The other day, I had the honor of interviewing Michael W. Smith! Enjoy!
Social Media Coordinator at Family Christian
FC: Hello Michael! How are you doing?
MWS: Doing great! Thank you!
FC: Well, I know you just released your newest cd, The Spirit of Christmas, so it is only natural that we ask a Christmas question. Can you share with us a favorite Christmas memory that you have?
MWS: Just growing up in my house…all the kids…. I mean I don’t even know where to start. We have our traditions. Christmas is a BIG thing at the Smith house. Just huge! We’d pull out the Christmas albums every September 1; everyone opens a present on Christmas Eve. A great Christmas memory is probably when I got my first red, sparkling drum set when I was 7 years old. You know, I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven! I’ll never for forget that.
FC: Speaking of gifts, do you have a favorite gift that you received for Christmas? I know mine was the Barbie Ice cream shop
MWS: Love that!
FC: I did too! Was yours your drum set?
MWS: Probably so. It was a game changer for me.
FC: I heard a quote from you that in your 31-year career, The Spirit of Christmas is the most unique album you’ve created. Can you expound on that for us?
MWS: Well I think it’s unique because of all the people who are on it. I’ve never actually had as many guest artists on an album in my life, other than the artists that were on the worship album that sang in my choir. These are people that are stepping out. I’m singing solos with them and people that are mostly not from my genre, you know Contemporary Christian music. This is an A Level group of amazing people. Carrie Underwood being one of them. Bono’s on the record. I mean it’s just insane. I’m just sort of pinching myself that we actually pulled it off.
FC: I’m sure. When I was looking at the list of artists performing with you, it’s going to reach such a huge audience! You’re hitting all the different tastes that people could have for the different genres of music and different talent it’s just phenomenal!
MWS: Well I think so. You know I think we have something really special going on. Just take me out of the equation and I think it’s just an amazing record, just from what these people brought to the project. It’s pretty off the charts.
FC: That sounds amazing! I know I will be picking up a few copies for my family this year. You’ve got a tour going on this year and some confirmed tour dates for 2015 as well. Is there anything else you are working on right now?
MWS: No, I did an exclusive album for Cracker Barrel that I worked on and then Sovereign came out in May and then the Christmas record and it’s just like wow! 3 records in one year for me. Pretty crazy!
FC: Here at Family Christian we believe strongly in the power of prayer. In fact, we have a team that gathers daily to lift others up in prayer. So how can we be praying for you right now?
MWS: You know what, probably just it’s such a busy, busy time. It’s pretty non-stop from now till the end of the year, till Christmas. Just pray for my health, for protection as we travel everywhere. I think just some of those things. Kristen, business can wear you out if you don’t watch it so please pray that I’ll get my rest and that we will all stay healthy on the road and my family as well. Thank you very much!
FC: Thank you Michael! Have a blessed Christmas season!
By: Kristen Jeffery, Social Media Coordinator at Family Christian
This week I had the opportunity to speak with David from We Are Leo. Read the full interview below.
FC: Hello! Thank you for your time today. I hear you all are gearing up for a new tour. Can you tell us about it?
David from We Are Leo: Absolutely. We are on for part of the Acquire the Fire tour that is starting in Spring. We’ve done Acquire the Fire in the past, and it came to Lansing and I think there was about 7,000 people there. I think the greatest thing about it to me is that I get to talk to all the fans after the show and just pray with them and talk to them and share our stories with them.
FC: I have actually been enjoying your new single “You’re the Best Thing”, here in my office. What does this song mean to you?
David from We Are Leo: This is for my testimony. I came out my teenage years sort of feeling really lost and just fighting a lot of depression and loneliness. And with my story of reaching out to Christ and Him coming and rescuing my life, that was such an epic change for me to be like God loved me and to feel loved instead of rejected and at that point I realized this is what I have been looking for my whole life and for me singing this song “You’re the Best Thing” is coming back to that point and being thankful and remembering that God changed my life and despite the busyness or whatever else comes along in my day to day life I want to remember that He is always the best thing.
FC: Your new album is called “Fightback Soundtrack” and it releases tomorrow (10/14). What do you hope that people take away from your new album?
