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Editors’ Notes

At the start of his Christian music career, Michael W. Smith was known primarily as a songwriter and keyboardist. Michael W. Smith Project, his 1983 debut as an artist, came on the heels of his high-profile stint in Amy Grant’s touring group. The album’s heavy use of synthesizers lends it a sound somewhere between the Doobie Brothers and Mannheim Steamroller, spiced up at times with techno-pop touches. Smith tries a little bit of everything here, testing out his arena rock chops on “Be Strong and Courageous,” experimenting with jittery New Wave rhythms on “You Need a Savior” and dabbling in jazz-funk on “Looking Up.” “Sonata in D Minor” and “Alpha Overture” are well-rendered classical flourishes, while “Great is the Lord” is a stirring contemporary hymn. As a singer, Smith still doesn’t evidence the confidence he would show on later albums, though the sensitive ballad “Friends” hints at his later intimate style. Songs like “Too Many Times” foreshadow the powerful declarations of faith that would be a hallmark of his late ‘80s and ‘90s work.

Customer Reviews

Loved this album as a young teen...great memories

I know that in today's music this is probably a very obscure album, but it, along with many other MWS albums, we're really inspirational and made a real impact at a time when I was learning about all of the things he was singing about. We played his music in bands, and I had really enjoyed these albums a ton. I guess its odd in saying so since I was into Van Halen, Rush, Ozzy around the same time. Go figure. I guess that's a real testimony on how God can break through, even in the least likely places of life.

This is a great album, and the ones that came after it, especially the live album, were excellent! I do wish itunes carried the live album that carried these tunes and his early work.


Born: October 7, 1957 in Kenova, WV

Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Michael W. Smith became one of the most enduringly popular artists in the contemporary Christian music market while also finding brief success as a mainstream artist. The songwriter was born in Kenova, West Virginia, the son of an oil refinery worker and a caterer. He became a devout Christian at age ten and spent his teenage years around a support group of fellow believers who frequently gathered to create music. That support group split up after high school, and Smith turned to alcohol, drugs,...
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