Song:Place In This World
Album:The First Decade 1983-1993
Michael W. Smith is a very successful Contemporary Christian singer songwriter who had very brief pop crossover success with the 1991 top ten pop hit Place In This World. Christian artists need to be careful as with crossover success they risk alienating their core audience. He was born Oct. 7, 1957 in Kenova, WV. Smith learned to play piano as a child and sang in the church choir. He became a devout Christian at age 10. But he developed drug and alcohol problems when he was in college and this continued when he moved to Nashville in 1978. A 1979 nervous breakdown snapped Smith out of it and by 1981 he was a staff songwriter for Meadowgreen Music. His songs started getting attention and this led to Smith touring with Amy Grant who was very popular at the time. He also signed with her label Reunion Records owned by Grant's manager and brother-in-law. Smith became very successful in the CCM market and was headlining his own tours by the mid-80s. But Reunion saw pop crossover potential in Smith just as they had with Grant. So they made a deal with Geffen Records to promote Smith to mainstream radio. Smith's first CD under this agreement was Go West Young Man in 1990. Place In This World reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1991. It was a surprise hit. Maybe listeners thought it was a new Richard Marx song. Smith wrote the song with long time songwriting partner Wayne Kirkpatrick and Amy Grant. The guitar solo is by Dann Huff. The only problem is his success did alienate the CCM audience and after two albums on Geffen, Smith ended his attempt to be a pop singer. Other than marketing, I'm not sure what the complaints were about. Place In This World is no different than Smith's CCM recordings. Reunion was sold to BMG in 1995. Smith continued with Reunion even after BMG was sold to Sony. He left in 2010 and now has his own label distributed through Sparrow/EMI. His latest CD Sovereign was released in May. This comp is a good intro to Smith's music. Here's the video for Place In This World by Michael W. Smith.