After a long day of song writing in a small chapel near his home in Brighton, England, renowned worship leader and songwriter Matt Redman had too many melodies running through his head to listen to one more. He along with friends and co-writers Jonas Myrin (song history includes “Our God” and “You Alone Can rescue”) and Jason Ingram (“Forever Reign” and “Always”) had spent hours working on songs that would be a part of Redman’s new album. “Jonas had kept saying to me ‘Hey, I have this melody,’” recalls Redman. He jokingly admits his initial reaction to Myrin was “I don’t want to hear it.” But a couple of days later, Redman turned back to Myrin in the chapel and asked him about that melody; thus, the title track of Matt Redman’s live album 10,000 Reasons was born.
As soon as Myrin began playing the chords, Redman thought of Psalm 103: “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” which became the chorus for Myrin’s melody. Redman describes the song as simple. With piano as the only opening accompaniment, “10,000 Reasons” beckons the type of church music the original congregants of that Brighton chapel would have sung years ago. And its verse encourages the church to continue singing: For all Your goodness I will keep on singing/10,000 reasons for my heart to find.
10,000 Reasons releases July 12, 2011, from Redman’s longtime label home sixstepsrecords. This date is just shy of the one-year anniversary marking the Redmans’ return to the UK from a two-year stint in Atlanta, Georgia. The Atlanta move allowed for Redman and his family to be a part of planting Passion City Church along with industry pals like Chris Tomlin and Louie and Shelley Giglio, who founded the church as well as the sixstepsrecords label.
Though Matt Redman moved back to the UK in August 2010, he returned to Atlanta in February 2011 to record 10,000 Reasons during LIFT: A Worship Leader Collective, put on by Passion City Church. The event was a sold-out gathering of 1,000 worship leaders where they could learn more about the art of worship as well as lift their voices together.
The live recording makes this album what it is: “There’s something [that] happens in the worshipping, singing church that you don’t find anywhere else on the face of the earth … I hope people end up hearing that on the album; it hopefully gives some life to the songs.”
Matt Redman’s music has been giving life to worship songs for over fifteen years. From “Heart of Worship” and “Blessed Be Your Name” to the more recent “You Alone Can Rescue” and “How Great Is Your Faithfulness,” Redman has established himself and his talent. Beyond songwriting, he tours with well-known worship movement Passion when they hit the road, has written four worship-themed books, is husband to Beth and father to Maisey (11), Noah (9), Rocco (4), Jackson (2) and Levi (1).
The family’s new home in Brighton presents a stark contrast to Christian life in the southern U.S. Brighton is the most un-churched city in the UK—a nation that already boasts a majority secular population. But the Redmans are part of a group making strides to change that. They have
joined St. Peter’s Brighton, which is a church planted by Holy Trinity Brompton of London, not to be on staff but simply to be active parts of the body reaching out to the city.
Redman’s crossover experience with the American and British church has affected his songwriting, particularly now that he attends this church plant: “With a new church, you’re very
mindful of the un-churched coming in,” says Redman. “So you have to find ways to not water down your faith but to be lyrically as accessible as possible. That’s an endless challenge. It makes me always want to keep the cross front and center.”
Not all of the eleven songs on 10,000 Reasons were inspired in the Redmans’ new Brighton locale. “Never Once,” a collaboration with Jason Ingram and Tim Wanstall (“Here for You” and “My Hope”), began in the Redmans’ Atlanta home. Returning to Atlanta to see to their house still on the market, Redman found himself standing in his family’s now empty kitchen with guitar in hand. He was alone with no sound of children around, no furniture or wall-hangings, only the echo of guitar strings. Redman had time to think: “I looked over twenty plus years of being a Christian—so much battle and so much blessing. I just had a sense of the utter faithfulness of God.”
This inspiring moment generated the first verse of “Never Once,” which will be the first radio single from the album: Kneeling on this battleground/Seeing just how much You’ve done/Knowing every victory is Your power in us. Never once did we ever walk alone/Never once did You leave us on our own/You are faithful/God, You are faithful. Through two transatlantic moves over two years, Matt Redman indeed feels the breadth of God’s faithfulness in this album.
10,000 Reasons is timely on a global level as well as a personal one. The track “Where Would We Be” reiterates the fact that You came to seek and save us/You came to liberate us and resulted from Redman’s experience watching the Chilean miner rescue in fall 2010. “We’ve always got to be looking for new pictures to paint of what our salvation looks like,” he says. “Rescue is an amazing part of our story; it’s an amazing way to convey salvation.”
With lyrics depicting rescue and victory on the battleground and up-tempo melodies heard on tracks like “Fires,” if this record has a central theme, it’s optimism. But not the type of self-help “We can do this!” optimism. Redman describes it this way: “We’re waking up to bad news some days and looking at our lives and the world around us. There will be things that discourage or confuse, but we’re also waking up under the promises of God, and [quoting Charles Spurgeon] ‘the future is as bright as the promises of God.’”
10,000 Reasons will not have its own tour. Instead, Redman will perform a few individual events through the summer. It’s never been about the touring and fame for him anyways. He even describes the writing process for his favorite song on the album, “Holy,” as one that he was “invited into” by Ingram and Myrin during one of their Brighton chapel sessions. The chorus of “Holy” resounds a worshipper’s humble, reverent praise of God: You are holy, holy, holy/God most high and God most worthy/You are holy, holy, holy/Jesus you are/Jesus you are.
With as impressive a track record as one worship leader can have, writing songs that have earned numerous awards, publishing books, and belonging to one of the most impacting worship movements this century, Redman has managed to keep himself out of it and place Christ in the center of it. After years of experience, he’s concluded, “You can have clever chord progressions. You can work hard at getting some sort of nice sounding lyrics, but at the end, I just want a song that connects people with God.”