Christian star to celebrate new discWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
There was something about that 1981 movie that introduced Harrison Ford’s fedora-wearing, whip-wielding Indiana Jones that captivated Michael W. Smith.
“When I first saw ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’ I was smitten. What was it about this guy named John Williams who created something musically that blew me away? ‘Raiders’ was really the first [instrumental soundtrack] that really got my attention. And I just fell in love with not only that soundtrack, but everything he’s done since then,” Smith said.
It’s no surprise that the singer-songwriter eventually wrote some instrumentals.
“I sit down to write a pop song, and I’m writing stuff that sounds like it’s right out of a movie, and I guess it’s just my passion for film music,” he said during a call from his hometown of Franklin, Tenn.
“I love writing that kind of stuff, and I think that I dipped into a well that I didn’t even know existed inside of me.”
The Grammy Award winner dabbled in music sans lyrics with his first two holiday albums, “Christmas” in 1989 and “Christmastime” in 1998.
“My big shot at it was doing ‘Freedom,’ which came out in 2000,” he recalled. “That’s one of the most talked about records that people ask about when I meet them backstage; they seem to really love that album.”
Smith is excited for the release of his 23rd album and his second all-instrumental disc, “Glory,” due in stores Nov. 22.
“I think the beauty of instrumental music is that it can mean one thing to some person on the other side of the world and mean something completely different to the guy in L.A.,” the composer said. “There’s a bit of a mystery to it. This music can be healing to people, it can make people feel happy, it can make people feel optimistic and change the course of their life for good.”
Smith said two songs on “Glory” really resonate with him.
“ ‘The Patriot’ and ‘Heroes’ were very much inspired by my heart and love for our men and women who fight and defend our country — the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Special Forces, Coast Guard, anybody who has served or is serving — both those songs are sort of, I take my hat off to the men and women in uniform,” he said.
Fans who have tickets to Smith’s sold-out “It’s a Wonderful Christmas” show with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra at Stranahan Theater will hear some new songs on Nov. 26.
“There are a few things on the ‘Glory’ record that have a bit of Christmas feel; ‘Whitaker’s Wonder’ is one that we’re going to do, and I think we’re going to do ‘Glory Overture’ and ‘Redemption,’ ” he said.
“We’re looking forward to Toledo; it’s our first Christmas show of the season,” Smith said. “I think it’s just the most beautiful time of the year.”
The 54-year-old helped put contemporary Christian music in the spotlight with several hits, including “Friends” and “Pray for Me.” He also hit the pop charts with “Place in This World” in 1990 and “I Will Be Here for You” in 1992.
“[Faith is] the most important thing in my life; it makes me tick,” Smith said. “There’s not a whole lot of anxiety in my life; I’m not nervous, I’m not uptight. I’m very much at peace and I think that all comes from my faith.
“And I think if you can find yourself living stress-free and really being driven by your faith and live for doing things for other people more than doing things for yourself, I can’t imagine life being any better.”