Tony Cummings spoke to Melbourne-based singer, songwriter and guitarist ANDI HILLMAN
Continued from page 2
Andi: "Yeah. I started off just in the church band, which was a great place to improve my guitar technique and vocals, then as I grew and developed in my own personal intimacy with Jesus in my own worship life, as that grew and matured, then I started to lead. Ever since then it's been a part of how I connect with Jesus and how I bless the church. Yeah, I've used my gifts and talents, I guess."
Tony: When Cross Rhythms stumbled across your "This Moment" single, we discovered that in 2015 you released an EP called 'Awake My Soul'. Was that the first recording you ever made?
Andi: "I dabbled with recording before then, in a home studio with mates. We recorded a few little songs here and there. They're still sitting on someone's hard drive. A couple of them I recorded as gifts, for presents, and gave them to a couple that got married, and my grandfather before he passed away, I wrote a song for him, but the rest of them didn't make it very far."
Tony: What were the circumstances that led up to you recording 'Awake My Soul'?
Andi: "I was playing in a worship band at that stage. They didn't have a name either. We just went around to churches and played worship. The lead singers were me and a girl. We kind of tag-teamed. We loved playing other people's songs but we had a real passion to do original material. I wrote the songs for 'Awake My Soul'. It had a little bit of interest from regional radio stations across the country but mostly it was localised here in Melbourne. Obviously it has a broader reach online, around the world, where people stumble across it."
Tony: Was it recorded in a proper studio or at your home?
Andi: "I was put onto a great producer, Daniel Kellart, who's a Melbourne-based Christian producer. He recorded a bit of The Paper Kites [the indie rock-folk band]. He recorded their song called 'Bloom', and a few other songs, but that's probably the most well-known. He's also worked with a couple of Christian artists here in Australia. Anyway, we recorded 'Awake My Soul' with him, and we're now doing the next EP, 'The Time Has Come', with Daniel."
Tony: Now getting back to "This Moment". Who's Rebecca Fielding?
Andi: "Great question! She's a beautiful Jesus-lover, a real worship leader in her own right. A mate of mine just called me up one day, and I was looking for a girl to sing backing vocals on a few of the tracks that we were currently recording, and he put me onto Rebecca. We'd met a few times before, but he said, 'Oh you've just got to hear her voice', so we sat down and had a practise one night. I heard her voice and I was just amazed, loved it, fell in love with her voice. She'd never really done anything like this herself, so it's the first time she's been in a studio and sang."
Tony: Tell me about the writing of "This Moment".
Andi: "It's a song all about intimacy with our heavenly Father and just being content in him. It's really just saying that there's nothing worth more than any time with him and being in his presence. I wrote it at a time when I was struggling with a bit of anxiety, a bit of concern about the circumstances going on in my life at that stage. I remember going for a bit of practise where I worked at OM, I went to their offices as I usually did and had a bit of a practise. I felt the Lord saying, 'Just pick up your guitar and sing to me'. So I did that, made a few chords and just sang out to him. And 'This Moment' is what came out of those few moments that I was just singing from my heart to the Lord. The song was created that way."
Tony: I understand you've got a new song coming out.
Andi: "Yes, it's a Christmas song called 'Life Laid Down'. That'll be out towards the start of December. Then we're looking at putting the EP out sometime next year. It's another five tracks that we've recorded. We've laid down all of the instrumentation, I've just got to go in and record the vocals on a few of the tracks, and that'll be all ready to release. Just putting out a couple of singles first to whet people's appetites for it."
Tony: When you next lead worship, will you be singing all your own songs or will there be some other people's songs there as well?
Andi: "We definitely sing a mixture of both. There's a few other songwriters within our church community. We're working on singing organic worship expressions that come out of our community and our area, what we feel the Lord is doing in our reach and music and express and sing that to the Lord. We sing Hillsong, and a few Housefires. We sing a couple of Bethel tunes and different songs that have really meant something to people who lead them."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.