Matt Redman: Talks About His New Album, Church Plants, Passion And Much More

Wednesday 28th March 2007

In an extensive interview Tony Cummings quizzed Britain's most popular worship leader MATT REDMAN on a wide range of topics.

Continued from page 3

Matt: Yeah, we went for, I think, three weeks at the beginning then we did another week and then I had some vocal problems. I couldn't get rid of this vocal bug and then the producers got it and they realised I wasn't just making it up. I think they thought it was all psychological and then they got it and they were like, "Man, this thing hurts!" I had this real sore throat for weeks. The great thing about the Doubledutch guys, they just wanted to get it right. So even when we could have said we're finished they wanted to come in and change things. We mixed it and then we went back and did some remixes and revisited some bits. We had a chance to go back in and keep making adjustments, really fine-tune the whole process.

Tony: You've played at America's Passion events a few times now haven't you?

Matt: Yes. I've become really involved. I've just come back from a retreat in Miami with Chris Tomlin, David Crowder and his wife Toni and Charlie Hall and Louie Giglio. You know the whole sixstepsrecords/Passion thing has been an amazing thing to be part of. I feel it's so much more than just turning up at an event. You know we had this little retreat together before the next event to plan, pray, just seek God for vision for the next year or so and chat through stuff.

Tony: How is a Passion event different from Soul Survivor?

Matt: I guess the main distinction is it is college students and it is only college students. So there'll be 24,000 college students in Atlanta in January 07. The similarity with Soul Survivor is it feels like a movement that God's breathed on, it doesn't feel like, oh, we had this great idea, we'll do this conference. It feels like a kind of groundswell thing that's gained momentum over the years and again, a similar thing with Soul Survivor is worship is right at the heart of it, it's kind of a very worship-centric conference. I felt being part of the team has been a real sharpening thing over the years. The great thing is you've got this team, we do so much together, Charlie Hall, the David Crowder Band and Chris Tomlin and myself but between us we have very different ways of leading, different musical expressions. David's kind of your quirky, on the edge, inventive, innovative - just sort of anything goes. And Charlie's kind of prophetic, going with the flow. And Chris is a great leader, a charismatic leader in terms of his personality. I've seen him in different cultures, different age groups. Chris has the pop sensibilities of Paul McCartney in a worship leader in terms of songwriting and in terms of leading. Then I get to be in the mix too - I'm not quite sure what I am. Probably a mixture of those with an English accent. But you know it's been a massive privilege to be involved with Passion - even the way the record label is set up. Sixstepsrecords is half owned by EMI and half by them and the profits go back into college ministry and aid relief stuff. What a great thing. Chris Tomlin's selling a lot of albums, he's massive. A couple of weeks ago Time magazine did a piece on him. He's just been nominated for a couple of Grammys. His last album sold gold. He's handling it all really well. It's great also to think that the record company are doing great out of that and because of that they've been able to fund other ministry stuff.

Tony: I couldn't even begin to imagine what it must be like to be in a position sitting on a pot of money, even a small pot of money.

Matt: One thing I love about Louie Giglio's leadership is it's very intentional, purposeful. He doesn't do things on a whim so things like that, setting up the label in that way and then thinking where that money's going to go is very purposeful, intentional. It's good to see that.

Tony: Right now you're back here in the UK. How are things at home?

Matt: Family life and local church life can go on as normal. I've actually been off the road for four months because our little baby son Rocco Benjamin Redman arrived so I've been chilling at home. I've actually had a really nice season. But I'm doing 30 US cities with Chris Tomlin in January, February and March. Hopefully we'll be going to Asia this year too. I've got this trip on the table which will be Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Seoul, Korea. I'm looking forward to that. We travel a bit together as a family then I go a bit on my own. Try to get into a rhythm that works in terms of family life and local church life.

Tony: But you still manage quite often at the moment to be there with your guitar on a Sunday morning in your local church?

