Christian music veteran Michael W. Smith has signed with a new label for the first time in his 30-year career. Smith recently inked a deal with Capitol Christian Music Group (CCMG), leaving Provident Music Group.
“When you’ve been with a family as long as I’ve been with Provident, it’s very difficult to leave, so I don’t take it lightly and it wasn’t a rash decision,” Smith told Billboard magazine. “[Provident Music Group President/CEO] Terry Hemmings is still one of my best friends, but I think every once in a while—especially if you’ve been doing it as long as I have—sometimes it’s good to have a different set of ears just to have another shot at it.”
Smith started his career writing songs for Amy Grant, Bill Gaither and Sandi Patty before releasing his GRAMMY-nominated debut album, The Michael W. Smith Project, in 1983 with Reunion Records, which became part of Provident Music Group, Sony’s Christian division.
Smith has placed 29 albums on Billboard’s Top Christian Albums chart, including 13 No. 1 titles and 25 in the top 10.
Smith’s new record deal began with a publishing agreement.
“We began talking to Michael several months ago about working with him as a songwriter,” CCMG President/CEO Bill Hearn told Billboard. “Since that time, we developed a publishing relationship with Michael where we are administrating his back catalog of songs, and we’ve done a new co-publishing deal going forward with him for future songs.”
Smith has spent the last two years touring extensively abroad, and his first CCMG album is planned to be a live recording of worship songs recorded in Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and other countries.