Seph Schlueter: Encouraging all of us to count our blessings

Thursday 18th April 2024

Tony Cummings reports on the new Nashville-based songsmith who's broken through with "Counting My Blessings" SEPH SCHLUETER

Seph Schlueter
Seph Schlueter

The international viral hit "Counting My Blessings" by Seph Schlueter has taken the music world by storm. He explained how his ministry has grown and grown since he first joined a Catholic missionary/youth group retreat in Ohio, Damascus. "I gave my life to the Lord in high school, and made the decision to give him my whole life. I joined Damascus to be a part of bringing revival to the Catholic church, for students and families to have a real encounter with Jesus."

At Damascus his songwriting and worship leading gifts developed. Friends started encouraging him to send some of his songs to record labels in Nashville. He remembered rather ruefully, "I didn't know anyone in the music industry or where to send my music. An artist I followed on Instagram made a post thanking a bunch of people at her label, so I wrote down all their names and sent my song to them as well as a bunch of artists I looked up to. That usually doesn't work too well."

To his amazed delight he got a positive response from internationally acclaimed worship man Phil Wickham who eventually invited Seph to play some shows with him. Another response was from A&R executive Jon Sell. After Seph had relocated to Nashville, Sell set up several co-writes with successful Nashville songsmiths and eventually became his manager. "The people I was writing with were terrifying to me because I would look them up before the co-writes and freak out at their resumes." The team at Christian music giant Provident Entertainment were impressed with Seph, signed him to the label and released his debut EP. One journo described it as "a bright, Ed Sheeran-esque collection of songs filled with Seph's organic pop sensibilities and relatable lyrics that speak to his all-consuming love for Jesus."

It is the song "Counting My Blessings" which immediately caught the attention of the world Church. Sony Brazil artist Isadora Pompeo recorded it in Portuguese, titled "Bênçãos Que Não Têm Fim". Her version went top 5 on the Top 50-Brazil playlist, the highest placement ever for a gospel/Christian song. It also went on to earn more than 70 million streams in less than four months, a staggering number for a song about faith originally recorded in English. The two versions combined now have more than 12 million user-generated short-form video creations across Instagram and TikTok that account for well over one billion views. Additionally, the official music videos for the song account for more than 100 million views (YouTube).

"Counting My Blessings" has been described as a "pop-fuelled letter of thanks to a God who never fails." Seph himself spoke of his hit's creation: "I wrote this song with Jonathan Gamble and Jordan Sapp, both incredibly talented people. We were all in this place where we were living in the answer to prayers we'd prayed years ago. It's easy to move on to the next dream, the next goal, but we wanted to pause and thank the Lord for where we were right then, to remember that even in the hard times, we can still look at our lives and see all the ways God has been good and faithful. This song is about gratitude and that's so universal. Everyone can relate to gratitude. In a world where there's so much negativity and complaining and fear, to see a song blowing up about gratitude is so important."

Two other good songs on his EP are "Stay" ("I wrote this song with Colby Wedgeworth and for us, it was saying, 'Lord, as long as you're with me, I'm gonna be okay. I can face anything. Things will be all right if you're with me.'") and "Running Back To You", co-written with Jacob Sooter. About the latter Seph commented, "This song's about how his arms are always open, even when we make mistakes. There's joy in turning around, joy in repentance and coming back to the Father."

Seph's most personal song, "Love Me Still," is a piano-driven ballad celebrating God's open arms. "You know how when you're a kid and you mess up and you sort of hide from your parents for a while? That's how I would sometimes approach the Lord. If I did something I knew I shouldn't have, I'd try and fly under the radar thinking God was going to be mad at me. But he's the best place to go when you mess up. We need to go right to him. His love doesn't change. He loves us still." 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.

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