Aaron V Graham is a Christian singer songwriter from Northern Ireland. Ahead of the release of his new single 'Don't Bow Down', Louder Than The Music caught up with him to find out how he started out, and how his musical style has changed over the years.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?
I live in Northern Ireland. My dad had a background in singing semi professionally in the early 50s and 60s. Music has always played a big part in family life, we would sing together in the home. My dad would play harmonica. Later in life he became a pastor and traveled to speak. I would have traveled with him singing with backing tracks on cassette tape, mostly popular praise and worship songs, Petra and Rich Mullins .
I began having a go at writing my first song in 1994. I can play a bit of keyboard, but at the time also played drums at that stage I didn't play guitar. The song wasn't really that good. I continued to write but it wasn't until 1999 I wrote a song called "Your Anointing". I signed with Kevin Mayhew publishing, but the song was never released. However, I still have the contract to this day.
By 2002 I had written maybe 6 songs and I was married in 2002 to my amazing wife who is also an amazing pianist. I always had the desire to record an album, I had 3 songs I wanted to record songs that I had written, "The Powerful Cross" "I Want to Praise You Lord" and "Your Anointing". I went into the studio with my wife, a drummer and my sister and recorded my first album; a mixture of Praise and Worship which included these 3 mentioned songs.
I started to play local churches youth events and special church conferences and local concerts.
I continued to write some new songs then went back into another studio and released my next album called "Anointed"- it contained 9 songs. It wasn't until 2017 that I released an album " Not About Us " that would prove to be popular in America, Canada and South Africa. It got excellent reviews in Cross Rhythms and One Man in the Middle. A lot o credit goes to my producer, Felipe Gonzalez. He is a fantastic musician and plays all instruments on all my songs.
Felipe and I met online back in 2010 he visited my home country. We did a small mini tour and he promised he would help back then. That album had some really good airplay and still does- songs like "Nothing Compares" ,"Not About Us " " Cry Out" and " He's Alive " are favourites of many. In 2018 my father passed away from Alzheimers and Dementia during that time I wrote a song for him called "So Near So Far". My friend Felipe and I decided to record it.
That one song became a full album. I began writing songs for the album, I was signed to Raven Faith Records in 2019 and Guiding Light was released ,and again got a lot of airplay the song "Found " was a world singer songwriter award finalist song (The World Song Writing Awards 2019) and has gained a lot of Airplay. "The Powerful Cross" was a no.1 song on Radio with DJ Shoggy Tosh.
In Feb 2020 I left Raven Faith Records. I felt it was right thing to do God was leading me. Then the Pandemic hit.
Tell us about your new single 'Don't Bow Down' and what the inspiration behind it was?
Don't Bow Down was birthed in July 2020 during the pandemic, I was inspired to write as I watched the whole Bow the knee thing, and was a little disturbed by what I was watching. It was like a new religion starting to emerge, even how ordinary people were being worshipped. It was tragic event in which a man lost his life, but it seems to evolve into something more. I was thinking we are quick to set up idols, but money and power is also involved people seeking for rewards.
I recorded the song early January and the song will be released 26th March on all major platforms but it is available on my website and Bandcamp. This is my first Christian Metal Song, it was an experiment that has ready got airplay on radio in USA, Canada and Brazil. It has shocked a few people but I pray it reaches hearts everywhere.
Do you have plans to release any further music this year?
Yes I have another song recorded called "Wake Up"- it has a powerful hook. I wrote the lyrics late January and my Producer Felipe composed the music. It's an exciting track that will more than likely be released just before the summer.
What message would you like people to take from your music?
My goal has always been to reach people for Christ and music is my tool and source. I pray that lives will be impacted and that people will come to Jesus. My message is to them- Don't give Up Jesus is there for you.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
My first albums are Praise and Worship with a twist of Rock.
My big influences are Stryper for the rock and metal and Brian Doerksen would be my worship influence as well as early Vineyard.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
I would love to work with Michael Sweet and can I also say Brian Doerksen.
They as I mentioned are influences on my music and writing they both write amazing songs.
How would you define success in your career as an artist?
I wouldn't say I'm successful at all; there are better singers out there and songwriters. I would say I'm blessed to do what I do. I don't strive for success just to be a blessing. God gets the Glory not me.
What is your favourite album of all time?
I love "Soldiers Under Command" by Stryper, it's a great album, one of the best although the new one "Even the Devil Believes" is pretty close
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?
Simple "Calling On You" by Stryper- love that track never tired of it.
What does the next year hold for you?
I don't know, more writing, getting out to play venues again and overseas. I'm booked to play Sweden in 2022. maybe some new songs recorded maybe another album. Really whatever God wants me to do.