By Jennifer Taylor
Michele Miree Smith, a Mountain Brook resident and songwriter, recently released her first CD, “Reflections of the Son.” The album features 15 songs written and sung by Michele as well as others in the Birmingham area.
Michele said her songwriting hobby came about unexpectedly.
“I never really thought about songwriting until I was singing in a contemporary Christian group at church,” she said. “I recognized how meaningful the music was
to people and concurrently gained an understanding of creating original lyrics and music.”
Although she hadn’t intended to become a songwriter, Michele does come from a musical family. Her grandfather played the organ at Samford University when the school was known as Howard College, and her grandmother studied voice at Converse College and in Paris. Her great-grandfather owned Birmingham-based Forbes Piano Co.
The musical legacy continues with “Reflections of the Son,” as Michele, her husband and two of her daughters perform.
Although Michele wrote the 15 songs on the CD, she performs in only two of them. The other songs feature a variety of voices.
“I held auditions for singers at Amy Murphy Studios in Mountain Brook,” Smith said. “I chose the singers based on which ones we felt fit the song best.”
The auditions concluded with the selection of Birmingham-area talents and studio musicians from Nashville. Lead vocalists include Audrey Cardwell, Stephen Folmar, Ashley Guin, Neal Hunter Hyde, Jeff Ingram, Kendall Johnson, Amy Murphy, Mabry Smith and Camille Smith.
Studio owner Amy Murphy said she enjoyed working with Michele to determine the talent necessary to make the album a reality.
“I have the utmost respect for Michele as an artist,” said Amy. “Not only are her songs singable and melodic to the ears, but they weave passion of the vocal instrument, passion for her musical mission and passion for her inspiration.
“Listening to her CD from start to finish is like getting to know a best friend. It has everything a listener could ask for.”
Once singers and musicians were selected, it was time to begin recording. Under the direction of Don Mosley, “Reflections of the Son” was recorded at Sound of Birmingham studio.
“Michele has a truly refreshing writing style,” said Don. “It’s not the same old verse-chorus, verse-chorus stuff. Each song is a unique treat.”
“Reflections of the Son” was released last spring. A party at Amy Murphy Studios celebrated the occasion.
Michele said each song has a unique story behind it and that each was written with the intention of pointing to God and encouraging others to follow him.
“I am often encouraged by the many personal notes and messages from those who are listening to my music,” she said. “Just yesterday, I received a letter from a lady in Florida who shared with me that the music had served for her as a inspirational reminder of hope, especially during challenging times,”Michele said.
As for what’s next for Michele, she said she has no written agenda for her music. She simply wants to allow herself to be led wherever God wants to take her with the music. Michele is not looking to perform, just hoping to write, and is keeping her eyes and ears open to any opportunity.
“Reflections of the Son” can be purchased in Birmingham at Cokesbury, Amano and Carpenter’s Shop Antiques. It is available online on iTunes, CD Baby or www.michelemireesmith.com. It will soon air on Birmingham Christian radio station WDJC.