David from We Are Leo: Yes. I think the overarching theme of this is bravery and not being afraid. In the Bible it talks so much about not being anxious and Paul talks about not being anxious and I love that relationship and the idea of being strong and courageous. Fightback Soundtrack, the whole idea of it is ‘Yeah, you need to be strong in the Lord and when things come against you and things happen you’re not defeated and you can overcome those things and keep your head up. ‘ And to be brave because God’s love can make us brave. That’s what I hope people will take away.
FC: What changes can your fans expect from “Hello” to “Fightback Soundtrack”?
David from We Are Leo: That’s an awesome question! Way to go! This record we made it on our own. In November we decided it was decision time. We felt like God was telling us to keep being persistent and that we have things to share and talents that He was calling us to use. We put it up on Kickstarter and it came through on the last hour of the last day.
FC: Awesome! Making it even more of a God story right?
David from We Are Leo: It is totally a God story! Totally. I really can’t even believe it really happened. I think on this album you will hear a more mature sound and get a feel for what we truly sound like.
FC: We have a prayer team here at Family Christian and we meet daily to pray for others. How can we specifically be praying for you?
David from We Are Leo: Thank you. Be praying for wisdom. And be praying that these songs will be heard by those who need it the most.
Recently Family Christian was able to interview artist Matthew West. Please read the interview below and be looking for his release of "Believe" on October 14th. His single "A Christmas to Believe in" is sure to speak to your heart this Christmas season. We are thrilled that his album is going to be available exclusively at Family Christian stores!
FC: Matthew, Hello! How are you?
MW: I am doing great. Thanks to you, I've been in the Christmas spirit since July!
FC: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. You know we are so excited for your October 14th release of Believe. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your song “A Christmas to Believe in” ?
MW: When I was asked to write a song based on this broader theme of "believe," the first title idea that popped into my head for some reason was, "A Christmas To Believe In." Something just felt classic and special about that. Then, I began to unpack all of things that title could mean. One of the things I wrote down on my lyrics sheet one day was a list of titles that substituted other words where the word "believe" would be. I began to think of what, sadly, Christmas might actually feel like for so many hurting people. For the person battling depression around the holidays, they might say it's "A Christmas to SURVIVE." For the unemployed father who's worried about providing for his family, he might be feeling like it's "A Christmas to try to AFFORD." For the family that's been torn apart and is dreading the one time of year that they all have to be under one roof it could be looked at as "A Christmas to ENDURE." And the list went on and on. I guess this song is my wish for people, that they will be reminded this December how the word "believe" is powerful enough to erase all of those other words we might be using to describe this Christmas; that the One we believe in is strong enough to flood our hearts with hope this year and show us what a Christmas to Believe In is really like.
FC: What is your favorite Christmas memory from your childhood?
MW: My favorite Christmas memory is actually in the final lyrics of this song. "It's grandpa's bible opened up, to Luke chapter two..." Every Christmas morning my dad would stop us before opening all of the presents and we would read the story of the birth of Christ. There was something very centering about that moment before the chaos ensued; our hearts were brought back to the reason why each Christmas really is a Christmas to believe in.
FC: I hear that you are currently working on your next project and I’d love to hear about it.
MW: Yes, I'm very excited about it! And I'm also a bit nervous. But those are always two emotions that seem to precede every record I do, and those are two emotions that seem to always mean that something special is around the corner in my life and in my journey of faith. With this new record, I'm a man on a mission encouraging people to become a storyTELLER, not just a storyKEEPER. I have been encouraging folks over the past few years with my records that their life is a story that God is telling, but there is not power in simply keeping that story to ourselves, God wants to use our story to change the world. So, I'm giving people a chance to tell me their story. We've received thousands of stories at my website so far, and I'm spending two months hidden away in a cabin reading every one of them and writing the new songs!
FC: Thanks again for your time today Matthew. All of us here at Family Christian are incredibly honored that you wrote “A Christmas to Believe in” for us to have in our stores and online. We want to take the time to thank you again. We truly appreciate it. It does mean a lot to us.
MW: I was honored to write the song for this project, and I hope the heartbeat of the song's message will ring true for all who get the chance to hear it this Christmas.
