BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#140 - "Starry Night" by Chris August
NRT contributor Kevin Davis speaks with Chris August about his debut hit single, "Starry Night."
 


While he may be considered a "new" artist, Fervent Records' newly signed singer-songwriter Chris August is anything but a rookie in the music industry. The self-taught pianist, guitarist and producer previously toured as the keyboard player and opening act for pop sensation Ashlee Simpson before shifting his focus to his solo career.

Chris, a native of Dallas, Texas, put his refined skill set to work when he co-produced his debut record, No Far Away with acclaimed producer Ed Cash. While he is not one to shy away from writing about his faith, Chris isn't afraid to embrace relationships and heartache in his songwriting. Chris cites influences such as Stevie Wonder, John Mayer and Gavin DeGraw who all contributed to the polished pop/rock sound that is sure to resonate with all who listen.

I got the opportunity to interview Chris about his debut single, "Starry Night."

Please tell me the background in writing the song “Starry Night.”

For me, it was an interesting time in my life. I was signed to a mainstream record label, living in Los Angeles and touring with Ashlee Simpson. I had grown up going to church and got connected when I was 15, became a Christian and started leading worship and I loved it. Then, I moved to LA, and I wasn’t surrounded by Christians, and all the people I knew weren’t Christians and they weren’t part of a church. Slowly, after a couple of years, I started talking to God less, and not reading His Word. It’s like growing apart from a friend when you stop talking to each other on a regular basis. I ended up moving back to Dallas, got involved in church again and one night I realized that I hadn’t had true convictions in years. I hated that and it hit me hard. I decided that night that I was going to rededicate my music and my life to God. That was January 18, 2009. That’s the night I wrote “Starry Night.” That was the first Christian song I’d written in several years. Being on a mainstream record label, I wasn’t allowed to write any Christian songs. Then I got signed by Fervent Records, and next thing I knew I got to share this personal song about my faith that I had written with my new record label. I recorded a demo of the song, and before I knew it, I was signed by Fervent and moved to Nashville.

Did you base the song on any Bible verses?

I’m amazed by God’s creation and any verse that sums up how God saves us. John 14:6 and Romans 3:23 really hit me hard. I know I have fallen short and I know I make mistakes, and the beauty of God is the free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus.

John 14:5-7: Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."

What's the take-away message for listeners?

I had to write my thank you’s for the liner notes of my new album and all I could think was "Thank you Jesus for your grace." Music is all secondary. These words I write don’t matter. If someone gets inspired, and they turn their life over to Christ, that matters. Eternal life is so incredible and in my mind unattainable and yet He makes it available to us by His Grace.

In “Starry Night,” I sing about how amazed I am when I look at the stars or trees blowing in the wind. People take great pictures and make great drawings of nature and I think that’s very creative, but God was the one who made those things. There was a void, and God created everything. Those are the things I’m thinking about when I sing the song.

The line in the song, “To the Faith it takes, to pray and sing, From the Painted sky, to my plank filled eye, He is God of all, He is everything” is based on me trying to process my own emotions and doubts about myself. I recognize that I’m a sinner. Sometimes, singers and pastors can get so caught up in their popularity and giving messages that they forget that God gave them everything including their songs and sermons. When I have something on my heart, I pray and ask God to reveal what He’s trying to tell me. All of my songs are based on my prayer life.

Here are the lyrics:

From the Birds that Sing, In the Tallest Trees.
To the Human Life, of you and me.
From the Desert Sands, to the place we stand.
He is God of All, He is Everything.

Chorus: I'm giving my life to the only one who makes the Moon reflect the sun.
Every Starry Night, that was His design.
I'm giving my life to the only Son, who was and is and yet to come
Let the praises ring, 'cause He is everything
'Cause He is everything

From the Autumn Leaves, that will ride the breeze
To the Faith it takes, to pray and sing
From the Painted sky, to my plank filled eye
He is God of all, He is everything

I'm giving my life to the only one who makes the Moon reflect the sun.
Every Starry Night, that was His design.
I'm giving my life to the only Son, who was and is and yet to come
Let the praises ring, 'cause He is everything.

Hallelujah (Hallelujah)
Hallelujah
I believe
Ohhh
Hallelujah (Hallelujah)
Hallelujah
I believe

I'm giving my life to the only one who makes the Moon reflect the sun
On that Starry Night, He changed my life.
I'm giving it all to the only Son who gave me hope when I had none.
So let the praises ring,
Ohhhh Let the Praises Ring

I'm giving my life to the only one who makes the Moon reflect the sun.
Every Starry Night, that was His design.
I'm giving my life to the only Son, who was and is and yet to come
Let the Angels sing, that He is Heavenly

So let the Praises ring
'Cause He everything


Something Chris and I discussed was how the core of our faith as Christians is found in John 14:6. Jesus is the only way. All roads don’t lead to heaven, despite what a secular culture tries to tell us. This is a worshipful and uplifting song. I have been singing it at the top of my lungs since I first heard the song. We all need to be bold as followers of Jesus and express our worship and dedication to Him.

It is interesting to me that someone who was signed to a mainstream record label and achieved what America considers successful, living in LA and playing sold-out venues, is truly reaching out and making it clear that he’s broken and giving his life to Jesus in his song. We all need to be unashamed of our faith in Jesus and we all need to be bold in expressing our faith. You are doing friends and family members who aren’t believers a disservice to not fully share the Gospel. The second verse really sums up the challenge of the song, “To the Faith it takes, to pray and sing, From the Painted sky, to my plank filled eye, He is God of all, He is everything.” As Chris sings, we need to remove that plank from our eye and rejoice that God is everything.

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.

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