The Afters returned with their third album Light Up the Sky on September 14, 2010. Music from the new record, including the single “Light Up the Sky,” has already been picked up by MTV’s The Hills for the show’s final season. The Texas-based band, who formed while working at a Starbucks, were propelled into the national spotlight with their INO/Sony Music Label Group debut, I Wish We All Could Win. The project spawned the swirling, melodic hit “Beautiful Love,” earning the band an enthusiastic following when the song was selected as the theme track for MTV’s 8th and Ocean. “Beautiful Love” was also the most downloaded track of 2006 on the iTunes® Inspirational charts and garnered the band an mtvU award as well.
With their debut exceeding the expectation, status quo simply would not do for their second album. It is this powerful transformation that lies at the core of The Afters’ sophomore release, Never Going Back To Ok. Among a street week hit with placement in the Top 50 on the Billboard Top 200, Never Going Back to Ok proved to be sensation on the silver screen with Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), Dr. Phil, Army Wives (Lifetime) and Rachael Ray using music from the album in promotion for their programming.
As Dallas-based quartet The Afters returns with their third major label release, they have fine-tuned their guitar driven sounds on a fresh collection of inspiring new material. Light Up The Sky gains forward momentum with lyrics that speak directly about their faith and melodies that chart new sonic territory, including the lead single title track plus "Lift Me Up," "For The First Time," "Saving Grace" and others.
I got the opportunity to interview Matt Fuqua from The Afters about their hit title track, “Light Up The Sky.”
Please tell me about the background in writing the song “Light Up The Sky.”
I’ve been writing songs with Josh for 12 years. We’ve kind of come into a groove of writing and what we usually do is sense something going in our lives and write about that situation. For this song, we were coming out of a really hard time. Our band’s long-time manager, David, passed away right before writing for this album. He was such a tremendous mentor for us and such a great example of how to be a godly business man. He was an extremely moral and ethical man. He had been our only manager. It was really hard to walk through that experience. Right after that, our drummer’s best friend, Ron McClelland from StorySide B, also passed away. It was a really tough time for us. We lost two members from the band and we were really depressed. Everything bad happened at once. We started looking back and realized that God had used those tragic personal experiences in our lives to bring about redemption. We saw His fingerprints on everything that happened. We truly feel like God inspired the writing of this song in praise to Him. The words of the song just came to us as we were praying to Him. Instead of thinking about writing a song, we just talked about what was going on in our lives. As we talked, we just wrote down the words of our discussion.
Do you have any Bible verses you used in writing the song?
Romans 8:28: And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
What do consider to be the take-away message for listeners?
This song is a simple song of gratitude to my unfailing Savior, and a repeatable self-reminder of his faithfulness. Every believer daily faces an unrelenting onslaught of circumstances and situations that challenge our faith. I know that the Bible is absolutely true and I need to choose to believe in God before I can see how all things will work together for good. We are all human and we all struggle with the same things. As we were going through tough times and trying economic times, we thought about the passage from Romans 8:28 “that all things work together for good” and I realized that I needed to hear those words for myself. I needed to decide if I really believed those words. He wants us to remember that he brings things together for the good of those who love Him. That’s what the song is about. We think about our friends that passed away and are up in Heaven with God when we sing this song. I’m a full-time Dad and husband, and a part-time musician. We made a commitment to be with our families more. We only play shows two weekends per month. I also lead worship at my church. God’s going to use songs to work in people in different ways. This song can apply to anyone’s situation.
Here are the lyrics:
When I'm feeling all alone
With so far to go
The signs are no where on this road
Guiding me home
When the night is closing in
Is falling on my skin
Oh God will You come close?
Light light light up the sky
You light up the sky
To show me You are with me
I I I can't deny
No I can't deny that You are right here with me
You've opened my eyes
So I can see You all around me
Light light light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me
That You are with me
When stars are hiding in the clouds
I don't feel them shining
When I can't see You beyond my doubt
The silver lining
When I've almost reached the end
Like a flood You're rushing in
Your love is rushing in
So I run straight into Your arms
You're the bright and morning sun
To show Your love there's nothing You won't do
That You are with me
That You are with me
“Light Up The Sky” has become my worship anthem this fall and I can’t get enough of the song as it has been in heavy rotation for me daily. The Afters hook me with at least one song on each of their albums--first “Beautiful Love,” then “Never Going Back To Ok” and now “Light Up The Sky.”
Here’s what Charles Spurgeon says about Romans 8:28 in his Morning and Evening Devotional for August 5th: Upon some points a believer is absolutely sure. He knows too that God is always wise, and, knowing this, he is confident that there can be no accidents, no mistakes; that nothing can occur which ought not to arise. He can say, “If I should lose all I have, it is better that I should lose than have, if God so wills: the worst calamity is the wisest and the kindest thing that could befall to me if God ordains it.” “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” The Christian does not merely hold this as a theory, but he knows it as a matter of fact.
God doesn’t make bad things happen to us. He came to give us life and to live with Him eternally by trusting in Jesus alone for our salvation. God is bigger than any calamity that we experience in this world. You can pray along with this song and sing to God “You light up the sky to show me, That You are with me.”
Kevin Davis is a long time fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. Kevin also writes reviews for ChristianMusicReview.org. He currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.