Christian Contemporary superstar Crowder has released a new album. Of course, an announcement of this magnitude causes excitement in many a Christian music enthusiast. But, why? Since the 2000s, Crowder has wowed audiences with his brand of music (My family has been listening to his music since his days with the David Crowder*Band). I can still remember as a kid looking at Christmas lights while listening to his Christmas album, Oh for Joy, in the back of our family van. His music is nostalgic for me (don't even get me started on how much I love his hit, SMS [Shine]).
After his time with the David Crowder*Band came to an end, Crowder garnered a huge following as a solo artist. Over the years, he's dropped many hits: "Come As You Are," "Forgiven," "All My Hope," you name it. I had the opportunity to chat with him about his new album Milk And Honey, his upcoming tour, and more.
You've been making music for a while. What inspires you to keep writing songs?
I think it's just how I'm put together–in a musical way. I'm glad I can use my talents for something as grand as singing songs that realign us to reality. I write church songs (I'm a member of a church in Atlanta, Georgia). And, as long as it feels like I'm contributing and helping out, and as long as I can say things out of life experiences, then I'm going to keep recording, touring, and singing. When you're part of a church community, you want to chip in and be useful. You want to work with others, as a community of believers.
Milk and honey is an interesting metaphor. The Free Dictionary classifies it as "a place of abundance that is free from want. The phrase comes from the biblical description of the land promised to the Israelites." What's the inspiration behind your latest album?
I noticed a recurring theme and sound happening when I wrote the music for Milk and Honey. The songs are hopeful and choral, meaning they require us to sing them together. I can't wait to get to be in a room with people to finally sing them.
I had the idea of using the milk and honey story from the Book of Exodus before we even started writing songs. It was inspired by God's promise of bringing the Israelites out of Egypt and leading them into Canaan, a land "flowing with milk and honey."
On the album, I sing about the light on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was great to have a future-oriented theme; we were looking forward to what's on the other side. I'm glad that we're seeing some daylight now. Life is feeling better and better all the time.
Earlier this year you released your song "Good God Almighty," and it immediately became a hit. What's the story behind the song?
I had a song idea for the phrase, "good God almighty." And, with a phrase like that, the song has to be a little rowdy. When I wrote the song, we were in the thick of lockdown. But, I wanted the message to be clear: no matter what comes, if it's beauty, on the mountaintop, or if it's bleak and feels like the wilderness, God is still God. He's still on the throne. He's still good. He's in control. To sing this declaration of truth during the pandemic and beyond is what we need. That's what I needed. I need to be singing His declaration of truth in these difficult moments.
The live music video for "Good God Almighty" was filmed with worship band Maverick City Music at the 2021 Passion conference in January. Tell us about the filming experience.
It was so bizarre because the music video was filmed a year after Passion 2020, an event held at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia with over 60,000 college kids (no masks, no social distancing, no lockdowns). Worship band Hillsong United was singing on stage. It was midnight and fireworks were going off. I was confident that 2020 was going to be the best year.
Now, fast forward to Passion 2021. We're playing music on stage, which was crazy because we hadn't done so in so long. Everyone had to get a COVID-19 test, plus we couldn't be around one another (we could barely meet eyes). There were a lot of protocols that we had to follow.
There was a room full of people who not only hosted the conference but helped get it onto the Internet. We didn't get to see anybody, but we knew that the event was going on the Internet. It felt really weird. I thought to myself, "Gosh, what we're trying to pull off right now is really hard."
But over 700,000 people went to Passion that year, which was the biggest Passion conference we've ever had. That's a perfect example of the "immeasurably more" mentioned in Ephesians 3:20. God takes something that's intended for evil and He does something good out of it.
I'm so glad that we hit the red button and recorded "Good God Almighty." It didn't feel great at the moment. But it comes across with a power that exceeds what our feelings are often telling us. And it will live as a reminder and testament to me of the goodness of God despite difficult circumstances.
You have a few collaborations on the new album, such as worship band Maverick City Music and hip-hop artist Hulvey. Tell us more about working with these artists.
I love collaborating with other artists, and the cross-pollination that happens: being in the same room with folks you admire to make music. It feels better to write songs when I have people around me.
I'm a huge fan of the Maverick City. They worked with me on, "Sweet Jesus." I've noticed that their music has really grown in popularity. And, I couldn't be happier about what's happening in church music: To see choral music and harmonization coming back is really exciting.
Hulvey worked with me on the song, "Higher Power." Singer-songwriter Jacob "Biz" Morris put together my studio just in time for me to start working on Milk And Honey. Every time we were together, he would go on and on about Hulvey. He said that he's unbelievable. So as soon as I starting working on this record, I decided I wanted to collaborate with Hulvey.
And, his work on the song? He slayed it. I'm always happy to have people featured who love what they're doing, and who is doing what God is using them to do.
I bet you're glad to be back on the road again, touring.
We haven't toured for so long. I hope we don't take for granted the ability and the gift to get together and sing songs. Not being able to get into the church house with people was very difficult. I know that my band and I are super excited to do what we love to do in front of others. Seeing those tour dates on the calendar fires me up. I'm ready to go now.
During the summer, we started dipping our toes in the water with fairs and festivals. Now, were fully functioning and able to get into a room, let it crank, and put the pedal down. We have a full slate of tour dates coming in 2022. Can't wait.
How can we be praying for you?
Normally the response is, "Pray for us while we're away. Traveling is difficult and being away from family and friends is difficult." But man, we're just so grateful to do what we're doing. Somehow, God provided through such a desert wilderness. So our hearts are just full of gratitude. That's been our prayer, "Thank you, Jesus, that we get to be doing this." He provides.
Grace Chaves has been a fan of all things Christian music since 2016. She is NRT's news editor, and one of NRT's youngest writers. Homeschooled, Grace is an author who loves Jesus, concerts, and road trips.
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