Matt Redman interview - December 09 Inspire
Songwriter Matt Redman has a new album that couldn’t be more appropriate for these troubled times. GEORGE LUKE caught up with him
Swine flu, the economy, MPs’ embarrassing expense claims, Michael Jackson dying … there’s enough going on in the world today to shake even the toughest of souls. So when I heard that Matt Redman’s latest album was titled We Will Not Be Shaken, I had to ask: was it meant to be topical?
“Obviously, the economy has not been out of the headlines for over a year. And it’s not likely to be, because it affects people’s lives every day.
“For some people it means they have to change the way they think about money; for others, it’s some really hard stuff. Unemployment is real; it’s happening. You meet people who’ve just lost their job, or who can’t afford their house repayments or their rent.
“And so into all that confusion and sense of ‘what’s going to happen next?’ – all that fear – what I want to do with the album is inject confidence and truth in the unshakeable nature of God and his kingdom.”
We Will Not Be Shaken is the first Matt Redman album on which every single song has been co-written. Matt’s songwriting partners included his good friend Chris Tomlin, and also Matt’s wife Beth, who co-wrote the album’s opening track, This is How We Know.
“Beth has a fantastic knack of helping complete a song,” he says. “I spent three months going round in circles with that song; I had the verses, but just couldn’t nail the chorus. Then she came in – and in 45 minutes, the song was finished!
“I thanked God that day for the blessing of being married to someone who’s such a great songwriter. It also taught me … why didn’t I ask her earlier?
“From the beginning to the end of this whole project, what’s impacted me most has been the sense of a team. Not many things in the Christian life are meant to be done as a lone ranger. There’s a strength in working together; in drawing on each other’s experiences and talents and sharpening each other. I really feel that on this album the team has been fantastic.”
Matt and Beth relocated to the USA late last year. They now live in Atlanta, where they are part of a Passion church plant, alongside Louie Giglio and Chris Tomlin.
“Atlanta is a fascinating city,” enthuses Matt. “It has five million people; lots of different people groups – which I love – and a lot of people fly in and out of there. Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is the world’s busiest – and you can feel it! This year alone, I’ve flown direct from there to Tokyo, Seoul and South Africa.
“We’d never considered moving to America. We had a wonderful set-up in Sussex. We were loving where we lived, and we were very close to our family. But we felt the call to go.
“We didn’t even know much about Atlanta, but we had a strong sense that we were meant to go there and help with this church plant.
“Now for us, that’s been an amazing blessing because we’ve had so many UK people come and stay, and it’s made our transition wonderful. Mike Pilavachi’s been down; we’ve had Tim and Rachel Hughes and their kids, Peter Wilson from Hillsong London, and Frog and Amy Orr-Ewing, who pastor the All Saints church in Peckham.
“Martin Smith was in our house the week we moved into it. We have been very blessed, if I’m honest. Just in terms of our transition, God has provided for us wonderfully. And we’re loving Atlanta; more than anything, we love what God’s going to do there.”
The move to Atlanta means that all Matt’s concerns are now all tied up in one package. “Local church, record company, events staff ... everything’s in one basket now, and I actually love that,” he says.
“The guy who’s my pastor also checks and selects songs for my album, and then we might travel together and do some ministry overseas. It’s wonderful. I feel very privileged to be in that place.”
- We Shall Not Be Shaken (Survivor Records) is available at £9.97 from Crossrhythms and a range of other outlets