FC: One last question: We believe strongly in the power of prayer and we would like to ask you how we can be praying for you.
MW: I would appreciate your prayers for my time spent in the cabin reading stories and writing these new songs. I want my heart to be open to what God is showing me and I am praying that I continue to write songs that tell the greatest story ever told!
I remember it distinctly-- the song “One of Us” by Joan Osborne softly played on the radio in my mom's car. My interest peaked as I listened to the words “what if God was one of us?”
My version of Jesus was a perfect man wearing iridescent clothing, floating in the sky and shaking his head at my life decisions. Yet, these lyrics described a different Jesus-- someone who understood my pain, who could relate to me, and maybe even talk to me.
At that time, I rejected the idea of Christianity, avoiding Christian music at all costs. Oddly enough, the secular-- even controversial-- song, “One of Us” still lingered in the back of my mind, along with the idea of a loving Jesus. Music was especially close to my heart since I had just started writing songs. As the years rolled by, my music evolved with it.
Then at age 19, I gave my life to Christ. I began listening to Christian music non-stop to fuel up and draw close to God. That was about the time I ran into a dilemma-- now that I was a Christian, was I supposed to write Christian music?
I tried over and over again to write a “Christian song”, but it usually felt unnatural and forced. My style of writing had always been metaphorical and illustrative, where the listener could derive their own interpretation and personally connect with the music.
Every time I wrote a “Christian song”, I felt like I was robbing the song of its true story by spelling out how the reader should think and feel. I was living passionately for God, but I felt guilty every time I wrote a song that didn't explicitly say “God” or “Jesus” in it.
Then God opened my mind.
I took a break from songwriting and He showed me how limitless He really was. I began hearing him in songs that I once considered “secular”. I heard him in the quiet melodies of an acoustic guitar, in the gut-wrenchingly honest words of a broken-hearted songwriter, and even in the soaring harmony of a symphony.
I realized that God is everywhere-- he's in every type of music, whether it's in the “Christian” genre or not.
That revelation helped me reconcile my faith with my voice as an artist. I let God pour through my songwriting, without any fear or inhibitions getting in the way. As a result, I finally have peace as a Christian artist.
>Matthew West returns with his new album, Into the Light on September 25th. Continuing his journey of drawing inspiration from true stories of people’s lives, he’s written an album of all-new songs including the first single “Forgiveness,” which tells the story of a mother forgiving the drunk driver that took her daughter’s life.
Into the Light encourages people to embrace the hope and restoration in Christ, in the middle of life’s toughest challenges.
Here is the first single from Matthew, Forgiveness, done acoustically.
Also, here is Forgiveness again, but the lyric video.
For more on Matthew West, click here.
To purchase his new single, click here.
From “latch-key kid” to key player in the Man Up movement, Lecrae’s life is an example of God’s transformative power – and he’s not quiet about it. In his signature straight-shoot approach, new album Gravity calls Christians to open their eyes to the weight of need in their world and share the love of Jesus as never before.
Family Christian: Can you give us a brief overview of your childhood? Where did Lecrae come from?
Lecrae: I was born in Houston, Texas to essentially a single parent household. We moved from Houston to Denver, and then, just because my mother was single and was just kind of struggling to make ends meet, I would stay with my grandmother quite often in San Diego, California. So between Texas, California, and Denver, those were the places I bounced around. I was just a sponge. I picked up so much in all that time. Obviously not having a strong male influence or role model, I gravitated to anyone who would pay attention. Most of the time those were terrible influences [who] influenced me to run in the wrong direction quite often. I grew up with a great sense of insecurity in figuring out what I was and where I belonged. Not growing up in church didn’t make it any easier. So I pretty much wrestled through that my whole life until my senior summer in high school. I got into a lot of trouble and [things] really exploded. I had to say “God, I need your help.” That’s really when I began to sense that God was drawing me and [I] later became a Christian after hearing the Gospel.
FC: What made you feel that impression that God was pursuing you?
