Michael W. Smith’s last album, the 2008 live set “A New Hallelujah,” “didn’t do well at radio” according to the veteran Christian singer-songwriter. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a success.
In fact, the album (which was followed by a companion DVD) scored a Gospel Music Association Dove Award for Praise & Worship Album of the Year, while the title track was named Inspirational Song of the Year. Mission accomplished, as far as Smith is concerned.
“I think it’s just the experience,” Smith, 51, explains. “When you see it and watch it, it’s really an experience. People these days are looking for something authentic and real ... instead of just entertainment and a show. I have a different idea of what worship is; I just wanted for the night to create something ... so people will have some sort of encounter with God.
“I know it was a deep experience for me, a really emotional night, and you hope at the end of the night it translates to CD and DVD, and I think it did.”
Smith will be touring with “A New Hallelujah” through the rest of the year, but he’s also in the midst of creating more new musical experiences. He’s currently “a writing fool,” with 30-40 right now and more coming every day. Smith also is working on an instrumental album, but he plans to focus on a song-centered set — his first since 2006’s “Stand” — when he hits the studio in December.
“It’s a cool kind of departure, just something different,” Smith says of the new material. “Last week, I was writing this rock thing like Bruce Springsteen; I’ve never written anything like that. Then I was writing something that sounded like it’s right out of a movie, then I’m writing some pop songs.
“I never know what’s gonna spill out of me; the spigot is just open, and I can’t hit ‘record’ fast enough. It’s very exciting.”
Michael W. Smith, Natalie Grant and Phil Stacey perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday (Sept. 4) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $32.50 and $42.50 pavilion, $10 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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