We The Kingdom is an amazing new worship band. My sister introduced me to their music last year, and ever since then, I've been hooked. If you've never heard of the band, you've certainly heard of one of the band members, Ed Cash. He's co-written songs with Chris Tomlin, Crowder, and Passion to name a few.
We The Kingdom is a family band, something that's uncommon in the music industry. The band is made up of brothers Ed and Scott Cash, Ed's kids Franni and Martin, and family friend Andrew Bergthold. I connected with them to talk about their new album Holy Water, Justin Bieber--you'll understand later--and upcoming projects.
Why did you guys decide to start the band We The Kingdom?
Andrew: I don't think any of us really decided to start the band, or at least it doesn't feel like it. It started with a song at a Young Life Camp. For years, Scott and Ed have been leading worship at Young Life Camp. And, about four years ago, we started this group there. And, a year later, we wrote a song called "Dancing on the Waves."
The song was written one night while we were sitting around the edge of a hot tub. We brought a guitar, and we started praying and thinking through what the Lord would say to these kids at the camp. And out of it, came the song "Dancing on the Waves."
The crazy thing about it is that we feel like the song is as much for us as it is for anyone. We had a blast writing the song. And when we played it, it was well-received. We thought, "We should keep doing this."
We wrote several other songs that week. And, about a month or so later, we sat around a campfire at Ed's place. We were talking about how it feels like the Lord is doing something with this. We were wondering if we should chase this and pursue it. I think a lot of us were either intimidated or in it to pursue it because it's a very big, new thing. It just really felt like the Lord was calling us to do it. We had several other people around us and encouraging us saying, "You guys should record these songs and try this out."
It's kind of wild how it all happened--especially because a lot of us are family. I'm just a great friend of these guys, so it never would have necessarily been something that we would have planned to do. I love these guys and I'm so glad that I'm working with them. But I never would have planned on doing this.
You guys are a family band (well, mainly all of you). What is that dynamic like?
Scott: It's so beautiful. With us being a family with multiple generations, there's going to be friction. We have multiple sets of siblings: Ed and I are brothers, Franni and Martin are brother and sister, Ed's their dad, and I'm their uncle. Andrew is like all of our fathers. It's absolute, total madness. But, iron sharpens iron. So, it's friction that leads to real joy, real growth, and tough conversations.
Because we're in a band with people who are not only family, but friends, we see one another at our best, and we see one another at our worst. We had to learn how to navigate the waters and learn which paddles to swim with at any given moment.
I think the coolest thing about being in a family band is that we're on stage together, we're in the studio, and we're listening to songs that we've recorded. I just love that I can hear the hearts of people that I trust in each recording.
In our songs, I can hear moments of Martin's heart, Ed's heart, Andrew's heart, and Franni's heart. I think that dynamic is beautiful and unique. We've had a pretty crazy journey together over the last several years. And, I think that making music together brings a degree of loyalty to one another. It also brings an understanding of what it means to balance working together, being family, and being friends. It's pretty special.
Ed, you've been writing music for a long time. But, what has it been like writing music and being in a band with your kids?
Ed: It's always been very important to me to keep a pure heart working in the music industry. I think one of the dangers of being in the music industry is when I think about trying to have songs that will work on radio or songs that people want to sing in church. I've made a very deliberate habit to never look at songwriting statements or check charts.
I come from a performance-based world, which is something that I've had to continually fight in my life. There is an innocence and a vibrance writing with my kids, Scott and Andrew. It makes me feel like I'm 15 again. It reminds me of what it was like to fall in love with music when I was playing with my band. We were in this guy's garage and we'd turn up the music. Just the sound of all that was so exciting and fresh.
Seeing my kids having that experience and discovering music for the first time in their life is a very pure thing. It reminds me of why we make music. What I love is that they don't have all of the baggage of the industry. They come at this with such a fresh perspective.
You recently released your debut album Holy Water. What was the inspiration behind that project?
