Steven Curtis Chapman: "I realized Iím singing these songs from a much deeper place. Thereís more passion and purpose in these songs when I sing 'More to This Life' or when I sing 'Speechless' or even when I sing "The Great Adventure.'"
There’s something about the passage of time that makes treasured experiences become even more precious. Scriptures that have always had personal impact become cherished lifelines in times of trial. In the past few years, Steven Curtis Chapman has learned a lot about time and its ability to heal, restore and shift perspective. For Steven, viewing the world through a different lens has led to a new season of creativity that finds the veteran singer/songwriter both penning new songs and taking a fresh look at some that have been longtime companions.
On Steven’s 17th album, re:creation, he serves up six new songs, including the debut hit single, “Do Everything” and breathes new life into some of his most memorable and popular songs with re-imagined approaches and all new recordings.
NRT's Bill Lurwick spent some time chatting with Steven about the new album and dusting off old classics.
You’ve been through a lot in the last couple of years. Are you thankful for music or what?
You can’t even begin to imagine and you definitely hit the nail on the head, although I would never be bold enough or crazy enough to put myself in the category of the man after God’s own heart, David the Psalmist. But I can certainly can relate in so many levels and the Psalms have – I would say they have only become more important to me. I feel like I’ve really discovered the Psalms in the last three years. The depth, the hope. I don't know how I would have survived the last three years without the Psalms.
I feel like Beauty Will Rise, my last recording was really my personal Psalms of just from those darkest, deepest places of how long. Lord God where are you? Are you going to let me sink in this mire? I don’t think I’m going to survive it to that new song that we and I say we as my family and I really sense God putting in all of our hearts and since I’m the one that does the singing for the family and writing for the family, I’m the one that puts the song on the record, but it really is representative of the new song, the new recreating that we sense God doing in our hearts, in our lives.
Re:creation is so much more than just an album title and listening to the eight remakes that you have on Re:creation along with the six new songs, you are bringing in a whole new generation of fans probably because these are not just we went back into the studio and recut it. They’re different arrangements of all the classics.
Yeah, very different. In some cases so different that I got a little scared before I released it going, “Are people going to hate me and say you messed up” – what was that old pop song? Look what they’ve done to my song. I kept going, “Maybe I should put that on here. Look what I’ve done to my song,” because it’s a pretty different dive deeper. In fact I just had to rename that one. It was so different. I’m like, “I’ve got to let people know this one’s going to be really different and I’m not asking anybody to accept this as the definitive version of Dive. I hope people will be able to embrace it as this is an artistic different way of exploring what this song is saying.”
If you’ll go there, like let yourself just kind of forget what you know about the original "Dive" and listen to it this way. So that was kind of the idea even with that one and really with all of them and it’s been cool that somebody actually called in the other day, a radio station was telling me that somebody called in and said, “Hey. Who sings that do everything for the glory of God song?” They said, “That’s Steven Curtis Chapman,” and they said, “Steve – who’s that? Steven who?” and they said, “Isn’t that cool that there’s new people kind of discovering your music?”
That is certainly part of the hope too is that people might hear even "The Great Adventure," which for a lot of folks means I remember that. That was mullets and 20 years ago or whatever and to say, “Man, I’ve never heard that song before. That’s a great way of thinking about what this journey of faith is.
I was thinking about the songs that you’ve made and everything that’s on re:creation and everything that was on Beauty Will Rise and how artists, like yourself, give us a transparent view and they show us what it’s like to be vulnerable and I’m just so thankful for music in that realm, in that category.
This time I read something a little while back about you and Marybeth saying after what happened three years ago with Maria and everything that was surrounding that, there was a time period where you guys said, “Should we keep going? Should we keep doing music?” You came to that place where you said, “We have to.” Explain why you guys kept going.
