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#1002 - "Even Louder" by Steven Malcolm
NRT's Kevin Davis talks with the new hip-hop artist Steven Malcom about his hit single with Christian Music icon, Natalie Grant

Posted: January 14, 2020 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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If you attended Winter Jam in the past few years, you may have seen the up-and-coming faith-based hip hop artist, Steven Malcolm. He has emerged with songs like "Watch," "What Was You Thinking," "Fadeaway," "Fuego," "The Second City," and "Redemption Song." Let's not forget "Party in the Hills" and "Not to Us/Good Love."
Steven's songs are catchy. They provide creative celebrations of the freedom with have in Christ. A theme Bible verse for Steven's ministry could be 1 Peter 3:15: "But in your hearts, revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." Featuring that type of unapologetic truth, Steven returns with his latest offering, The Second City, which includes the standout song, "Even Louder," featuring Natalie Grant. I had the opportunity to interview Steven about the catchy song.

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

This song came from life. I'm very inspired by life and what's going on around me. I have a mom who is physically sick and a sister who is slowly going blind. The older I get, the more I realize that life takes its toll on us. 

I think about the mental health issues and depression and anxiety and brokenness of the world that is a result of sin. And, I think about the God we serve who is coming back to rightfully claim what is His. I also think about the story of Job, and as worshippers and saints and children of God. 

We serve God who is stronger and bigger than the weight that is put on us: the brokenness that exists in this world. God is greater than the pain that this world brings. How can we, in darkness, still praise and worship even louder. That's where this song came from. 

A lot of transition was happening in my life and I was dealing with anxiety at the time. And, "Even Louder" was how I chose to worship God in the middle of that. Songwriting for the Christian artist should be that if you take away the production, you should be able to preach a sermon based on the lyrics. I want to speak to God through my lyrics.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

1 Peter 3:15 (NIV): "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."
Proverbs 13:10 (NKJV): "By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom."
Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV): Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself."
1 John 4:21 (NIV): "And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister."

Matthew 5:14-16 (The Message): "Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand--shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven."

What is the takeaway message?

I co-wrote "Even Louder" with Leeland. I wanted to create a worship song that reflected on the challenges of life, such as anxiety and depression. While everyone may go through the darker times, our praise should then become even louder. I really want to bridge the gap between worship and hip hop. And, show the world that worship isn't just one style, one genre, but a lifestyle that glorifies Jesus. Working with Natalie was amazing. From touring with her on the Bible Tour to being able to have her be a part of this record is just humbling.
In Psalm 59, it says, "I will sing loudly to the Lord because He is my strength." I interpret that as the louder I sing, the more of His strength I will experience. And, that is what praise and worship is to me. Praising God doesn't make your problems disappear, it shifts your perspective from your problems to the solution of Christ. And, the thing that combines me and Natalie and makes us unified is that we are all sharing the message of Christ. We need to reflect that unity.


Yeah, so undeserving, yet we worship
Give Him all the praise, just humble servants
Till sweat and tears, till no more fears
Singin' the glory of the Gospel out to every end

This life that resided my tongue
You took for Your name to become a
Tool for Your will to be done, it's crazy
See me as a son when I should be shunned
With nothing Lord I'm just desperate

You covered me by Your blood, yeah
You covered me with grace
And a love so unconditional has got
Me on my face everyday, yeah (let's go)
Be the praise of the saints, yeah
Goes my praise everyday, uh

Even if the drum stops beating
My soul will keep on singing
Even louder, even louder
Even when my eyes can't see it
I will sing till I believe it
Even louder, even louder

My God is stronger than any sin that I hold
More precious than any silver and gold
Told myself that my sin made me unworthy
But truth is, I'll never be perfect

But Christ took the burden, took the lust off my eyes
The pride of my heart
Aces 'n all the flaws, nailed them to the cross
Threw 'em to the ocean, showed me I was chosen
Shifted all my focus till my eyes became open

Tossed out my doubts, showed me my way out
See I once was lost, now ya boy been found
See true grace abounds and glory be to God
And ain't no lookin' back like a pillar of that salt

Me, I give my all despite my downfalls
Where many see me fail, only You see me prevail
The bigger depression hits, the louder my praise gets
The bigger depression hits, the louder my praise gets, c'mon

Even if the drum stops beating
My soul will keep on singing
Even louder, even louder
Even when my eyes can't see it
I will sing till I believe it
Even louder, even louder

When I lift my voice
Heaven comes to earth
When I sing this song
I feel You respond

I feel You respond
I feel You respond
I feel You respond
I feel You respond

Even if the drum stops beating
My soul will keep on singing
Even louder, even louder
Even when my eyes can't see it
I will sing till I believe it
Even louder, even louder

Closing Thoughts

Steven Malcolm is offering a great example of how you can write and sing lyrics that are unashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Music that reaches the lost with transparent confessions of faith. Many Christians feel that they should avoid the world. It is true that we should be in the world, but not of the world. And, that we should "not conform to the patterns of this world" (Romans 12:2). However, you can't reconcile that to mean avoiding people altogether. Jesus commands us to "preach the Gospel to every living creature" in the Great Commission.
Connected to the song's message, Matthew 5 tells us: "You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept." Sometimes Christians know facts about the Bible, but don't live out the truth that the Holy Spirit is living inside of them. Jesus said in Luke 12:49 (NKJV): "I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!" Jesus warns us of having a lukewarm faith. He tells us, "if the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first" (John 15:18-NIV).
As Christians, we're called to speak out about injustice. We often mistake staying quiet about issues as turning the other cheek. The truth is that Jesus flipped over the tables in the temple when He saw injustice. In Micah 6:8 (NKJV), we are told, "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"
When I listen to "Even Louder," I'm more committed to taking up the cross of Jesus and dying to myself. So I can be a better follower of Him as He instructs me in His Word. It says in Luke 9:23: "If any of you want to walk My path, you're going to have to deny yourself. You'll have to take up your cross every day and follow Me." 

As believers, we need to show our witness of God in not only times of hardship, but also show our witness in times of celebration. That in some ways is just as powerful and inspirational as a witness. Joy isn't just a happy emotion. It is also a deep peace and understanding of knowing that we are loved without a shadow of a doubt. We should not be ashamed to sing of our dependence on God and show Him reverence.

God hates our pride. Pride is an ingredient in every argument. It creates conflict and divides us from each other and Him. As believers, we need to live with God as our King and remember that our pride will tear us apart from Him. God gave us free will to make decisions, but there are consequences to our decisions. It's not our responsibility to question God, but instead to live by faith and not by sight.

"Even Louder" is a song, a prayer, and a call for revival in our hearts. Believers can all sing: "Even if the drum stops beating/My soul will keep on singing/Even louder, even louder/Even when my eyes can't see it/I will sing till I believe it/Even louder, even louder." Amen to that.

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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