Lecrae: I had gotten into trouble my senior summer. Financial trouble, trouble with other people, trouble with women – I was just running myself into a dead end. So I’m thinking, “I’m seventeen, let me do the mature, adult thing, and go to church.” Grandma was a Christian so the roots of the foundation I had established of the Christian God were through my grandmother. And that was where I needed to go. By grace, there was a young lady that I went to high school with that invited me to a Bible study. I went, and I had never seen Christians who dressed like me or talked like me, so I thought they were Martians from another planet! When I saw them, I said, “Oh you guys are human!” They loved me genuinely and that’s really what started it.
FC: Do you still live in Houston?
Lecrae: No, I’ve since moved from Texas to Memphis, and from Memphis to Atlanta. I’ve been in Atlanta for the last three years.
FC: You’re married?
Lecrae: I am, with three beautiful kids.
FC: So did you marry that lady from high school?
Lecrae: No, I actually met my wife at the same Bible study [though]. She was friends with the young lady who invited me. I met her there, and obviously I thought she was way too Christian for me, but I became a Christian and grew in the Lord and it worked out between us.
FC: How much was music or the arts part of your life growing up? Did you realize early on that there was some talent in your life, or did that come later?
Lecrae: Absolutely. I was a latchkey kid so I would sit at home for hours while my mother was at work. I had to use my imagination. I’d sit in front of the television so much. Sometimes she would allow me to watch television and she would come home to see if it was warm so I had to figure out what I could do with my time. It just became an outlet to start writing, experimenting, and just trying to be creative. I knew I had a passion for the arts, but we didn’t recognize it. It was one of my fifth-grade teachers who recognized it and suggested to my mother that I be put in a special class. That special class led me to audition for a special school so I actually went to a performing arts middle school for a couple years. That’s really where I started to hone my writing skills.
FC: Would you say that you’re trained in other forms of art beside hip hop?
Lecrae: I definitely wanted to be around artistic people all the time, [because] you pick up a lot. Acting and theatrics are my forte. I got a full scholarship for acting. I thought I was going to be an actor. I saw a movie with Bruce Willis in it and thought, “I want to do that.”
FC: So at what point did you decide that maybe there was something in hip hop for you? If you were leaning toward theater or acting, or at least had a desire for that, when did you decide “I want to do something with hip hop”?
Lecrae: Hip hop – it’s an art form but it’s a culture as well. You grow up in the culture and you never leave it. It’s a style of dress; it’s a way of thought. I always grew up in the culture, and it was part of who I was and I carried it into every world I was in. Even moving into the theater world, I would bring that element into it. What was unique about me and different about the world I traveled in, was I grew up watching cousins and uncles. They loved hip hop, listened to it constantly. As a little kid, you just listen to everything they listen to, they’d break dance in front yard and I was just exposed to this. From grabbing paint cans and trying to learn how to do graffiti to all those different elements. As I grew older I found that I really had a knack for rhyming and I pursued that. So by thirteen I got serious about using my writing and rhyming skills. I did it everywhere I could. I didn’t really have a lot of social currency in middle school or high school. I wasn’t the most popular kid. I’m super tall, but I started playing basketball late so it took me a while to catch up. My social currency was being able to rap and that’s what I would do in the cafeteria at lunchtime. That’s what really connected me to other peers.
FC: Did you feel forced to approach hip hop or lyrics differently after you became a Christian?
Lecrae: As a Christian I really did kind of wrestle with “How do I do this?” The things that really steered me away from Christianity [originally] was that I really did think it was about putting on airs and about rules and regulations. I liked baggy jeans and my urban style and I thought that Christians and that didn’t mix. And so going to the Bible study I saw individuals who did dressed like me and talked like me. [Up until that point] I didn’t know Christians wore their hats back and things along those lines, so that really intrigued me. I loved that I could be authentically hip hop, but authentically Christian. The things that God didn’t endorse, obviously I would have to let them go, but there were so many beautiful things that He did endorse and so many wonderful aspects within hip hop culture that just made me me that He could use for His own glory. I just began to walk in that and allow Him to change me.
FC: When you hear the term “Christian rap” or “Christian hip hop,” what do you think?
Lecrae: I think what people are trying to communicate is that there are redeemed individuals within hip hop culture. And I would say I’m one of them. I think that as a Christian, we’re to be a light in this world. I think it’s almost like saying “Christian American,” it doesn’t mean that I’m not American, it just means that I’m distinctly and authentically Christian as much as I am American. And so my Christianity is going to permeate throughout my American-ness. So when I think about Christian hip hop I think of an individual who is a Christian who is using hip hop to communicate things that God will endorse.
