Roma Waterman: The Australian prophetic worshipper's life in music

Wednesday 24th May 2017

Tony Cummings spoke at length to international prophetic worship leader, songwriter and author ROMA WATERMAN

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Roma: There is no other kind according to him. Whenever we've toured he's looked after the administration and the resource sales and he's really a great defender of me and amazing bodyguard is probably the best way to explain it.

Tony: Tell me about your books.

Roma: The first book I wrote was the Handbook For Working Singers which was a vocal technique book. The second was The God Artist which was a book that had been on my heart for a long time. It's a term that I coined for being in touch with God's heart and modelling him as artistic people as opposed to our culture. I was starting to see, and I saw it a lot as a Christian music artist in the industry, that there were just so many people trying to make it, so many people trying to be somebody, their identities wrapped up in their art and their music. It breaks my heart when I see that because there is so much in every person that God has placed his seed that when all the love of stuff gets out of the way and you truly be authentic and truly just create because you want to give glory to the Lord that's revival art. That's when God starts to move. So that book is all about how to release that in your life. How do you do it? I feel that people want that but they don't see it modelled very often.

I think it's being modelled more than it ever has been but there was a season there where I was like, what is going on? People are just trying to have a top 10 hit. That's not what it's about. It's taken me a long time to get there 'cos I've had seasons in my life where I've been really well known in the nation, you can't get away from people, there are people always wanting a piece of you. Then I've had seasons where nobody has known who I am. I've had to learn in both seasons that it doesn't matter because Jesus knows who I am. I'm famous in Heaven. Learning to live like that is so freeing because then you start writing songs out of that place of identity, out of that place of Jesus is my Dad, he's my Papa and he loves to hear me sing. I heard this amazing story once of a man, a songwriter, worship leader who had a vision of Heaven - he was walking down the street with Jesus and he heard one of his songs being sung in Heaven and he couldn't believe it. He turned around to Jesus and he said, 'I can't believe you're singing one of my songs in Heaven.' And Jesus said, 'What do you mean one of your songs? That's one of ours. You just heard it one day and started to write it.' Isn't that a beautiful story?

The whole idea of partnering with Heaven, what is Heaven singing, that's what I want to sing. What is Heaven saying? That's what we should be trying to run after. There are so many obstacles that get in the way. I've had big major publishing deals with record labels in the past; I still remember this one person saying to me 'Can you write a song like dot, dot, dot. That's the kind of song we want 'cos that was a number one hit.' I remember that conversation so vividly because I just went: is this what I'm doing? Am I just writing songs to be hits? That seems pointless to me in the long run. It's not easy to be in that place either because sometimes it's just you and Jesus and that's it and you have to be ok with that. But I am ok with that.

Tony: Tell me about the 2012 album 'Release The Sound'.

Roma: I loved recording that album because my testimony is wrapped up in that. That whole story of not being able to fall pregnant, in my mind I was I'll have another baby then I'll go back on the road and travel. Well, this baby never happened so seven years later we just needed to start living our lives again so I took a leap of faith to record an album - didn't have any money to do it. I'm like I don't know where we're going to find the money. We booked Henry Seeley to record it. At the time Henry was producing all the Planetshakers albums. He's an amazing producer; we've known each other for a long time. We were booked in to go to the studio and all of that. So I'm preparing for the album and every song I'm writing is 'Oh, God, I'm so sad! Help me in my life!' It was so depressing. So I'm sitting there with Henry and he's going through all the songs going Nah! Nah! Nah! Eventually I came to a place where I went, I've got to stop singing about how I feel and I want to start just giving glory. What would it look like if I just worshipped the Lord every day with no agenda? So it's not even to write an album, I'm just sitting at my piano.

I started to do that. I just sat at the piano, not really thinking about writing songs, just thanking the Lord for who he was, thanking him for who he is. On the Monday that we were meant to start recording the album, I had all those new songs ready to go, the money came in on the day - we'd been believing for money to come in to record the project - and on the day the money came in and on the day I started recording I found out I was pregnant. So then I didn't end up touring anyway. I had two babies at the same time. But the greatest gift to me is that album. My kids at night go 'Mum, can you put "Release The Sound" on' and they go to bed with that so it's all wrapped up - the testimony is wrapped up and it's very precious to me.

Tony: And you've made a Christmas project, 'Our Saviour Born'.

Roma: I really love Christmas music and I thought what would it sound like if I recorded a Christmas album that was spontaneously prophetic, so singing carols in that spontaneous worship style. It's a beautiful peaceful album with American flute and violin and piano and just singing some of my favourite carols in my own style. I loved recording that.

Tony: You brought a prophetic element; does that mean you were singing like some improvised words within that structure?

Roma: Yes. I'd start off singing the structure of the song and then just go into wherever I felt to go. So much fun. I would love my next project to be a spontaneous album. I don't know how I'm going to do it because of the funding for this project. The most expensive thing I can do is record an album and I don't have a passion to tour and be a touring artist anymore. My passion is raising up people, training people but I'm still an artist, I'm still creative. That's why I write my books and why I record. I think it's fabulous the guy in Chariots Of Fire when he said 'I run because I feel God's pleasure.' That's how I feel when I sing. 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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