Matt: Yes, more so in some seasons, less so in others. Really, at the end of the day, it's just been a wonderful thing, being part of this church plant. I can't really put it into words. It's been such a privilege. We get to go around the world, see these great events with young people rising up to worship God and we also get to be part of this fantastic kind of family-orientated, biblically-based church. It is such a sense of community in our church and it's been growing and starting to impact the community around us I think. I love it. You know the thing I love the most is that my kids want to go. I've got a six year old daughter Maisey and a four year old little boy called Noah and obviously little Rocco now. On a Sunday morning they want to go, they're fired up, it's like their favourite thing in the week. As a Dad now that's just a wonderful blessing.

Tony: I remember once getting Graham Kendrick to begrudgingly admit there was such a thing as a praise and worship personality cult. When I talk to artists in the mainstream they'll say local church is a problem for them. One of the problems is because people won't leave them alone. They'll come up to them and push a tape into their hand or bend their ear about something which is not why they're at church. Does that ever happen to you?

Matt: Not really. I love the way our church is set up, it's not personality driven at all. No one knows who's going to lead worship and when I do it's the kids' worship most weeks, well not most weeks, half the weeks. I couldn't have imagined myself doing that. I think that's great. If anyone did show up they'd see me in a totally different light - trying my best to remember the words about snails and whales. It is an interesting thing the whole personality dynamic obviously in America is a bit more heightened. America has a bigger media thing in terms of radio, TV, magazines. The whole Christian media is bigger. So people might be more likely to recognise you or to think that you're a better person than you are.

Tony: You mentioned quite a few of the songs on your album. What is your favourite?

Matt: There's a song called "You Never Let Go" which I wrote with my wife Beth. It came out of a real tough time. We wrote it together. It was actually the week of the London bombings but the same week we had a miscarriage. it was a real hard time. We were walking through a real hard season and this came out of that. It kind of starts off with Psalm 23 - even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. But it gets to this hopeful place. "You never let go, through the calm, through the storm, you never let go, through every high and every low you never let go." I think the truth is that when we're in the storms of life we need something firm to stand on. And for us at that time we just needed to find something solid to stand on. That was the truth of the God that never lets go. The truth of the God that was just as in control today as he was yesterday and will be tomorrow. He's just as caring and as kind. He's just as powerful, just as ready and able to save. So really that song came out of a real deep place in us and is a special one.

Tony: Did that healing process continue as you were putting the song together? Or was it an experience you looked back on?

Matt: I think sometimes when you're writing it there's an element of healing in it. Especially if it's full of truth because when everything else is breaking and shaking apart you've finally found some truth, something unshakable, reassuring so in that there's a healing. I think the beautiful thing is, we have a song on the album "Fearfully And Wonderfully Made", it's the other song on the album that Beth and I wrote together and this song is the opposite. She was pregnant again and things were going well and we walked out of the ultra scan that we had and I had this idea come into my head. I was so full of joy. How can they say there is no God? That was the launch pad for this other song we worked on together. So it's kind of nice on the album we've got both of them. The really cool thing is on the second one, it was the day before mixing it and I felt there was something else we needed on the song. It was like it needed another texture at the beginning. I suddenly had the idea of putting the heartbeat from a baby in the womb on there. So I looked it up and found a sample of a 16 week old baby in the womb. And the amazing thing was that when I sent it to the producers they said they nearly fell off their chairs because the tempo was perfect for the track. They loaded it into the computer and it just sat in there perfectly. We thought, man, this is a real God smile moment. I was pleased because I felt like sometimes worship and politics need to mix. It was a little statement saying babies in the womb far older than that 16 week old one are getting aborted everyday. Thousands and thousands and thousands of babies every year. But here we have this little baby beating its heart away. It's ready to be a worshipper of Jesus.  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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Reader Comments

Posted by BiZz in hungary @ 08:57 on Jul 17 2007

great interview, i enjoy it very much. thanks Tony for the interesting questions and thanks Matt for the candid answers.

God Bless,

The opinions expressed in the Reader Comments are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms.

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