Howard Gripp, a veteran musician, has releases his debut Christian single titled "When I Pray". Louder Than The Music chatted with Howard to find out more about his musical journey and plans to release more new music next year.
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?
My mother and her side of the family were very musical. She played organ and sang in the choir at church. I think that gene got passed down to my brother Bob and myself as we both started playing instruments very early in life. I started playing the drums at 6 years old and played music throughout high school. Formed the band "Flight" at 16 and played at the first bar that same year, which was the jumping-off point. I played in rock bands for years and cut a CD with a record company in LA called "Stinger". While originally a rocker, life changed when Jesus came into my life and impressed upon my heart to do something more meaningful with the gifts given to me. Enter the Christian Contemporary/Rock genre. Things have really started moving fast for me in this new venture and it is making me feel like a kid again. I’m experiencing a drive to make a difference in the world through my music.
Tell us about your new single 'When I Pray' and what the inspiration behind it was?
"When I Pray" is a testimony of struggle, faith, and hope. It speaks about a parent's struggles with a child's addiction. It also reflects my encounter with difficulty, which brought me back to my faith. This song portrays a straightforward confidence in God's directives regardless of the unexpected paths in life. All my songs are based on real-life experiences and this one is no different.
Do you have any plans to release more music in the near future?
Yes, I will be releasing a second single “He Rescued Me” sometime in Feb. 2024. This is my redemption song and means everything to me. I also have plans to do at least 1 EP and a few more single releases in 2024.
What message would you like people to take from your music?
That we are not alone. We all face struggles in our lives, some much darker than others. God gives us free will to make whatever decisions we want in our lives. Music is so integrated in people’s lives - listening to a song can take you back to your childhood, remember a first date, make us cry, remember heartache or breakups, or mourn the loss of a loved one. I want my music to touch people in ways that can help them cope with life when it gets hard and rejoice when life is good. I want my music to tell people that they are not alone in their struggles and there are other people that have gone through what they are going through and be relatable.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
I would classify it as Christian Adult Contemporary, Christian Country, with a little bit of Christian Pop/Rock all mixed together. Some of it is mellow and some of it has good driving rhythm. I am a big fan of Casting Crowns, For King and Country, Ben Fuller, Crowder, Phil Wickham and many other great Christian artists.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
I really like the messages in Ben Fullers music. They are very meaningful and memorable songs. He is a very talented songwriter, and I would love to pick his brain and/or co-write something with him. I’ve seen him a couple times in concert, and it has been very moving for me. That’s what I want to do with my music.
How would you define success in your career as an artist?
If I was in my 20’s I would say fame and fortune, big sold out concerts, and lots and lots of touring but….those days are long gone now and God has a different plan for the music He is inspiring me with. Success would be to have a strong Christian music ministry that helps people in real, day to day struggles whether that means playing on a big stage or playing in a coffee shop. My music is designed to introduce people to, bring people back to, or strengthen people’s faith and belief in Jesus our Savior. The strength only He can give us when things are going good as well as when things get dark. My goal is to write music that can potentially save someone’s life.
What is your favorite album of all time?
Well, this will take me back to my rock n’ roll days and it will be Styx, The Grand Illusion. So many great songs on there and they were a big influence on my music back in the day. In today’s world, I don’t know if I have a favorite album but a favorite genre of music. I am big into the Christian Adult Contemporary but I am also a BIG fan of Skillet so my music likes range quit a bit. I just love music!
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?
Right now, it would be He Rescued Me which will be released sometime in January 2024. This is my redemption song and brings me comfort when times get tough knowing that I made it through the tough times because of God’s love for me.
What does the next year hold for you?
I will be releasing another single in Feb. 2024 which is the 2nd of the songs I recorded in Nashville. I plan on recording an EP in April, also in Nashville, and releasing that late spring/early summer. Planning to release another EP in late fall of 2024 with a few singles in between if all works out as planned. There is also a possibility of shooting a video sometime in the summer of 2024 for one of the releases. I would love to play some small festivals or anywhere people need to hear encouraging music. I do have one goal of playing on one of the small stages at Lifest in Oshkosh, WI in July 2024.