Zig Ziglar Servant Leadership Award Recipient
Michael W. Smith
Multi-platinum artist and bestselling author Michael W. Smith has written 35 No. 1 singles and sold more than 15 million albums while accumulating numerous accolades, including three GRAMMY® Awards, 45 Dove Awards, an American Music Award and, most recently, induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Smith wrote his first song when he was five. After moving to Nashville in 1978 to work as a songwriter and performing with several local bands, Smith later signed on as a staff writer with Meadowgreen Music, where he penned gospel hits for artists including Sandi Patty, Kathy Troccoli, Bill Gaither, and Amy Grant.
Smith began touring as Grant’s keyboard player in 1982, and the next year he became her opening act after releasing his debut album. The 1984 follow-up, Michael W. Smith 2, earned him a GRAMMY® for Best Gospel Performance.
He won his second GRAMMY® in 1995 for I’ll Lead You Home and another in 2002 for Worship Again. In between, he became the first Christian artist to be honored with the ASCAP Golden Note Award for lifetime achievement in songwriting in 1999.
In 2021, Michael released a re-envisioned live version of #1 highest-selling album of all time, Worship, in honor of its 20th anniversary. The re-envisioned album is called Worship Forever and is available on all music platforms. Michael is currently on The WayMaker World Tour, his international tour full of worship songs and greatest hits. The tour kicked off in the U.S. in the fall of 2022 and will continue throughout 2023.
More than just an outstanding songwriter and performer, Smith has given back to the global community throughout his career. In 1994, he launched Rocketown, a holistic, faith-based youth outreach facility in downtown Nashville aimed at providing a safe haven for young people in Tennessee to meet and find hope. Smith has also helped more than 70,000 children through his work with Compassion International.