FC: What do you think of the Christian hip hop industry? Are we doing well? Are we competing, in a sense?
Lecrae: As an industry, there is definitely a lack of infrastructure. Simply because it’s definitely more of an organic art form, I think there’s definitely a lack of infrastructure. I think that’s been one of the passions that my friends at Reach Records have had; to bring some awareness to music and to really bring a different light and perspective. I’m really grateful to all of the different entities within the Christian music industry for embracing us and giving us a seat at the table. And I think that’s only helping more hip hop artists in positions to serve.
FC: What artists do you listen to personally, either hip hop or not?
Lecrae: I love listening to all the guys on my label: KB, Tedashii, Pro, Andy Mineo, Trip Lee. I love those guys. There’s another guy, Swoope, that I think is a phenomenal artist. They’re people that really inspire me and I think they’re just phenomenally talented at what they do.
FC: You’ve been busy with collaborations lately, appearing on Britt Nicole’s newest and also with Jimmy Needham. Who would be on your list of dream collaborations?
Lecrae: I’m a big fan of Brooke Fraser and Gungor, so I would love to work with them. You might see some Lecrae and Tenth Avenue North action happening as well... I definitely would say Hillsong United. I’m blown away at all that they do. I’ve been to Sydney and seen how incredibly passionate they are about what they do. I think that’s mind-blowing. I’ve been really fortunate. Not many artists can say they’ve done stuff with the Chris Tomlins and the Crowders. So that’s really been a blessing for me.
FC: Do you think you’d ever cross over into mainstream music? And what do you think about that type of responsibility?
Lecrae: There’s a saying that goes around that says “I you crossover make sure you bring the cross over.” That’s definitely my heart and my aim. I want to remain distinct and authentically Christian in whatever realm I’m in. I don’t want people to walk away saying, “Lecrae is a Christian because he said so. Lecrae is a Christian because they labeled him that.” But I want them to say, “Lecrae is a Christian because I can tell by his life that he values Jesus.” That’s really what my aim is, for people to see I truly treasure and value Jesus and His Word. If [crossing over] happens then, by God’s grace, let their lives be changed.
FC: So you’re not apprehensive of something like that happening? You’re just saying, “If that happens, God’s going to have to be the one to make it happen”?
Lecrae: Absolutely. I think as Christians, we all have the same calling, and that calling is to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul and love others as ourselves and to glorify God in everything that we do. If I was an architect, who all of the sudden made it into one of the biggest architectural firms, I’m still going to have that same calling. As a musician, to be able to walk in mainstream realms, I still have that same calling. The Bible says, “Take heed, lest you fall,” but this has really been the story of my life. I’ve traveled into other realms in order to be a light and be a missionary. Some of them were very dangerous, and I don’t look at this as any different.
FC: What do you think of church culture today, here in the U.S.?
Lecrae: Obviously, I love the church, the church that God is establishing, that Jesus died for, so I’ll never have any negative things to say about His church. Even though she’s spotty and has issues, He’s perfecting her. Church culture, or what I’d call Christendom, is this kind of traditionalism that we’ve set in motion. It doesn’t necessarily have any validation in the Bible, and I think can be very dangerous—creating rules and regulations and putting ourselves in positions where we’re the final authority on things because this is the way it’s always been done. It’s dangerous and we can be Pharisees in that regard. I’m very optimistic that there are sincere believers out there that are okay with tradition but don’t want to endorse traditionalism for the sake of traditionalism but want to embrace tradition because it’s God-honoring. I think that’s a beautiful thing.
FC: Tell us a little bit about Man Up: what went into it conceptually and what you hope it accomplishes.
