Michael Whitaker Smith was born October 7, 1957 to Paul and Barbara Smith in Kenova, West Virginia. At the age of ten, he made a decision to give his life to Christ. He dreamed of playing...
Michael Whitaker Smith was born October 7, 1957 to Paul and Barbara Smith in Kenova, West Virginia. At the age of ten, he made a decision to give his life to Christ. He dreamed of playing professional baseball. Michael attended college at Marshall University in West Virginia but after one semester dropped out to move to Nashville and pursue a career in music. (side note trivia: In 1992 Michael received an honorary Doctorate of Music degree from Alderson-Broaddus College in Philippi, West Virginia.)
In 1982, Michael was asked to play keyboards in a band that was backing up young artist Amy Grant. He also continued to write songs for himself. Michael made his very first record in 1983 and it was called "Michael W. Smith Project." Michael wrote all the music and wife Debbie wrote the lyrics. The now famous song "Friends" debuted on this album. Michael continued to tour with Amy, now as her opening act. In the midst of 18 albums and ten books as well as the awards (Dove awards and Grammy awards among them), Michael and Debbie were blessed with five children: Ryan, Whitney, Tyler, Emily and Anna.
Throughout his career, Michael has had the opportunity to sing for Presidents and national leaders, and counts among his friends the Reverend Billy Graham and his son, Franklin Graham. He is active in Billy Graham Crusades as well as The Samaritan's Purse, the ministry headed by Franklin Graham. But for all of Michael's accolades, for his involvement in his teen outreach Rocketown, leadership in his local church body, the business of being an artist, an author and a record label executive, Michael sums up his life as this, "to be remembered as a God-fearing man who loved his wife and kids well.