Mark Smeby is man on a journey—a self-professed pilgrim. “I love the idea that we are all on the road to our actual homeland—that we are merely travelers passing through this world. It’s not that the value of where we’re at right now is diminished, but we realize we are meant for something more than what many of us are settling for while in this temporary, superficial, broken world.”
It’s this perspective that infiltrates all that Smeby puts his hand to—whether it’s his music, books, or even his acting. As he tours the country sharing his stories and songs, Smeby strives to help people “wake up to their lives.” He explains, “I get the feeling that so many people are simply sleep-walking through their lives. I know I do that at times! I hope to use my creativity, my passions, my voice, to help people see what their lives are capable of becoming, rather than simply settling for how things are.”
This kind of hope and encouragement comes through loud and clear on songs like “Just Watch Me,” “Here’s Your Life,” the project’s title track “Pilgrim Man,” and “Time For Hope,”
This is a time for hope, this is a time for faith/
This is a time to believe in spite of everything/
This is your chance to see who you were meant to be/
But more than anything I know, this is a time for hope
Smeby’s writings in words and music honestly communicate this struggle to hold onto faith and love in the midst of life’s difficulties. But they are also tempered with hope and encouragement. “You know how a runner needs a coach to tell him not to give up, to keep training, to keep working out, because it’s all going to be worth it? I’m the same way. I need people in my life to stay in my face, telling me not to give up, to keep pressing on with faith toward my goals and dreams.”
His music has been heard in the feature films “Clancy” (“Precious Memories”) and the Christmas favorite, “The Perfect Gift” (“Emmanuel (You Are With Me)”). He also appeared as the antagonist Blaine Pollett in “The Perfect Gift,” and also the romantic lead and voice of hope, Dean Stovall, in “1 Message” an inspirational film about breast cancer.
He added another bow to his quiver with the release of his book, “Pilgrim,” an inspirational fable that goes together with his Pilgrim Man CD. “It’s not so much a soundtrack to the book, but a great companion piece. I guess as I continue to honestly share my journey, there are going to continue to be these overlapping messages in the different mediums, whether in song, book, or film format.”
“A huge influence on my life has been my involvement with grassroots prison ministry. I have found that we are all so similar, whether inside or outside the walls. We’re all desiring someone to listen to our thoughts, to know that hope is real, and to know that we are loved.” His prison work is demonstrated in the powerful tune, “Don’t Forget Me When I Fall” on the Pilgrim Man project.
I know you think this would never happen to someone like me/
but I’m closer to the edge than I appear to be.
I’m holding on as tight as I can, but the rope is slipping out of my hand.
Don’t forget me when I fall, don’t turn your back because I’m weak.
You could be the hope I need to stand again. Don’t forget me when I fall.
“One of my most favorite writers, Henri Nouwen, has taught me that only when I know myself as unconditionally loved can I give gratuitously. He says that giving without wanting anything in return is trusting that all my needs will be provided for by the one who loves me unconditionally. This is the process I’m walking through in life—trusting that I’m loved, and as a result, giving away my life to others. The freedom to love. Isn’t this the kind of freedom all pilgrims are looking for?”
Pilgrim man, don’t give up/
Though the road may be long and the journey hard/
You are not alone, and God will carry you/
Hold on, Pilgrim man, you’re almost home
Originally from Minneapolis, Smeby has been living in Nashville for the past 20 years. He’s waited thousands of tables, worked as a radio DJ, written hundreds of magazine articles, been all kinds of characters under the guise of “acting,” and continued his love for baseball by staying involved in a good game of softball.
For information on how to book Mark Smeby in concert, please click here! Smeby’s latest CD, Hymns For The Journey, as well as Christmas and Pilgrim Man, are available through this website (click on MUSIC at the top of the page), as well as at iTunes and all digital outlets. For more information, please reach Mark through the contact button on the top of the page or click here.