Todd Smith is a founding member of the multi-platinum music group Selah, with 4 1/2 million albums and singles sold, 11 #1 records, three #1 Billboard albums, and 13 Dove Awards. He is married to author/speaker Angie Smith. They live with their four girls in Nashville, TN.
Growing up as the son of missionaries in a house that his grandparents built in the African Congo bush country, Todd never questioned the truth of his biblical upbringing. Music? That was another matter entirely. "Everything we listened to had to be Christian," he remembers. "But it could not be rock -- not even Christian rock. As much as I love my parents and honor how they raised me, I really struggled with that one rule!"
From the moment he had his first taste of the forbidden music -- an LP of Christian rock pioneers Petra, smuggled from boarding school by his older sister Shawn and played furtively through headphones -- Todd felt its power. And when he left home for that same boarding school in Kinshasa, he chased down and memorized every rock album he could find, secular as well as spiritual.
"I really took to groups like Boston, Kansas, Foreigner, Journey, Toto, and Genesis," he remembers. "But I heard everything from Madonna to Prince to the Doors to the Beatles. Bryan Adams' "Summer Of '69" was one of my favorite songs. And my roommate and I used to listen to Born In the USA every day; I loved the passion that Springsteen put into his vocals, and his lyrics were deeper than a lot of the bands of that time."
At Nashville's Belmont University, as a music industry major, Todd nurtured both his faith and his music. He joined with his sister Nicol and college friend Allan Hall to form Selah, which would become a Christian music phenomenon, earning the respect of fans and critics alike. Selah is a blessing, Todd acknowledges. His devotion to the group is strong and enduring. Yet "from the very beginning, I've always dreamed of being a solo artist," Todd shares. "I didn't grow up just listening to hymns. Besides, many of the most amazing, incredible hymns had secular beginnings: the melody to 'A Mighty Fortress Is Our God' comes from an old pub tune. Those were the contemporary rock songs of their day."
After earning a second bachelor's degree at Detroit's William Tyndale Bible College, Todd's studies gave him an even stronger theological foundation on which to build the lyrical side of his solo recording. Being a husband and father has also reinforced and reshaped Todd's understanding of God's love for mankind -- greater, as Scripture says, than even the bonds between parent and child.
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Hey Todd, you amaze me and I don't mean to play off your titled Selah song. Your vocals are SO powerful, you must take after your father in that aspect. I hope you, your girls & Angie are doing well. I can't wait to dive in to your solo CD and get lost in the Lord's work. Of late I've been pushing Insanity of God and it seems like it's received a huge & great response. Congratulations!
Be well & keep praising the One to be praised.