When Granger Smith made the decision to step away from country music in 2023, his ego took the biggest hit.
After his “Like A River” tour concluded last year, Smith decided to trade his 24-year country music career to pursue a future in ministry, dedicating his time to his church in Austin, Texas.
Smith is glad he made the career move, but admits his ego got the short end of the stick.
“That’s a massive ego hit, man,” Smith exclusively told Fox News Digital. “Going on stage in front of thousands of people and hearing them roar and the lights come on, and it’s all about you.”
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He continued, “I raised my hands, and they raised their hands, and I played loud songs, and they got intense. There’s a big rush to that and to leave that is, first of all, so healthy to leave that because none of us are made for that. None of us are made to be worshiped in that way and, second of all, it’s just difficult because it’s addicting, and it’s really fun to have the spotlight on you like that.”
Smith’s final tour was called “Like a River,” in honor of his 3-year-old son, River who died in 2019 after he got through the gate around the family’s swimming pool at their home in Texas and fell in. Smith and his wife Amber Bartlett are parents to three other children: London, Lincoln, and Maverick.
WATCH: Country star Granger Smith took ‘massive ego hit’ pursuing ministry career
In August, the musician took a “keepsake” photo while performing for fans at his final show and shared the “real reason” why he was leaving the music world behind to pursue Christian ministry.
“I took this pic on Saturday- a keepsake from my last show as a touring musician,” he wrote on Instagram at the time. “It’s been such a privilege to claim that job title for so many years!”
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He continued, “Let’s be clear. This is not retirement. That would mean I’m quitting work altogether. It’s also not because I’m burned out or unwell or sick or heartbroken or grieving. I am more at peace and more free than any other time of my life. It’s not for any of those reasons.”
Quoting a parable from Matthew 13:44, he explained the “real reason” he is joining the ministry.
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“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field,” the parable said.
He said the “real reason” he is leaving country music is because “knowing Jesus” and telling others about him is the “treasure of my life. And I want you to know this, so you can have Him as your treasure too.”
WATCH: Granger Smith’s children helped him out of a ‘very dark place’ after death of son River
The “Hate You Like I Love You” singer said he did not want a career “based upon building a name for myself to get in the way” of his ministry work, “no matter what kind of popularity or career I’ve gained.”
Smith added, “There is not another #1 song I can write, album I can release, sold out concert I can perform, that is more important than this.”
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He said he does not want his name to be known, “instead I want to proclaim the name of Christ! The one that has washed me clean, the one that has freed me from my shame and my guilt. The one that gave me a new heart. I want Him to be known! And I want to know Him more. That is the real reason I’m leaving music touring.”
Smith added, “I hope to see y’all soon on a new kind of stage.”
Smith has since put pen to paper for his latest work, “Up Toward the Light.” The book details his family’s tragic loss after their son, River, died by an accidental drowning, and how Smith found peace and healing by turning to his faith.
WATCH: Granger Smith hopes new book can help provide guidance for others struggling with grief
For his new children’s book, Granger revisited a “pretty impactful” skill he learned in therapy where he simply talked to a tree – something which was completely unbiased and could only listen.
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“That’s exactly what I thought of. Like, this is weird, but as I kind of went out there and settled in, it was very therapeutic,” he said.
“And so then I thought, well. What if there was a book that was kind of mimicking that situation in a kid’s view, where maybe the kid lost his grandpa, and he wants to talk to … he wants to talk to this tree about his grandpa. And somehow the tree has this wisdom that he couldn’t have found talking to anyone else. That’s literally what happened to me. And that was the inspiration behind the book.”
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“Up Toward the Light” is set to be released on April 2, 2024.
Fox News Digital’s Tracy Wright and Brie Stimson contributed to this report.