Lecrae: Yes, so Man Up was kind of us at Reach Records and Life Ministries surveying the culture, both the church and outside the church. There was a lack of understanding of what masculinity really looks like and what it is. Obviously, we believe the Bible is the authority on masculinity, and so we wanted to address that. Men, specifically in the West, have no rights of passage, no way to know when they become a man. Everywhere else in the world you gotta kill a lion or stab a shark, or go on some journey, and you come back and you’re a man. But here in the West, we’re really kind of clueless as to what makes us a man. So we’ve begun to make up our own definitions when Jesus has given us so many. He was the picture-perfect man. He was selfless, He was sacrificial, He was courageous, He was authoritative, and He loved his wife – the church – to the death. Those were some of the elements that we wanted to put out there and portray for those inside and for those outside the church, that they may say, “Ah, this is what manhood looks like. And it’s a goal that I’ve never attained in my own strength.” And so, one of the key factors in manhood is repentance. Ya know, you’ve got to man down to man up. Wave your white flag and say, “Jesus I can’t do this.” I think that’s the first step in being a man.
FC: And it has been well-received?
Lecrae: Incredibly well. So we did a campaign where there was an album, a short film, a tour, and a conference. The tour sold out, the album has been incredibly successful, the film is attached to the album so people have been watching it and being encouraged. And at the conference we anticipated about 1,000 people and 2,200 men showed up – three generations, the grandfathers, fathers, and sons. It was mind blowing. It was a powerful, powerful time.
FC: That is so valuable for men and fathers. Talk to us a little bit about Church Clothes: the mix tape, the video, the controversy.
Lecrae: I’ve always been a missionary and what people don’t know is that I’ve always taken some strategic and eyebrow-raising steps. So historically that’s been my M.O. I moved to one of the worst neighborhoods in Memphis, as a newly married man, which everybody said “That’s ridiculous, that’s insane, you’ve lost your mind.” From there, my wife and I went to Asia in ministry there and had to duck and hide and run from authorities and she agreed to go pregnant. Everyone thought we had lost our minds again. God showed us incredible fruit. I’ve always done music to push people to get them to get uncomfortable in their seat so they could wrestle with things. Not to become pew potatoes, just simply sitting there, growing fat with knowledge and not applying it. It’s a mixed tape that’s really aimed and geared toward hip hop culture. And one of the formats that is highly respectable within hip hop culture is a mix tape. Just talking about controversial issues that I don’t think people outside of the church wrestle with. Being an artist that’s well received in Christian circles, the majority of my fan-base is Christian, and are hearing it and seeing it, and have all these questions and issues. For me, it’s me saying to them, “Hey, this exists out here. This is what people are wresting with. We need to get out here and love on people and engage people and engage culture.”
FC: So you’ve encountered some controversy with your music. Do you think it’s because you take a bold approach?
Lecrae: I think some people don’t get it, but as we talked about I think there’s a Christian culture that wants everything to be comfortable and safe and they think that’s what Christianity is. It’s “Aaah, I’ve escaped the craziness of this world and now I’m safe.” And we would like to move into a safe environment and have, ya know, a Christian barber shop and a Christian swimming pool and not have to deal with the world anymore. But Jesus prayed that we would remain in the world but [be] protected. He also told us that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His church and for the gates to not prevail against His church and [for that to happen], it must mean we’re trying to storm them. So, I think there’s just a sub-sect that want to remain safe and tucked away and not engage the world for the glory of Jesus.
FC: Can you just stop rocking the boat for a while?
Lecrae: (laughing) I would love to, but I can’t.
FC: No don’t! Don’t stop rocking the boat. So, tell us about Gravity. What’s the theme of the record?
Lecrae:Gravity is loosely based on Ecclesiastes and I think what Solomon was trying to do was bring some weight to life and that’s really what I want to do, to paint some sober pictures. Honestly everything sober is not bad so I don’t want people to think that sober pictures are bad. You know, there is a sobering picture when you’re overwhelmed with all of the hurt and the pain in this world. There’s a sober picture of how it’s only for a short period of time, it’s short-lived, or that we still have Jesus. So that’s what I would call a weighty part, a gravitational pull to remind us of who we are in Jesus. So obviously, just wanting to paint hope, but also just giving the pictures of the realities of this life that we live, and how there’s no escaping it other than Jesus.
FC: I do have a couple of questions from our Twitter followers. They should be fairly easy. What was the hardest thing that the media has put you?
