As two-time GRAMMY winner Matt Redman prepares to release his latest studio album 'Glory Song', recorded at the legendary Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, LTTM spoke to the popular worship leader about the album and his thoughts on making music.
Tell us a little bit about this new album 'Glory Song?
It’s my first studio record in a little while. I’ve loved recording the last 3 albums as live projects, but with this one it felt like time to return to the studio environment. And I was so grateful to get to do so in such an iconic studio - Capitol Records in LA. Sinatra was the first to record there, back in 1956, and of course there’s been so much memorable music made in those rooms down through the years - so it was an inspiring place to be for me and the team. From the beginning of the process I had it in my heart to lean into some gospel music influences for these songs - and that turned into a fun journey with new friends like Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Kierra Sheard and Aaron Lindsey all getting involved. Partly I made that choice for musical reasons, but also because I've noticed how little effort there can be sometimes from various streams of the church, in terms of reaching out and working or worshipping with each other. So this was my little attempt towards a bit more of that, and I’m so glad with where we went with these new songs. We are better together!
Which is your favourite track on the album and why?
That’s always a tough one - ask me in two years time, ha! Maybe right now I’d choose 'Gospel Song' for it’s energy, or 'Greatest Hallelujah’ - as the way that song unfolded with that one felt like a special process. Or maybe actually 'One Day (When We All Get to Heaven)' as I love singing it. Or even ‘Gracefully Broken’, which is the first single from the album. Too hard to choose right now, after just finishing the album - every one has a little story!
After years of making music, does it get easier or harder writing a new album?
It’s always a good amount of work and perseverance to finish a new collection of songs - and then of course the recording process itself is a whole other project. But what makes it all work is ‘team’. Right from the beginning my wife Beth is throwing ideas in, then there’s the record label guys, all the songwriters, and the producers etc. So the point is I’m not journeying alone. I couldn’t do it if I was - the amount of dedication and skill and unique inspiration that every single person brings into the process is huge. I was adding up how many people were part of this journey for ‘Glory Song’ and with all of the singers it is close to 200 people. I don’t take that from granted - I’m so grateful for the input of each and every one. But getting back to your question, about the writing of the album, the co-writing for me is an essential part of it - I get a good amount of songwriting ideas, but I usually get to a place where I know I don’t have all the pieces - and I’ve been blessed to sit in a room with so many gifted, wholehearted people who love God and love the art of wrestling down a song. Every song on this album was a co-write - and especially with this being my 13th album that makes the process of chasing down these songs so much more fruitful and more enjoyable than it would be if it was just me on my own sat in a room.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
I’m drawn to people who have brilliant gifts with melody - so maybe Stevie Wonder.
Do you prefer playing live or working in the studio?
I got into this because I loved that irreplaceable dynamic of God’s people, in God’s presence, pouring out God’s praises. So that wins for me every time. The studio is an exciting environment for sure, but ultimately I feel at home leading a congregation in worship through music. I love when those two worlds collide though too - for this album we had a small gospel choir come in one night to sing on some of the songs, and it felt like having church, for sure. Another evening we gathered with 120 singers, to sing on a few more of the songs, and again it was a real highlight.
How would you describe your style of music?
I don’t know, but like I said on this album we made a marked effort to call on the gifts of some of the most inspiring writers, musicians and singers I know in the “gospel music” field - and I hope people like where it ended up.
How would you define success in your career?
There would be many ways of defining or measuring this. But the stuff I like most if the immeasurable stuff - the thing you can’t put on a chart or hang an award on. If someone tells me how a song found it’s way into their life at a crucial time, and helped them find Christ in a tough season of the soul, there’s no way to measure that - and those are always the things that stay with you the most.
What is your favourite album of all time?
I’d find the way to hard to narrow down probably - maybe right now it’s a playlist made up of The Beatles, Coldplay, Stevie Wonder, U2 and Zedd!
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your mp3 player. What track is it?
"Temporary Home” sung by Carrie Underwood - genius songwriting, carried by an amazing vocal - and all pointing towards God, and our eternal hope in Him.
What does the next year hold for Matt Redman?
I’m going to do a couple of tour weeks close to the release of “Glory Song” - one in the UK, and one in the USA. But we’re not travelling much this year - so hopefully lots of songwriting and great family moments too. I’m planning on being back at Big Church Day Out in 2018, which is always a big highlight - it’s such a great event.