Well, I think for me there was a part of it that felt like it was very much an important part of the healing and kind of the catharsis of being able to stand on stage and say night after night after night, doesn’t matter what I feel. Doesn’t matter if I even understand much about what I’m seeing, but this is what I know and believe to be true and this is what I declare to be true. There’s something so powerful about proclaiming and declaring something that goes so far beyond our emotions, our feelings and my wife would say that.
Last year we went on tour and did a tour called A Night with the Chapmans where she spoke and something she never imagined herself doing. she wrote a book and she took a position of publicly declaring this is from the broken heart of a momma who just wants her little girl back. I’m going to stand-up and say that this is what this journey has been like and we’re trusting God.
My wife, I’ve heard her say it many times since that tour. She said, “I think the reason I did that,” because she never, ever wanted to be on tour. Never wanted to be on tour again. Never wanted to write a book. Never wanted to be in front of people, but she said, “God knew I needed to hear myself say it 30 something times for me to get it because it was something about hearing your own voice say this is what I believe. This is what I true.”
So I think music for me and my songs were that and as I began to do that I realized I’m singing these songs from a much deeper place. There’s more passion and purpose in these songs when I sing "More to This Life" or when I sing "Speechless" or even when I sing "The Great Adventure," which has always kind of been thought of as a fun, saddle up your horse, let’s go have a good time and let’s go to church camp song.
For me it’s like this song has taken on a much deeper meaning to say, “I’ve been on those mountains. I’ve been in the deep, deep valleys, way deeper than I imagined, much higher than I imagined and God really has led is and is calling us into that.” It’s not just a random kind of showing up and whatever happens happens, but God really is the one leading us through this and we don’t know where it’s going. It is a unknown. It is a glorious unknown. It’s a terrifying unknown sometimes, but God’s with us and He’s leading us and I was like I want to recreate that song in a way that it feels like what it means to me now.
So that’s part of what’s going on even with making this record.
I wanted to talk to you about a song that you wrote with your son, Caleb, called "All That’s Left."
The initial idea for that song came from something Caleb said at the memorial service for our daughter Maria and it was so profound what Caleb said. He was 19 years old at the time and some of the most profound things that spoke to my heart during that time was words that came out of the mouths of my children.
Caleb said something to the effect of in this moment it’s so clear to me and I know it’s not always going to be this clear because life will probably not be as searingly, painfully clear as it is right now of what matters and what’s eternal, but right now I can tell that all that matters is relationship and love and the love we have for each other and our family and you in this room. He was saying, “Help me remember that because I don’t want to forget it. I don’t want to get on with life in any way and forget what I see so clearly now.”
So from that it was just that idea that when these things come, we see it. All that’s left when it’s all said and done is love and God’s love for us ultimately and that’s what it will all come down to eternally is that the guy that made us loves us and cares for us and invited us to Himself, but then to be able to say it’s our relationships with each other that God invites us into and that’s what’s eternal.
It’s an important song for me.
I know you’ve done a lot of interviews leading up to the release of re:creation, but probably the most exciting was the opportunity you had to talk to a couple of astronauts, right?
That was pretty cool, I’ve got to say. That was about as good as anything I could ever imagine was to get to talk to two guys who were at the International Space Station in outer space. What’s the zip code there? They’re doing their astronaut thing and I get to speak to them on kind of a video chat and they tell me that they’re fans of my music. That they brought my music with them to space and that they listened to it that very day.
So I thought, “That’s pretty crazy right there talking about whatever you do, doing for the glory of God even all the way to space.” It’s an amazing thing.
The heavens sing out the glory of God in song even with the music of Steven Curtis Chapman.
That’s right. It brings whole new meaning to that scripture.
Thanks for spending time with us at NewReleaseTuesday, Steve. God’s blessings to you; we’re excited about re:creation.
Thank you so much, Bill. Bless you.
Posted January 31, 2012 | Bill Lurwick, the voice of NewReleaseTuesday.com's weekly New Christian Music Podcast, has been in radio since 1989 and is currently heard on KJIL in Dodge City, KS.
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