"I wrestled with the idea for a long time that this doesn't feel right," the "Backroad Song" singer explained.
Granger Smith is saying goodbye to country music.
The 43-year-old "Happens Like That" singer announced his upcoming "Like a River" tour would be his last as he looks to devote his life to his local church ministry outside of Austin, Texas. His final performance will be on August 26.
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Smith admitted he had a "huge feeling of relief" now that he’s been able to be honest to fans about his intentions to walk away from music.
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"For the last few years, a handful of people had known that [I was] probably leaving country music. [And] it's difficult to get on stage in different environments, in different cities and play music for people knowing, as I’m looking into their eyes, that I'm probably going to tell them in a few months that I'm not doing this anymore," he confessed. "That's a difficult way to live. And so, there's a big sense of relief now that I’ve told everyone."
Yearning for a new sense of purpose, the musician revealed that he's working towards receiving a master's degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Eager to share the gospel, Smith said that some had encouraged him to spread the word through song, but felt like it wasn't enough.
"I wrestled with the idea for a long time that this doesn't feel right," he explained. "A lot of pastors and preachers told me, 'Country music is your ministry, brother. You're in a dark world. You’re bringing light to a dark world. You’re going into bars and stages where people might not have heard the message of Christ, and you get to speak it – that is your ministry.'"
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Though there is a part of him that still believes that may be true, Smith said he found that his "self-exalting" platform glorified himself rather than God.
"That was the contradiction I finally had to come to terms with. I might have a stage down the road, but right now I need to completely surrender that and give it over to God."
The country music star is looking forward to becoming a more active member of his church in order to give back to his community.
Back in 2019, Smith faced the devastating loss of this three-year-old son River. The family was outside their home when the child slipped through the pool gate and fell into the water. Though he was pulled from the pool, River had been without oxygen for too long and died despite doctors’ best efforts.
Smith's last "Like a River" tour is named after his late son.