there’s hope, and that they are loved — loved unconditionally. That might sound simple and trite, but I still meet people all around the world and in America that don’t think this amazing love of God is for them. There’s too much baggage and history. A lot of these people have been taught a lot of legalism — if you do all the right things then you might get a few more perks or rewards. I think when you come to realize the love of God, and then you can get through anything. That’s really my hope and prayer.

Contact Amanda Sullivan at

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