Tony Cummings quizzed the popular and hard working worship songsmith BRENTON BROWN
The last time Cross Rhythms spoke to internationally renowned worship leader and songwriter Brenton Brown was in 2006 when he had his first solo album 'Everlasting God' in the CD racks. Much has happened to the South African-born, USA-based singer since then and with the recent release by Kingsway of his 'Our God Is Near' album this seemed an appropriate time to catch up on Brenton's news.
Tony: Brenton, I'm going to read you something which was on the publicity blurb that came with your new album. It says, "New songs have emerged, 'Adoration', 'Hosanna' and 'Our God Is Mercy', and with them, a new stage of the journey has begun." What does that mean?
Brenton: Well someone else wrote that about me, so I am going to have to surmise. I suppose it's a happy record, about God seeing us through some difficult times; that he is good and he's near.
Tony: How is your health at the moment?
Brenton: It's roughly the same but pretty stable. It's almost a non-factor, I don't really think about it. We just get on with it, and through that we have seen God do some amazing things, almost despite it. So that's where the happiness comes from.
Tony: When I saw you at Creation Fest I was amazed at how hard you were working. You were leading worship and then conducting a songwriting workshop. Do you do that kind of thing often?
Brenton: I do actually. I've just got back from a three day conference and one of them was a boot camp for songwriters. Three hours of talking in the morning, and four hours of critiquing songs. That's about as tough as it gets for a musician. It was alright. I'm just very grateful to be working.
Tony: Over the years you have done quite a bit of songwriting with other people. Talking about your recent collaborations, how did you connect up with Matt Maher and how did you begin collaborating with him?
Brenton: We have the same publisher so on one level it was just work; we bumped into each other and got on really great. For a number of years I have been praying for the Catholic Church and worship leaders in the Catholic Church saying please send some kids like us to the Church. He is one of those guys who has a wonderful heart, amazing gifting and God uses him in the Church in an amazing way. I had been hoping to meet someone like him for a long time, so I was thrilled to meet him and get on so well.
Tony: What about Paul Baloche?
Brenton: He came down to Cape Town many years ago on a YWAM training trip. We hit it off straight away, we like the same music and have a similar sense of humour. We've known each other for about 16 years now and are good family friends. That's family for me.
Tony: Do you set aside certain periods, say a few days, for songwriting?
Brenton: No, I know people do that but I am not that way inclined. For me, there is a magical element to writing melodies in that I have to let them come round, and the best way to do that is having fun. It's harder than it sounds, because you have to set aside time. I like to be in nature, if I am not in the mountains then I am in the ocean and I like being around people who love the Lord. That always brings out melodies and songs.
Tony: Presumably you have to have a recording machine at all times.