Artist Name: Gwendolyn M. Smith
Genre: Contemporary Gospel, Contemporary Christian, Gospel, Inspirational, Christian
Musical Influences: The Clark Sisters, Edwin Hawkins
“I’ve been through a lot in my life,” says gospel singer-songwriter Gwendolyn M. Smith. “With this album, I want to encourage people who are broken and bruised; that hope in Jesus Christ will get them through the storms of life.”
Gwendolyn M. Smith is the youngest of three born to Lee Edward and Catherine Smith in quaint Hanford, California. She grew up in a Christian household and experienced God at a young age. As she grew older, she never strayed from the church or God because of her steely convictions, and she always had the feeling that she was responsible for her family. Inspired by Edwin Hawkins and The Cark Sisters, Gwendolyn started writing songs while attending college.
Smith’s 13-song debut, Faithful, is an inspiring collection of smoothly enlightening contemporary gospel. “God gives me songs,” she says. Messages of healing, hope, and empowerment abound, delivered with Smith’s silky vocals. The tracks are devotionals steeped in Smith’s church upbringing. Worship music was her first music, and Smith didn’t start composing her own material until she was a young woman “I would sit at the piano and play a bit and say ‘Oh that’s a pretty song,’ but I didn’t think to write my songs down until college,” she explains. “One song I wrote was ‘He Did It Just for Me,’ it was the Friday before Easter and I wrote it in one night.”
“He Did It Just For Me” is a standout on Faithful. Its haunting but engaging minor tonality alludes to mournfulness surrounding Good Friday. Other highlights are the sweet and euphoric “You Are Worthy.” That track’s heavenly backups and supple and euphoric groove evoke sleek modern R&B. “It just came to me in the middle of the night,” Smith recalls. The stunning “Keep Me Safe” came to Smith while she read the Bible. “I just started singing along while I was reading,” she says, recalling the song’s genesis.
Smith recorded the album in the Bay Area making several three-hour treks to complete it. “When I heard the project back, I was so moved, tears came to my eyes,” she says. The album features professional backup vocalist San Franklin-Jackson on “Pressing My Way.” Smith says of Franklin-Jackson: “She was wonderful, she brought out so much, she can sing anything, anywhere, anytime.”
Smith is a single parent with an 8-year-old adopted son and runs her own business but takes peace and strength in God. Through her music she wants to share her blessed talents and spiritually empower her audience. “I want my music to give people hope and inspire them to go on. No matter what you go through, life goes on,” she says. “Why faint when you can be strong? Hold your head up. God has got you.”