When it comes to soul-stirring gospel music with rock star flare, no one does it quite like Michael W. Smith. The American singer, with three Grammy Awards behind him, is also one of the few artists who’ve had success in the mainstream. Fans can count their blessings that the 55-year-old is still actively touring, with Abu Dhabi being one of the stops in his latest five-nation tour. Ahead of his performance on Friday at the Armed Forces Officers Club, Smith spoke to Soundbites about music, inspirations and what we can expect from his concert in the UAE.
Q: Your instrumental music is often compared to film scores. Who’s your favourite film composer?
A: John Williams has always been my favourite composer. It all started with ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. I’m always fascinated with his melodies and his complete arrangements are just powerful.
Q: You have a few decades in the music business under your belt, what keeps you on your toes creatively?
A: Listening to new music is what keeps me going. I try to never rest and stop pushing the limits of what can be done on one of my albums. It keeps things fresh. There is so much creativity happening across the world that I’m constantly challenged to be at the top of my game.
Q: Do you think the music you play has an impact on broader culture?
A: Yes, I absolutely think it does. Whether you’re performing for Christians or otherwise, I just hope that people walk away from listening to my music encouraged and willing to spread and tell others about the message of what they’ve seen.
Q: What did you think of this year’s Grammy Award winners?
A: Winning three Grammys will always be a major thrill of my career. I’m happy for everyone that won. To get to that point takes a lot of hard work.
Q: If you had the chance to do it all again is there anything you would change?
A: When I look at some of those old album covers and my hair or what I was wearing — I wonder what in the world I was thinking! But on a more serious note, I don’t tend to look back at what I’d have done differently. I look forward to what I’m going to do next.
Q: What can we expect from your Abu Dhabi performance?
A: That’s a good question. I’d actually like to ask the audience that question.
My hope is that the audience comes ready to have a supernatural experience and have fun, and just enjoy a couple hours of music from my entire career. We are so blessed to be in Abu Dhabi performing. Never thought I’d get to do this here. Thanks to our good friends at Voice International in Dubai who made this five-nation tour possible.
*Michael W. Smith performs on March 1 at the Armed Forces Officers Club in Abu Dhabi. Tickets, priced at Dh250, Dh150 and Dh75, are available at ticketingco.com. Show starts 7pm. Go to voicemiddleeast.com for more.