Lecrae: Ya know, I don’t know if it’s the media. I would say it’s probably social media. Social media is just constant, it never stops, 24 hours a day. And so there’s always someone who is very loud and very opinionated. I will say it’s strengthened my faith if anything, because it’s made me feel closer to Jesus, or relate to Him more. I’m sure He was constantly criticized, and constantly someone had an opinion about what He was doing. I’m not perfect like Him though so some opinions or critiques might be warranted (laughs).
FC: Who was your favorite artist growing up?
Lecrae: My favorite artist growing up would probably be Lauren Hill. She sings, she raps, she sings from her soul, and then she wasn’t afraid to articulate her faith once she started to embrace it. And I really appreciate that about her.
FC: She certainly wore her heart on her sleeve, that’s for sure. One more question, are there any guests on your new record?
Lecrae: Absolutely. It’s still in the works, but I would love to work with the likes of Brooke Fraser and Gungor. There are a few, but I don’t want to give them away until it’s signed, sealed and delivered.
To find out more about Lecrae's new album, Gravity, click here.
Acclaimed band Tenth Avenue North announces “The Struggle” fall tour, its biggest headlining tour to date, visiting more than 35 cities from mid-September though late November. The tour, featuring guest artists Audrey Assad and Rend Collective Experiment, will support Tenth Avenue North’s Aug. 21 studio release, The Struggle, whose lead single “Losing” debuted with an incredible 73 adds out-of-the-box that included the KLove, WAY-FM and Air1 networks.
Kicking off Sept. 13 in Sewell, New Jersey (Philadelphia area), “The Struggle” fall tour will hit major markets including New York, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Phoenix, San Antonio, and Houston, among others. Singer-songwriter Audrey Assad and Kingsway artist Rend Collective Experiment will join Tenth Avenue North, who will perform new music from its latest project as well as fan favorites.
The tour is named for Tenth Avenue North’s third label project, The Struggle, available for pre-order now, with a street date of Aug. 21. Produced by six-time SESAC Christian Songwriter of the Year, and two-time GRAMMY nominee, Jason Ingram (Chris Tomlin, Sanctus Real), The Struggleis a bold, creative leap forward for the band, reflecting influences ranging from fan insight to the addition of two band members to a new recording process.
If anyone knows about possibilities, it’s Mark Schultz. Whether selling out the famed Ryman Auditorium as an indie artist and youth leader, biking 3,500 miles across the U.S. to raise money for widows and orphans, or becoming a platinum-selling artist, award-winning songwriter and 14-time Dove Award nominee, Schultz has made the most of the many gifts God has given him.
All Things Are Possible
Now, with his much-anticipated new studio project, All Things Possible, Mark continues to create very personal songs that showcase his knack for giving voice to the emotions we can’t express on our own. Producers Seth Mosley (Newsboys) and Pete Kipley (MercyMe/Phil Wickham) make the most of this talented musician’s God-given gift for storytelling, making sure the music beautifully complements the spiritual tales he’s telling.
This isn’t just “the next Mark Schultz album,” though. From the first notes, it’s clear that Schultz doesn’t just have a new record label home, he also has a new energy and a fresh perspective after more than a decade in the music business. At the same time, he’s an artist who knows who he is. Songs of encouragement, stories of hurt and healing, and an ever-present reliance on God continue to be unshakeable cornerstones of any music Schultz makes.
While this album marks a new chapter, he’s still the same voice behind hits like “He’s My Son,” “He Will Carry Me” and “Letters from War.” Listening to All Things Possible is like rediscovering an old friend and finding him at his absolute best, anxious to share all that God’s been doing in his life. You won't want to miss it!
Here is a present for you. It's our way of saying "Happy Father's Day."
If you are not yet familiar with Jimmy Needham, we strongly encourage you to check his music out. If you are a fan of singer/songwriting material, then Jimmy should fit great in your collection.
Mr. Needham came on the music scene back in 2005 with his first independent release titled For Freedom. Then in 2006, he signed with inpop records. His songs that have appeared on radio charts are "Dearly Beloved," "Lost at Sea," and "Yours to Take."
On Jimmy's latest album, Clear the Stage, he has a song that he wrote for his daughter titled "Daddy's Baby Girl." In honor of Father's Day coming, we would like to give it away for free.
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