Franni: We're so excited about this record. Many artists that I've talked to have a writing plan when writing their records. But, for us, we didn't know we wanted to be in a band with each other. We didn't know that we even wanted to be artists. We just wrote songs because we loved it. We wrote in hot tubs, outside, by the campfire; we wrote anywhere and everywhere we found inspiration. We walked through a really difficult season together, and I think that created a sense of camaraderie between the five of us. It was awesome to write from that place and from any moments that we felt like we need to express.
This album is definitely the soundtrack to our journey and the story of our whole lives. Because this is our first record, it's everything on one album. We want our story to connect with other people's stories. We've poured our hearts into it, so I hope that it connects with people. We wrote it from a very real and raw place. We're really excited about it.
You were able to record a few songs for Bethel Music's Peace album. How did that collaboration come about?
Ed: It was wild how the timing of that album worked out. We had the vision for our record almost three years ago. It started with a dear friend of mine and me talking over breakfast. We wanted the album to be a tool for people dealing with grief, anxiety, depression, or any other struggle that we deal with in life. We wanted to take a lot of these well-known songs and put them together in one album.
We had no idea that the coronavirus was going to come. When we heard about the COVID-19 virus, the Bethel Music team called me. At that point, We The Kingdom wasn't involved at all on with Peace, because it was mainly just Bethel artists. Kari Jobe was the only outside artist because they had a working relationship. It's interesting how things worked out though.
Because of the coronavirus, they called me and said, "We want to release this album. We think that it will be a gift at this time." I was like, "Oh my gosh, I don't know how this is going to be possible." So, it was not exactly a peaceful process. It was really difficult to get it done in a short timeframe.
Bethel Music was wondering, "How can we finish these songs?" Bethel is located in California, and in California, no one could go anywhere. The cool thing for us was that they wanted We The Kingdom to record a song for the album since we're in Nashville. We're super grateful for that.
Pop artist Justin Bieber said he likes your song "Peace." Was that a surprise when he gave the band a shout-out on Instagram?
Franni: I'm a huge fangirl of Justin Bieber. I love what he does. I felt so honored that he took the time to listen to our song. I listen to his music so much, so it was really cool. I love his music, his walk with God, and how he loves the Lord and shares that from his platform. I was touched that he was encouraged by this message, so in turn, he encouraged his fans with it. I wish I could tell him thank you.
What does the rest of 2020 look like for the band? Are you planning on releasing any more music after Holy Water comes out?
Scott: We have a couple of projects in the works. We're going to work on some Christmas music, which we're stoked about because we love Christmas (if you don't love Christmas, you're not human). We're pumped about this project. We'll probably spend some time in the fall working on the new music.
Usually, when an artist or band releases a record, they tour afterward. So, it's very tricky for us. We're releasing an album and we can't go on a traditional tour. But, we're always writing songs. I'd be surprised if we didn't have a couple of opportunities to release new music. Either music we wrote a while ago that we never released, or songs we wrote during this season. But, Christmas is on the horizon.
How can we be praying for We The Kingdom?
Martin: In creating all this music, obviously there's a part of it that is specific to us. But I don't know that anyone of us would do this if we didn't get the opportunity to share it with other people. Right now, it's really hard to share our music because the touring world is shut down.
Pray that we'll be able to connect with people, whether it's virtually or whatever. Pray that we'll be able to stay intimately acquainted with people and not lose touch. I don't love the word "fans" because I don't view it like that. They're people that have been inspired by our music. And, they certainly inspire us every day. Pray that we'd find ways to reach out to them.
Personally, for me, it's a little weird staying connected through social media. We like to see people in person, whether that's a show or a meet and greet, or whatever. So pray that the Lord would show us ways to do that, and do it efficiently.
Grace Chaves is a fan of all things Christian music, and is one of NRT's youngest writers. She's homeschooled, and loves concerts, Jesus, and songwriting.
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