With I Need You Now, currently on top of the Billboard Gospel catalog chart and its follow-up EP, the No.1 Limited Edition, still on the Gospel Top 40 chart, Smokie is more than a success. I Need You Now spent an impressive two years on the magazine’s Gospel Top 40 chart, and the single of the same name is still perched in the Top 10 of the recurrent mainstream R&B chart. He has become a true phenomenon. And while nothing without You promises to only extend and expand his recognition even further, the ever-gracious, good-natured Smokie sees his meteoric rise to fame from a very humble and down-to-earth perspective.
“You can chase after success and recognition all you want,” says Smokie, “but the truth is that unless God ordains it, it really doesn’t matter. My goal has always just been to see people blessed by the music God gives me, and that’s happened beyond anything I ever imagined. It has been a pretty amazing couple of years, but I feel very much at peace. I believe that the same God that did all this on the first go-round can do it on the second go-round as well.”
Writing or co-writing the majority of the album’s 11 songs, and enlisting the production assistance of some of Gospel and r&b’s biggest hit-makers -- including jazz great, George Duke, Percy Bady, Tommy Sims, and Victor & Cedric Caldwell -- Smokie fully delivers on the promise portended by I Need You Now, even surpassing that already landmark work.
Still at home musically in what he describes as an “urban/inspirational” pocket, Smokie stretches into some serious, good-time funk and r&b, stirring songs of praise and worship, pop balladry, and down-home blues. But whatever the song, format or genre, his one-of-a-kind vocal prowess -- from sweet and silky to edgy and urban --remains pure and unmistakably Smokie.