As popular worship leader Phil Wickham prepares to release his brand new album 'The Ascension', we catch up with him to find out about his inspiration and songwriting techniques. Phil also explains how the UK's Soul Survivor event has impacted his life.
Tell us a little bit about your new album 'The Ascension' and what the inspiration behind it was?
The major theme of The Ascension is about forward movement toward God and wanting more of Him. It’s about fixing our eyes on Him, reaching higher and digging deeper. The inspiration for this theme came from my own life. It's so easy to settle and get comfortable. This past year, God has been stirring my heart, and my wife’s heart, to run closer to Him. Many of these songs were written from that place.
Which is your favourite track on the album and why?
I'm bad with favorites. I feel that every song on the record fulfills a purpose and is saying what I wanted to say. That is such a great feeling to have at the end of so much time and effort!
What's your song writing process?
Whenever I have the desire to write a new song, I wait for the inspiration to come to me. I don't try to chase it. When it comes, when an idea hits my mind and my heart, that's when the chasing begins and the song unfolds.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
Either Chris Martin or Brandon Flowers. I love their songwriting for different reasons, and I've been a big fan of Coldplay and The Killers since their first records came out.
Many of our UK readers will know you from the Soul Survivor summer youth conferences - an event that you've described as "literally life changing" for both you and your wife. How has that impacted you?
God spoke to my wife and I in big and personal ways while we were at Soul Survivor. Being there released something in me as a worship leader that I didn't know was there before, a faith and expectancy that God can and will move if we wait on Him and lift up His name.
How would you define success in your career as a singer?
I think success can be defined by achieving three goals:
1. Writing music that inspires people into greater things for their life.
2. Playing music live that creates a moment where something real, supernatural, and eternal happens.
3. Paying the bills. :)
The perfect worship song is made up of truth, passion, creativity and sincerity. There's too much greatness in God to write a perfect worship song. We need a million amazing and unique worship songs to scratch the surface of how great he really is.
What advice would you give to any aspiring worship leaders or songwriters out there?
I would say that passion is contagious, but it's got to happen off the stage as well. Don't just lead people in songs, teach them what it means to worship and how to do it.
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?
'Fix You - Coldplay
What does the next year hold for Phil Wickham?
Other then trying to be a good husband and dad, I'm not sure. Whatever it is, I'm excited about it!
Find out more at PhilWickham.com