UK worship leaders and songwriters Luke Wareham and Rachel Mason recently hit the UK Christian Charts with their debut EP 'Whisper'. Louder Than The Music chatted with the duo to find out how they're dealing with life in lockdown, and how their new music can help inspire people at this difficult time.
First of all - as it's the only thing anyone's talking about at the moment - how are you guys handling life in lockdown?
Luke - Thanks so much for interviewing us. I have been enjoying the sunny weather! I work as a youth worker in Bristol so I have been doing some ‘virtual youth work’ including online gaming and 1-1 wellbeing support. I have been going out each day walking my dogs and have been leading worship online at this virtual church time!
Rachel - Lockdown has been interesting for me. I’ve really been missing teaching my private singing students and choirs but have had time to do more songwriting and have spent more time with my family. I was also supposed to be performing in Carnegie Hall New York but sadly that had to be cancelled. I’ve also created an international arts festival called Unlock Your Talent to raise money for Vine Counselling, the mental health charity that saved my life 13 years ago. With celebrity judges and categories for all ages and abilities it’s been really cheering people up during lockdown.
As musicians and artists, have you found ways of connecting with people and sharing your music, without performing in front of crowds?
One way we have been able to share our music is via resourcing churches with the lyric videos to the songs off our new EP. The Baptist Union of GB, Spring Harvest and New WIne have all used the songs as resources for online worship. We have also been involved with leading worship online in a variety of formats including in our local churches and by taking part in the global 24/7 Burn with other worship leaders around the world.
Tell us about your new EP, and where the inspiration for it came from?
We have a passion for writing songs that lead people into the presence of God, that help people fix their eyes on Jesus and to experience afresh the healing power of the Holy Spirit. We were inspired by a quote from John Ortberg when writing the EP, he says ‘I need to worship because without it I lose the sense of wonder and gratitude and plod through life with blinkers on’. Our hope is that the songs help people in everyday life to worship Jesus. In this current challenging climate, the word needs this kind of hope!
Which is your favourite track on the EP and why?
Rachel - Shadows is my favourite track on the EP. Luke did such a good job with that song and sings it beautifully. It’s been a great anthem during lockdown as it feels like we’re in ‘the shadows’ but God is always there.
Luke - I also love Shadows. It was a song written with my close friends - Matt Caddick and Ollie Morris. Whisper is also special to me. I wrote it while reflecting on 1 Kings. I reflected how even when the enemy seems loud in our lives, even when we are filled with panic and doubt, a whisper from God changes everything.
What message do you hope people will take from these songs?
Our prayer is that the songs would:
• Bring hope to a broken world.
• Speaking the prophetic truth of Jesus into everyday life situations.
• That the songs on the EP will help people to have a sense of wonder and love from God that will help them get through everyday life and to fix their eyes on Jesus.
We pray that the songs would be ‘soothing to the soul’ and speak to people who are struggling with their mental health.
When things start to get back to normal - do you plan to play some of these songs live?
Yes we have been leading the songs at our church for a number of months now. Post lockdown we plan to do a delayed EP ‘launch’ night and we will be using the songs in our local churches and at different worship events. We were planning on doing a small tour with the EP before lockdown was announced so hopefully we can do that when life gets back to normal and share the songs with the wider church.
What music have you found helpful during this difficult time?
Luke - I have found the new Elevation Worship album ‘Graves into Gardens’ helpful. It has helped me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and how powerful he is.
Rachel - I’ve listened to a lot of Bethel and Hillsongs during lockdown. The messages of hope and peace have been really helpful to me.
Do you have any advice for people who might have written their own songs, but have never taken the step of sharing their music publicly?
Rachel - Be brave! Play some of your songs to family and friends and get some feedback from them. Share your songs with other Christian songwriters and you’ll find people who like what you’re doing.
Luke - I would say everyone has their own song to sing to Jesus so don’t be afraid to get your music out there for others to hear.
What was the first Christian album that really made an impact on your lives?
Luke - The first worship album I remember getting was Blessed be your name by Matt Redman. I used to spend hours jamming and worshipping along to it in my bedroom!
Rachel - Switchfoot The Beautiful Letdown.
If you had to pick a song for karaoke, what would it be and why?
Luke - I would definitely pick a Take That song - probably Patience!
Rachel - My karaoke song is always Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush. Sometimes I’ll even do the dance moves! It’s one of the first songs that made an emotional impact on me as a child and her voice is so incredible.
Find out more at: lukeandrachelworship.co.uk