Worship leader and compiler of the Release songbook Richard Lewis spoke to Tony Cummings
Tony: How is the Release concept different from the other songbooks on sale at the moment?
Richard: Release is different because it majors on the songs of emerging new writers working on a local level who may not have access to any of the larger platforms through which to expose their work to the wider public.
Tony: How seriously is World Wide Worship open to receiving songs/demos from 'unknown' local church worship leaders?
Richard: We are not so much into artist promotion as song promotion so it really makes little difference to us if the worship leader who wrote the song is well known or unknown. We are very happy to receive submissions of any songs suitable for congregational use. Songs should be sent with a clearly recorded demo tape/CD, lyrics, chords and if possible the melody line. All songs sent to us will be listened to.
Tony: Has the worship scene in the UK become dominated by personality cults linked with the large events like Soul Survivor and Spring Harvest?
Richard: I hope not! I'm sure that all the frontline worship leaders I know or have ever met would be appalled at such an idea. However, people do need to be led. They also need role models, especially the younger generation, and quite frankly I'd rather our young people followed the Godly example of some of our worship leaders than emulate their musical equivalent in the world! However there is also danger of us pumping up our leaders. This is where publishers and record companies have a responsibility to use their media power to help enhance the ministry of the song-writer/worship leader without creating a bandwagon. The personality cult that should be dominating our worship scene is the Jesus personality cult where the worship leader is really just the lead worshipper. We need to be propagating a worship culture that is active and not passive, where people to give God passionate worship at any time no matter who's leading and which songs are being sung.
Tony: I understand that future products in the Release series will be a little different from the first one. In what way?
Richard: The next series of publications in the 'Release' brand will be each in the form of a book containing 10songs with piano arrangements, acetate masters and including a free demo album. Again they will feature songs discovered on a local level but deserving of wider usage.