Chance discovery sends Michael W. Smith back to the studio with new Christmas songs

Christian-pop crossover artist on the road with fresh music to sing along with the standards

SHARE Chance discovery sends Michael W. Smith back to the studio with new Christmas songs
Michael W. Smith will be joined by Amy Grant for an evening of holiday music and more on Dec 7 at the Rosemont Theatre.

Michael W. Smith will be joined by Amy Grant for an evening of holiday music and more Wednesday at the Rosemont Theatre.

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Michael W. Smith had no intention of making a Christmas project this year.

In fact, the holiday wasn’t even “on his radar” this summer, until the moment when the Grammy-winning, Christian-pop crossover artist discovered a set of unfinished lyrics on his phone.

“[Songwriter] Tony Wood had sent me the words ‘Freeze the Frame,’ and it was those words that got the wheels turning,” Smith recalls. “The lyrics reminded me so much of my own family. This melody fell out of the sky, and I caught it.”

Smith decided to record it.

“It’s always a bit of a risk because you know that people always want to hear the standards,” says Smith about releasing original music over the tradition-based holiday season. “But I’ve done [standards] on every Christmas project that I’ve recorded.”

Michael W. Smith

CHRISTMAS WITH AMY GRANT AND MICHAEL W. SMITH

With: Michael Tait

When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7

Where: Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Road., Rosemont

Tickets: $39.50 - $125

Info: ticketmaster.com


And there have been many a Christmas project, from 1989’s “Christmas” to 2007’s “It’s a Wonderful Christmas” to 2014’s “The Spirit of Christmas.” Smith has long trusted his creative gut when creating new holiday tunes. And it was no different when it came to “Freeze the Frame,” which serves as not only a musical reminder to appreciate the small moments in life, but also the perfect centerpiece of Smith’s new holiday EP, “Christmas at Home.”

“I wrote every song on this record,” says Smith of the collection that includes his breathtaking new hymn “God with God” and the instrumental gem “The Star.” “In fact, I think I wrote three songs in three days. I kind of got excited because I’ve never done an EP before.”

“Christmas at Home” boasts six new Christmas standards that add to the already impressive legacy of Smith, who has long led the way within the Christian music genre thanks to 16 No. 1 albums.

MWS___Christmas_At_Home__Cover__FINAL.jpeg

MWS Group

“I think it’s been a rough, rough road for everybody,” Smith says. “We’ve all known people who have had COVID, and we probably all know people who died of it, you know? And then there’s just life in general that can get you down. I think that’s why this show is important. I think it’s uplifting, it’s hopeful and it’s kind of a breath of fresh air.”

Co-headlining with him on the highly anticipated Christmas tour is the legendary Amy Grant, who made headlines back in July when she was involved in a bicycling accident that caused her to postpone a few September and October dates on her own fall tour.

“It was just this wave of emotions to watch her hit that stage again, just knowing probably that she could have died from that accident,” Smith says. Their co-holiday tour kicked off Nov. 26 in Memphis, Tennessee. “[Amy] has been incredible. She has come through brilliantly.”

Smith’s family also came through brilliantly when it came to the recording of “Christmas at Home,” joining him on the project.

“(Daughter) Anna (Bovi) is co-writing ‘Christmas Is Here’ and I’ve got (son) Tyler (Smith) orchestrating, and then we got the grandkids involved also,” says Smith, grandfather of the 17 kids who made up the choir heard on “Christmas Is Here.”

“It was a little chaotic, but they actually did really well. I think we had nine of them that sang. They all stood around the microphone, and they are a little out of tune, but we didn’t change it because that’s sort of the magic of kids singing. There’s something innocent about it.”

So, too, is the annual revisiting of holiday traditions that makes Smith’s family the close-knit clan he treasures.

“We try to keep so many things the same around the holidays,” says Smith. “We walk in the same way, and we’ve got to do the countdown. [Laughs] You sit there and you think about how we were doing this with our own kids 25 years ago, and now they’re running in here with their children.

“It’s life,” he continues. “There’s lots of joy, there’s some struggles, but you just make it through. The great thing about our family is that we’re all extremely close. That’s a blessing.”

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