Today The Praise Family is shining the spotlight on Gospel Artist Michael W Smith on his birthday TODAY!!
Michael Whitaker Smith was born to Paul and Barbara Smith in Kenova, West Virginia. His father was an oil refinery worker at the Ashland Oil Refinery, one of the ten largest oil refineries in the world, in nearby Catlettsburg, Kentucky. His mother was a caterer.He inherited his love of baseball from his father, who had played in the minor leagues. As a child, he developed a love of music through his church. He learned piano at an early age and sang in his church choir. At the age of 10, he had “an intense spiritual experience” that led to his becoming a devout Christian. “I wore this big cross around my neck,” he would recall, “It was very real to me.” He became involved in Bible study and found a group of older friends who shared his faith.
After his older Christian friends moved away to college, Smith began to struggle with feelings of loneliness and alienation. After graduating from high school, he gravitated toward alcohol and drugs.He attended Marshall University for a few semesters while developing his songwriting skills. He also played with various local bands around Huntington, West Virginia. During that time, his friend Shane Keister, who worked as a session musician in Nashville, encouraged him to move to Nashville, the Country Music capital, and pursue a career in music.
In 1978, Smith moved to Nashville, taking a job as a landscaper to support himself. He played with several local bands in the Nashville club scene. He also developed a problem with substance abuse.
In November 1979, Smith suffered a breakdown that led to his recommitment to Jesus Christ. The next day he auditioned for a new contemporary Christian music (CCM) group, Higher Ground, as a keyboardist and got the job. His lead vocals were heard on much of CCM radio with the single, “I Am”. It was on his first tour with Higher Ground, playing mostly in churches, that Smith was finally able to put the drugs and alcohol behind him.
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courtesy of Wikipedia.com