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’35 Years of Friends’: Michael W. Smith marks anniversary of hit single with tour

Legendary Christian musician Michael W. Smith will perform at Hoffmantown Church on Sunday, March 15. (Courtesy of HIgh Ground PR)

It’s a cold and dreary day in Nashville, Tennessee.

Michael W. Smith is at home and enjoying what’s left of his monthlong break.

The time off was much-needed, as Smith completed a fall run last year that sold out 14 of the dates.

The legendary Christian musician’s coming 17-date tour is celebrating the 35th anniversary of his single “Friends.” The tour makes a stop in Albuquerque at Hoffmantown Church on Sunday, March 15.

“I scheduled that time off for myself,” he says. “I’ve learned over the years that sometimes you have to say ‘no.’ I also did a Christmas tour. Then over the holidays, my home was full. I knew I had to recharge, and I can’t overextend myself.”

Smith’s “35 Years of Friends” tour also celebrates his 35 No. 1 singles.

Though he’s had a month off of the road, Smith has spent some time writing music.

“I never know what’s going to come out,” Smith says. “I’ve been working on a symphony. I’m writing all of these instrumental and atmospheric things, and they are soothing and comforting. I’m looking at reciting some Scripture over it. We move at a fast pace all the time; I think people are starving for something that they can rest to. It calms your spirit and slows you down.”

For his tour, the 62-year-old musician wanted to cover as many songs as possible.

He ended up with over 40 songs for the set.

“We have a lot of medleys and there’s an acoustic set,” he says. “I also had to make sure that I could do this. I don’t want to lose my voice during the tour. I had to be smart about planning this out. That was the biggest challenge for me.”

Over the course of his career, Smith has worked hard, but also remained smart with each step.

He’s also given back to the global community. Smith has raised funds to battle AIDS in Africa; started Rocketown, a safe haven for young people in Tennessee to meet and find hope; and has helped more than 70,000 children through Compassion International.

“These are things that I care about,” he says. “I’ve been blessed with this life. I married this amazing woman, and I have a small group of people that just believes in me.”

Of course, Smith also has to take care of himself – both mentally and physically.

“I eat right, work out and stay active,” he says. “I surround myself with a bunch of kids that I’m old enough to be their dad. I work with those kids, and all of them have played a significant role in my life. To top that off, people are showing up to my shows and want to listen to my music. That’s the most humbling part.”

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