Ernnie Haase & Signature Sound (EHSS) have always wanted to record with Michael W. Smith. They got their chance last year and together they have record Smith's iconic hit, "Friends." The song is from EHSS's yet-to-be-titled new studio project that is set to be released later in 2022.
Haase says: "We've crossed paths with Michael W. Smith many times during the years and I've always wanted to connect and collaborate but with all of our schedules, it just never worked out. During the pandemic, when no one was really traveling, we were able to make this a reality. This really was a dream come true."
Smith first recorded "Friends" on his debut album Michael W. Smith Project in 1983. Michael wrote the music for the song, while his wife, Debbie, wrote the lyrics. Debbie has always had a knack for writing poetry and after they married, he helped transform her gifting into an ability for penning lyrics. She co-wrote most of his debut album, including the popular praise song "Great Is the Lord" as well as "Friends."
The song was written for a friend who was moving out of town. Michael writes, "He was part of a group that we had a little bible study we had that he's moving away. And we were all having a get together that night and she said, 'Man, we should write, we should do something for Bill.' Bill Jackson was his name. 'And we should write him a song.' I said, 'Great, we'll write him a song and send it to him.' And she said, 'I think we should write it this afternoon.' And I thought she was had lost her mind."
"And then 30 minutes later I was outside, she walked out and handed me this lyric," Michael continued. "And it was the words to 'Friends.' And I went inside to the piano and in three and a half minutes wrote the melody and we played it for Bill that night, and everybody cried. And I got up the next day and looked at my wife, and I said, 'Deb,' I said, 'I think we might have something here.' And so that was on the very first album, it was also on Change the World. It's been recorded several times over these last three decades. And I'm still singing it. Little did I know it I'd have to sing it the rest of my life."