Chris Mountford threw a batch of questions at praise and worship man MATT REDMAN
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Matt: It grew out of our friendship with Martin Smith originally and what came together was built on friendships and relationships that Martin had around the world. He phoned me up one day and said what do you think about this and I just thought it sounded fantastic. At the back of my mind I was thinking man, if he can make that happen it'll be a miracle. But it was wonderful, it all came together and it was a fantastic few days together writing songs and just having fellowship together. So it was exciting to see the whole thing come together. I'll be interested to see what happens from here really. I think our kind of long-term plan would be great if it stirred something on a local level for people to almost mirror that and do events or CDs or write songs, do the same thing. That would be great. I don't think there's any big plan to build a massive machine. We'd love it to be real organic, just stirring something up in the Church. It's been really cool to be part of that. I'd written songs with probably nearly everyone there before - Steven Curtis Chapman, and obviously Martin and Tim and Chris Tomlin. Israel Houghton. But it was great to have that dynamic of a few of you in the room. I remember for me the first session they kind of pulled names out of a hat - I don't know how biblical that is - so I got put with Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W Smith on the first morning. I was like great, here we go, in at the deep end with these kinds of legends. But it was wonderful and in fact a song came out of that session called "Highly Favoured" which ended up on the album. It came from nothing to two hours later being a song, so that was wonderful. God's grace.
Chris: You do a fair amount of co-writing. Is that something that comes naturally to you?
M: It's definitely nice when there's some kind of friendship happening. It definitely gives you a lot but at the end of the day I love the experience because it's such a great way to fellowship. You kind of gather round the Word of God, you're worshipping, you're sharpening each other musically as songwriters and as Christians hopefully so there's not a whole lot that can go wrong. I've done it a few times and not always come out of it with a song but felt like it was a really valuable experience. On the new album I have a song with a guy called Matt Maher who wrote the song "Your Grace Is Enough" which Chris Tomlin recorded. He's a great songwriter and he has all this - he has a great knowledge of literature. He's in his early thirties I guess but he's well-schooled in all that kind of thing so he brings to it a great depth. I've written with Israel Houghton and he has a musicality, a musical knowledge, an energy, which is impossible not to be inspired by. So with all these people there are different approaches, they bring different things but it's great when there's a friendship there because for one thing that allows some honesty. My wife Beth is the ultimate example of that. I could ask her to help me on a song and she'll be, "Oh, Matt. It just sounds like all the others." She's pretty brutal but in a helpful way, but the great thing is she has ideas how to change things and so the song "This Is How We Know" on the new album - I'd been trying to finish that song for three or four months, I'd been all around the houses. I actually went back to my songwriting programme on the computer. I had 60 different recordings, all different stages on the journey of that song. She came in and we finished that song in 45 minutes. There's probably a lesson in there for me. Like, God has let you live with this amazing songwriter. Use her more often. We wrote "Face Down" together, "Blessed Be Your Name", "Never Let Go", so she definitely has a great gift for coming in and finishing a song.
Chris: You are coming here to Stoke-on-Trent for the Adoration event. Is that the time when you're spending quite a few weeks here in the UK?
Matt: Yeah, we'll be there for five weeks which will be fantastic. We're going to be doing a few events around the place. We're going to go back to our church that we planted - The Point - and a few other church things then New Day, which is Newfrontiers International Youth Conference and we'll be at New Wine and Adoration. In fact that will be our first thing and I'm excited about it for a number of reasons. One of them is we're going to team up with Hillsong London and kind of lead the whole thing together at the end of the night which is great because I toured with them last year. We went through Europe and I think we did 14 nights. We went to Switzerland, Holland, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Italy. We had an amazing time but we had a wonderful flow when we led together. They're very good at bringing the high-energy stuff and it felt like we really complemented each other. So when we found out we were both leading in a row at the end of the night at Adoration we went to the organisers and said any chance we could do it together. So I'm really excited about that.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.