Michael W. Smith reflected on the phenomenon of Christian Contemporary music and its effect on his life in his new uInterview. Smith is one of the stars profiled in the new documentary The Jesus Music, and is also a producer on the film.

“It’s fascinating, I kind of feel like I was almost at the beginning of it as a young kid. You know, it was kind of born out of the late 60s with all the — obviously you probably already know this — the civil unrest, Vietnam, and drugs and all that sort of the thing, the hippie revolution,” he said. “And then something, something happened at that Church of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa late 60s early 70s and all of a sudden you got 12 bands within six months that are playing this thing called Jesus Music. And one of those records found its way into my hometown of Kenova, West Virginia when I was 12 or 13 years old and it changed my life. And then so I became a fan of that and then all of a sudden all of the artists started coming along: Phil Keaggy and Andrae Crouch, Randy Stonehill, Larry Norman, and the list goes on. So I knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life.

According to Smith, people’s obsession with contemporary Christian music stems from their love of pop music, “and then you take that music and you infuse a lyric of hope, about faith, about Jesus, whatever the list goes on, and all of a sudden you’re impacted by that,” he said.

“It just is mind-boggling to me how a three and a half minute song can completely change somebody’s life,” he said, recalling a letter from a fan. “I remember a girl who was driving down the 5 freeway, was on her way to commit suicide, had a horrific upbringing, and was listening to KissFM if I’m not mistaken, the pop radio station, she heard [my song] ‘Place In This World,’ and she pulled over on the side of the road, had a meltdown, and that song changed her life and she’s still alive today. You know, that sparked my whole career.”

“And I think when you see this movie you go, ‘Oh my gosh. Millions and millions of people have been deeply impacted by this genre and that’s exciting to me,” he added.

Catch Smith’s new movie The Jesus Music in select theaters now.

 

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