Ovation Worship, the worship band for Cornerstone Church in Midwest City, OK, have just released their first EP, 'Ovation Worship Live'. Louder Than The Music spoke to Worship Pastor Colt Straub to find out more about the group's music and what inspires them to make it.
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 name is Colt Straub. My wife, Kasey, and I serve as the Worship Pastors for Cornerstone Church in Midwest City, Oklahoma. We are the lead producers for Ovation Worship. I grew up in the small tourist town of Branson, MO. My parents were both professional musicians and entertainers in various shows. When I was six years old, my dad passed away leaving my mother, my sister and myself behind. Over the following years we walked through many dark times, battling fear throughout various circumstance. But we learned the power of the presence of God and were freed from the bondage of fear in our lives.
It was also during those teenage years that I was getting involved in professional music and ministry. During my twenties, I was playing in and co-producing professional music shows while serving part time as a worship pastor. In 2014, my family moved to Oklahoma City as my wife and I joined the staff of Cornerstone Church. We quickly recognized the exceptional level of skill and heart in the musicians of the church and over the past 5 years we’ve been working towards the point of establishing Ovation Worship.
Tell us about your new EP 'Ovation Worship Live' and what the inspiration behind it was?
God’s been breathing new life in our team for a while now. As we were preparing to start releasing our own music, the first thing we had to do was come up with a name for our worship team. As we were praying about it, one of our members felt a strong draw towards the word “Ovation.” This word means “a sustained or enthusiastic show of praise.” We immediately felt a connection with this word as that the foundation of our worship should be from a place of complete appreciation and thanksgiving to God.
This EP is the spiritual and musical collaboration of our entire team. While seeking God and practicing our craft together, the Lord began to give us over twenty songs as a team. Through prayer and a conversation, we were able to cut it down to the five songs that we sensed, spoke the best to where we are in this moment of our church and spiritual walk. For Ovation Worship, our driving force is to connect people with the presence of God on a daily basis. So that was the ultimate motivation and driving force behind this EP.
Which is your favorite track on the album and why?
My favorite song is “I Will Not Fear.” This song features our lead guitarist, Joseph Hester and is the concluding track of our EP. As I mentioned above, I was freed from the bondage of fear growing up. That’s not to say that I never worry, but I have learned the importance of placing my trust in our wonderful savior in every circumstance. My wife, Kasey, has more recently gone through a battle with anxiety and worry following the birth of our 4th child. Her resolve definitely led her to the same place of complete dependence on the presence and power of God to free us from the bondage of fear. This song was written out of that place of dependence and gratitude. It looks back on the blessings that God has given us and resolved to the declaration of the chorus saying:
“I will not fear to follow your lead
Lord you provide all that I need
No, I don’t have to run from what I can’t see
Because you are near, I Will Not Fear”
What message would you like people to take from your music?
God is still active and moving in the hearts and lives of his people. In Jeremiah 29:13 God says, “If you seek me, you will find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” Psalms 22:3 tells is that “God inhabits the praises of his people.” And 2nd Corinthians 3:17 tells us that “Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
I’ve experienced so many times where God has transformed lives through the power of Holy Spirit that moves as we worship Him. A former pastor once explained to me there’s something supernatural that happens when we get our eyes off of our problems and put them onto the problem solver. We release Him to move on our behalf and bring breakthrough in every circumstance. The message of our music doesn’t deny that life is hard, but it leads us to set our eyes on our redeemer, the one who gives us hope, strength, peace and even joy to overcome every struggle.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
I would classify us as edgy modern worship.
We are a very eclectic group of musicians. Before he joined the team, our lead electric guitarist used to tour Europe playing heavy metal. We have several weekend warriors, our drummer plays in a country band, and I come from a professional entertainment background. We also have many young members on our team as well. We knew that we wanted to create music that was accessible to worship teams across the world but was also musically interesting and intricate enough that we would enjoy playing and connecting with these songs. I would say some of our worship influences are Bethel, Planet Shakers, Hillsong and Elevation Worship.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
I would have to go with John Mark McMillian. The theological depth of his lyrics combined with simple melodies are an amazing combination of worship artistry. I think it would be amazing.
How would you define success in your career as a worship artist?
One of our driving ethos for Ovation Worship is that we exist to connect people with the presence of God on a day to day basis. Being able to do that at whatever scale for me is what it is all about. The other day, I had a gentleman come up to me two days after our EP release. He told me that he was having an awful day on Friday and he checked Spotify to see if our new songs were out. He put them on and praised his way through his circumstance. He told me that is was amazing to be able to have his church experience with him wherever and whenever he wanted. For me, that’s where it’s at. It’s all about connecting people with God’s presence.
What is your favorite album of all time?
I’m a Christian child of the 90’s. My favorite CD of all time is Jesus Freak by DC Talk. As far as a worship album is concerned, I love Israel Houghton and New Breeds “Live from Another Level.”
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?
“How He Loves Us.” There’s a lot to ponder on this song and it would definitely fill some time and keep my hope up.
What does the next year hold for you?
As the worship team “Ovation Worship,” we are really spending the next few years diving all-in together on discipleship and relationship. As with any worship leader, that is my number one priority. Secondly, we have a goal to release 3-4 more singles this year. Of course, we have some various benchmark goals for what we’re doing. But ultimately, we just want to connect more people with the life-transforming presence of God on a daily basis.