by Michael W. Smith
After selling more than 15 million albums, scoring 28 No. 1 hits, earning three GRAMMY® Awards and more than 40 Dove Awards, musical icon Michael W. Smith opens a new chapter in his career with Sovereign, his first studio worship album since 2008. Well known as one of the most gifted artists and worship leaders of his generation, Smith’s not one to rest on past success, instead Smith’s deliberately entering a new creative chapter on Sovereign, crafting a vibrant collection of vertically-focused songs with a fresh sense of musical innovation.
“I feel like it’s a good season,” Smith says, leaning forward in a comfortable chair in the 1940s Tennessee farmhouse he’s converted into a studio. “I’m pretty passionate. I have lots of energy and I’m probably enjoying making music more than I ever have in my entire life. I’m having fun and I’m excited about this record and this next chapter.”
When it came time to write and record songs for his new album, Smith decided to enlist the talents of several young songwriters and producers that he hadn’t collaborated with previously. “I said, ‘I’m wide open and I need somebody to push me,’” Smith recalls. And he found a willing catalyst in Capitol CMG A&R ace Chris York. “Chris said, ‘Why don’t you write with this person? Why don’t we get this producer?’ I said, ‘Okay, I’ll get out of my comfort zone and try it’ and it’s been awesome! There’s new blood, new territory, new people. I’m freer. I’m willing to take some risks.”
Smith has always had a gift for delivering songs that capture the hearts of the listener and give voice to their thoughts and feelings. During his three-decade career, the Kenova, West Virginia native has shaped the Christian music landscape with such classic songs as “Friends,” which was named the No. 1 Song of All Time by CCM Magazine and “Healing Rain,” a powerful anthem that remains one of the best-loved songs in his extensive repertoire.
Whether sharing the gospel from stages all around the world or mentoring artists that seek his counsel on balancing family and music, Smith has long had a passion for serving God and serving others. It’s a fire that continues to burn brightly with no sign of abating. “I don’t see retirement anywhere in the Bible,” Smith says with a grin. “It’s a calling. I love to write. I love to play. It’s still the most beautiful place.”
Sovereign is also available as a deluxe edition, which includes a special DVD and features guest appearances from Kari Jobe and Leeland Mooring.