One of Christian music’s most recognized and respected artists, Michael W. Smith is releasing the highly anticipated instrumental follow-up to his 2000 RIAA Gold-selling album, Freedom.

Smith’s newest album, Glory, marks his 23rd career album and will be available on Nov. 22.

We recently caught up with Michael W. Smith, who shared the heart behind this project.

TSO: Tell about the new album and the inspiration behind the songs.

Michael: Inspiration for songs often come from thinking about the death of Christ, atonement, celebration, redemption and glory.

This is a very worshipful album for me. I think we underestimate the power of instrumental music, but it can be very worshipful where it just washes over someone and enriches their life. Everything we do should be for the glory of God. It should all be an act of worship.

There’s two songs on the record about my wife, inspired by my love for her. We’ve been married over 30 years. This seemed to be the time to put together an album like this, and I’m really passionate about it. This record is massive, which really came across when I played on a grand piano with a 70-piece orchestra!

TSO: Share some stories about how your music has impacted people through the years.

Michael: I’m still getting stories about “Place in This World.” I heard from a lady who was very young and struggling. She heard the song on a pop radio station, pulled over on the side of the interstate and gave her heart to Christ right then and there. She’s now married and has a family.

I’ve also heard from people who were contemplating suicide, but when one of my songs came on the radio, they decided that life was worth living. One story is worth my whole career — knowing that lives are being changed for God’s glory.

TSO: What’s your favorite part of what you do?

Michael: There’s nothing quite like writing a song. There’s nothing more satisfying than putting it all together and a few minutes later, going ‘what just happened?’ When you see your music connecting with people in the audience, that’s pretty amazing. It all begins with a song.

TSO: What do you hope people will take away from the new album and from your concerts?

Michael: More than anything, I want people to realize that the Gospel really is true, there really is hope and a promising future for those who have a relationship with Christ. No matter what people are struggling with, they will get through it. When people leave the concert, I hope they are encouraged to press on. I pray the music just washes over people.

For more information about Michael W. Smith and his new album, please visit www.michaelwsmith.com