We spoke to Martin Smith following his performance at the UK's Big Church Day Out event to find out how it felt for him to be back on the BCDO stage, this time as a solo singer instead of with his former band Delirious.
Having just released his new solo EP, Martin Smith embarked on a weekend of gigs as he took 'God's Great Dance Floor' on the road. "We were in Holland on Friday and Belgium on Saturday, it was a warm up to get us all settled down" explained Martin. Then on Sunday Martin and his band landed on home turf, the Big Church Day Out in England. "It was a big stage for everybody" he told me, as his band of young but talented musicians got a feel for performing in front of a super-sized crowd.
Despite getting ready for his biggest solo show yet, Martin had a chance to catch up with some old friends from the world of Christian music, fellow performers Israel Houghton, Matt Redman and Phil Wickham. "It was good to see Tim Jupp again too, with his walkie-talkie!" joked Martin of his former Delirious band-mate turned BCDO organiser. "He's done great hasn't he?", and indeed he has, as year after year this fabulous event attracts huge crowds with its strong lineup of bands and artists.
Back on stage Martin opened his set with the first song from his new 'Movement Two' EP, called 'Awake My Soul', following up with another song from the same EP 'Fire Never Sleeps'. This rich and rousing track with its big rock band sound is a perfect fit for a large show such as BCDO. Whilst not everyone in the crowd would have been familiar with those new tracks, there can't have been many present who didn't know the next two songs.
'Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble' is an absolute classic and never fails to get a crowd singing, merging into the spontaneous refrain "We're going to dance in the river" this flashback to the Delirious days was a poignant part of the show for Martin. "Three years ago playing at Big Church Day Out with Delirious represented the end of a season", he recalls. "Now three years on, this represents the beginning of something new for me".
Closing his live set with 'Back To The Start', Martin had something truly special lined up for this party-style anthem. "We had 20 dancers on stage, all choreographed, as the trumpet played. It was an exciting ending" he enthuses. I asked him how he felt the crowd responded, "People just went with it really, it seemed as though they connected to it. It was good to be back! It encouraged us to want to get out there again and tour these songs, do some more proper dates."
Discussing the new music he is recording at the moment, Martin said recently, "These EPs are almost like my journal, that I'm documenting what's happening in my life through this transition. I want people to know how it feels, what's going on. I can write about what I want to express, it doesn't have to fit in a box. I can keep pouring them out and hopefully they'll touch someone at some time."
Later this month Martin will fly to New York to be part of a live DVD recording with the Jesus Culture band, before taking some time off for a summer holiday with his family. But judging by how much he enjoyed being back on stage at Big Church Day Out, you can be sure it won't be long before he's playing his music in front of a crowd again. Until then, make sure you check out his two EPs on MartinSmith.tv.