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Michael W. Smith

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Michael W. Smith keeps it alive not only making it on the Christian charts, but also on the adult contemporary charts as well.

When Michael W. Smith drove his parents' car to Nashville in 1978, he arrived with the high hopes of being able to publish his own music. Never in his wildest dreams did he expect to make any of his own records, let alone sell over six million of them. Through his first decade as an artist, Michael W. Smith went from being a "wanna-be" songwriter to becoming a bonafide international pop star, winning an American Music Award, two Grammy Awards, nine Dove Awards, and was named one of the world's "50 Most Beautiful People" by People magazine. As the best-selling male artist in Christian music, Michael W. Smith has had a string of hits, including "Place In This World," "I Will Be Here For You," and "Somebody Love Me," that have topped both the Christian and pop radio charts.

Even with the challenges that come from this significant mainstream success, "Smitty," as he is affectionately referred to by his friends and family, has never forgotten his Kenova, West Virginia roots, nor the importance of family and faith values that continue to be the cornerstone of his life.

"I went to Littleton to sing "Friends" at the Columbine Memorial Service and it was a day that impacted me greatly.

It was so over-whelming emotionally, that I just had to find a way to cope with it and to digest it all, so I found myself at the keyboard writing music.

Meeting Cassie Bernall's family inspired me the most. Cassie claimed she believed in God and lost her life for it. I have written a song called, "This Is Your Time," which is a challenge for us all to recognize through Cassie's life, that now is our time to stand up and live life unabashedly for God."

NASHVILLE, Tenn. "This Is Your Time," the 13th recording from 1999 Dove Award-winning Artist of the Year and Reunion recording artist Michael W. Smith, will be available nationwide November 23. The project is produced by Smith and Bryan Lenox, and executive produced by Michael Blanton and Smith. Lenox, whose recent credits include Garth Brooks and producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, co-produced Smith's 1990 recording "Go West Young Man."

"This Is Your Time" is an important record to me personally," said Smith. "I wrote the title cut after participating in the memorial service for Columbine High School students in Littleton, Colorado. The song was inspired by Cassie Bernall, the student who said she believed in God and lost her life for it. It was her time, and now I believe it's our time to pick up the torch and live our faith boldly."

In addition to the title cut, "This Is Your Time" features "I Will Be Your Friend," "Everybody Free," "I Will Carry You," "Walk With Me," "I'm Gone," "Worth It All," "Reach Out To Me," "Still Have A Dream," "Hey You - It's Me" and "Anna." The album also contains the instrumental selections "Cassie" and "Jig." The project includes lyrical contributions from such acclaimed writers as Wayne Kirkpatrick, Chris Rice, Dan Haseltine, Cindy Morgan, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Wes King, Ginny Owens, Deborah D. Smith, and one of Smith's musical heroes, Nik Kershaw.

"'This Is Your Time' has turned into a labor of love for everyone who has had anything to do with it, in large part because of Cassie Bernall's life and death, which inspired the title song," said George King, vice president/general manager, Reunion Records. "I believe this album is a picture of the heart of Michael W. Smith, a heart which is sensitive to the leading of the Spirit and passionate about changing the world with the message of Christ."

"We believe this fall is Michael's 'time,'" said Dean Diehl, co-vice president/general manager, Reunion Records. "Having had two best-selling albums last year, in addition to being named 1999's Artist of the Year and Producer of the Year, has created incredible demand for 'This Is Your Time.' We are planning an extensive retail marketing campaign to let as many people as possible hear what we believe are some of the most important songs that Michael has ever recorded."

The album's first single, "This Is Your Time," shipped to Christian radio stations across the country October 8. A video of the song will release simultaneously with the single. The clip was directed by Ben Pearson and Brandon Dickerson for Pearson-Taylor Productions and Spiral Films.

A comprehensive retail pre-sales campaign will allow consumers an opportunity to purchase and reserve a copy of "This Is Your Time" beginning October 26. These consumers will receive a complimentary limited edition video, which features "This Is Your Time," the Emmy Award-winning "Live The Life," "Secret Ambition" and a live rendition of "Friends," voted #1 on CCM Magazine's "Top 100 Songs: Critics' Picks" as published in the 20th anniversary issue.

Since the release of his debut album in 1983, Smith has garnered 22 Dove Awards, two Grammy Awards, an American Music Award, and 23 #1 Christian radio singles. Earlier this year, he received six Dove Awards, including Artist of the Year and Producer of the Year, as well as being presented ASCAP's Golden Note Award for lifetime achievement. He has one platinum and six gold albums to his credit.

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