Michael W. Smith Talks Free Bridgestone Arena Show, ‘Surrounded’ Album

Last fall, CCM legend and three-time Grammy winner Michael W. Smith sat at a piano in the middle of a throng of worshippers at The Factory In Franklin. There, Smith performed the dozen songs that would become the live worship album Surrounded, which released earlier this year.

On Thursday (Aug. 30), Smith will bring the essence of that album to Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena for Surrounded, a worship concert which is free and open to the public.

“It was just about capturing the spirit in the room and not be invasive and we did,” Smith tells MusicRow of the album. “Everybody there was all in. You can feel it when you hear the record.”

He hopes to keep that same feeling in the upcoming concert at Bridgestone Arena, which he says will also feature an in-the-round format. Smith may be leading the event, but he is adamant that the he not be the focus of the evening.

“We’ve worked really hard to make it kind of nameless and faceless,” he says. “I’ve worked really hard to even take my name and picture off of it, but I lost that battle. And I get it, that’s fine. I think my job is to kind of disappear and hold that place of leadership real lightly.”

Though there is a set list, Smith expects that to change throughout the evening.

“I’ve got a first draft and I have a feeling there will be 10 drafts before it’s over and I know I won’t stick to the set list. I have to be careful about something spontaneous happening too, because everyone has their notes and then it’s like, ‘Oh, there goes Smitty throwing us a curveball. But my team’s used to that. Everybody is going to just ebb and flow and watch me the whole time to make sure they stay on board.”

Earlier this year, Smith released two albums in two weeks–Surrounded, as well as the pop-leaning album A Million Lights. He also announced his first children’s album and book.

A Million Lights was inspired by the election—not really politics, but how awful people were to each other on both sides of the aisle. That really spurred on the pop record.”

Now, 27 years after Smith’s signature Adult Contemporary hit “A Place In This World,” he says some pop radio stations have begun playing “A Million Lights.”

“I released the record and CCM radio didn’t really play the music a lot and that’s ok, but pop radio started picking it up. So you got a 60-year-old—I don’t feel 60—who is back on pop radio and that’s just crazy. People just love the song and I’ve always felt like it had pop potential.”

Surrounded begins Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.


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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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