Todd Ballard wanted to be a rockstar. After asking his parents for a guitar one Christmas during college and teaching himself to play, his ambitions turned to stardom. "I wanted to be a rock guy, but I wanted to do it for God. It was this internal fight of [wanting to do it] for His glory, and yet, me wanting glory in this world," Ballard confesses.
Early on, Ballard was in a Christian band called No Shades of Gray, which achieved some moderate success. After the group disbanded, he set out to obtain a record deal on his own. One showcase changed his life...but not in the way he expected. When an A&R guy approached him following a concert, he asked Ballard a question that diverted the trajectory of his professional life: "Why are you doing this?"
"He just looked me right in the eye and said, 'You have something special. You're a worship leader. You have something on the stage rockstars don't,'" Ballard shares of the encounter. "I was mad. I was like, 'Don't tell me something I've been fighting internally for a long time already.' People had been telling me that for years."
Eventually, Ballard silenced his internal struggle and surrendered to his true calling. After moving to Colorado, he was instrumental in planting a church that eventually became one of the nation's fastest growing congregations–Red Rocks Church in Golden, Colo. Ballard was the primary worship leader from its inception. Although he led worship on Sundays, his staff position consisted of so much additional responsibility it eventually became all-consuming, taking him away from family and what he felt called to do.
After prayerful consideration, the veteran worship leader made one of the toughest decisions of his life–to walk away. He decided to leave his post at Red Rocks and record the album he'd always wanted to make. The result is Anthems, a 13-song set of epic, powerful worship songs that sound more like Ballard's influences, Angels & Airwaves and 30 Seconds to Mars, than the worship choruses he led at Red Rocks.
"As a worship leader, I think I understand what people connect with because I've been there," says Ballard. "I wasn't trying to break the mold when I recorded Anthems. I did try to, musically, make it different; but I tried to write really easy, hooky songs that make it simple for listeners to connect with God."