Andy Flannagan: The Irish-born, Luton-based songsmith advertising the invisible

Tuesday 1st January 2002

ANDY FLANNAGAN answers questions from Tony Cummings.

Andy Flannagan
Andy Flannagan

Tony: This is your debut CD under your own name but in fact you've had a lot of musical experience, haven't you?

Andy: I've been writing songs and performing for quite a long time but due to the fact that I was stuck being a medical student and being a doctor for a while I didn't have any time for recording and producing them. Then I was working exclusively with TVB, Youth For Christ's band, for three years on the road. So again, even though I was writing and we were performing a lot of my songs I didn't have time to record and promote an album of my own songs. It's been a long time coming but it's finally here. It's quite exciting looking at 'Advertising The Invisible' today because it's the first time I've seen it! It actually arrived here at Cross Rhythms before it arrived on my own doorstep, which is quite impressive.

Tony: How would you describe 'Advertising The Invisible' to someone who's not heard your music?

Andy: The title's there very specifically because I hope through all of the songs on the album people can catch glimpses of God at work in normal human situations. Some of the songs are directly communicative songs, telling stories of situations that I've known where God has advertised himself quite powerfully. Others are quite personal worship songs that have now ended up being used as congregational worship songs by many people. A mix of those sort of things. Many of people who've heard them in the past have been ministered to by listening to them. They maybe think, 'I want some of that, whatever is driving that, whatever is changing that situation, whatever is inspiring those words, I want some of that.' I guess that's the passion behind the songs, that they really do communicate to people and make them search that little bit harder.

Tony: You're a well known worship leader - Spring Harvest, Summer Madness, etc. Because of that isn't there going to be a tendency for people to assume that the whole album is going to be worship?

Andy: I hope not. The title, 'Advertising The Invisible', isn't exactly the typical title you would put on a worship album, so hopefully that will let people know that there is something more about it than just songs that can be used in personal worship or congregational worship. There are some of those there but I think there is a nice mix. It's undeniable as to what the album is about even though there are different angles on the whole concept of God interacting with humanity. There are loads of different situations; there's the situation of my friend, Brian, who was diagnosed as having a lymphnoma, that you just don't get better from. Amazingly God healed him. I was at his wedding just a few weeks ago. I actually wrote that song while he was still ill - it's called "You Laugh", the first track on the CD - and I wrote it as a testimony to his faith and how much of an example he was to those of us who were with him and trying to help him through it. We thought we were helping him but the truth is he was teaching us a whole lot more than we were actually giving to him.

Tony: Tell me about another of the songs on the album.

Andy: The second track is a song that has been used quite extensively over the last three or four years both with TVB and during my own solo gigs. It's called "When Was The Last Time You Loved Somebody".

Tony: It has the hook about knocking yourself off the number one position.

Andy: Yes, it was inspired by thinking about love and thinking I was actually quite good at loving people, thinking, "Actually, I'm quite a decent sort, I do nice, good, loving things for people." Then I read a passage about love in the Bible and thought, "Well, actually under your love it's just a clever way of being selfish." I realised I loved people or did nice things for people because either 1) I fancied them; 2) because I was scared stiff of them; or 3) I knew if I did something good for them lots of people would notice and think I was great. So it made me think about examining the whole topic of what love actually is and the best definition I could come up with was that it really is when you put yourself last and put somebody else first. I guess God's love is the perfect example of that for us. That's why that line is in the chorus, "when you knock yourself off number one." Because we're living in the age where we are taught almost as we go through school and we suck in stuff in the media to have ourselves as number one priority and to be looking after our agendas. In God's Kingdom things are intended to be very different. CR

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.
About Tony Cummings
Tony CummingsTony Cummings is the music editor for Cross Rhythms website and attends Grace Church in Stoke-on-Trent.


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