10 Questions with ... Hillsong Live
July 23, 2012
1. The new album Cornerstone is the annual live project from Hillsong. Is there anything in particular that sets this new album apart from previous projects - sonically or lyrically?
I would say that there are a lot of things that set this album apart. We have some new producers and writers that are coming through who are doing great things in Australia and in Sydney. Their contribution to this project has been incredible, and there's a real freshness across it. Also I feel like our writers who have been around longer are writing their best songs ever. This has been an incredible season in church life, and I feel like this album really reflects that and captures the spirit of revival that's been happening in church.
2. From what I'm hearing, there is a specific theme/message behind the new album. Can you talk a little about that? And what do you hope that listeners/worshippers take with them from this album?
The theme of the album is that Christ is the foundation no matter what we're facing-no matter what the circumstances. Though we live in uncertain times we can trust in him. He is the sure foundation we can build our lives on-he is the cornerstone.
3. How do you go about selecting the songs for this project? Is there a democratic vote? Were some written specifically for this? Are the songs included those that rose to the top, a cream of the crop so to speak, as the church sang them?
We get asked this a lot and my answer is always that it's the church that chooses the songs. We bring new songs all throughout the year; some songs go great in church and some don't. Sometimes songs that we think should go great don't, and it's the church that decides that. They either respond to it, embrace it, and it becomes an impacting song for our church, or it doesn't and we move on-they're the ones who choose.
4. Tell us the story behind the single "Hope Of Our World."
I grew up in a coastal town in Papua New Guinea. That's where I learned about how worship and music could transport me right into the very presence of God-I often think back to those days and the God encounters I had in church there. Since then, I've had the opportunity to be a part of worship meetings of all sizes and I love the sense of God being lifted high through our praise.
I wrote "Hope of the World" with some friends recently and in some ways it reminds me of those early days in Papua New Guinea-when I would be captivated by the Spirit of God in the room. The song starts from a place of awe and then reminds us that God is personal and loving as well as mighty and powerful. And that the God who was nailed to a cross is "calling us home with arms out wide."
Romans 15:13 reminds us that our search for hope, joy, and peace should propel us in one direction only-God's. That's what counts in life, that's the journey that really matters. When I think back on my childhood and the missionaries who sacrificed so much for the sake of God's love, I'm reminded of the way they lived. They lived like Jesus wasn't just their own hope, but the one true hope for those they were serving. Their trust in God sent them thousands of miles from home and caused them to live with boldness and purpose and led them into incredible adventures with Jesus.
5. Do you have a favorite song that appears on the new album?
Simply put: my favorite songs are the songs that church loves the most-what they love, I love. The goal is always to serve the church and we've found that songs like "Cornerstone," "Beneath the Waters (I Will Rise)," and "I Surrender" are great for church in this season. And what the church loves, I love.
6. And how about overall: Do you have a favorite song that you just simply to love to lead the Church in?
Three of my top songs would have to be "Cornerstone," "White Flag," and "10,000 Reasons."
7. You will be coming back to the States for another Hillsong Live tour, I hear. Do you have any inspiring memories or unforgettable moments from the last tour here? Anything you are looking forward to in particular about being back in North America?
We love worshiping with the church in America and we are really excited about this September. I think people are more and more catching the message and what we're about and we have seen incredible momentum in our meetings. We've also seen great moves of God: people connecting with Christ for the very fist time as well as people experiencing God in worship in just an amazing way. We feel like this season is a really important one as far as what God is doing in the church in America and we feel like we have a role to play in that. So we are very, very excited about this September.
8. What song do you wish you had written?
From any time, I'd have to say "How Great is Our God."
9. And to what other worship music are you listening?
Definitely Matt Redman's 10,000 Reasons album, and the Passion album White Flag
10. If you could take any song from the Hillsong repertoire from recent days or days long since gone and do a new arrangement, which song would you select and what would the new version sound like?
"Jesus Lover of My Soul" is probably a very good example. I think we did it great for the time that it was written and recorded. But I don't know if a lot of churches have even heard it yet and I think it's still a great song.