Listening In: Third Day's Mark Lee & Brad Stine
- Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Mark: If you’re on the outside looking in, people will say, “Christian music is good.” Or they’ll say, “I’ve got a cousin who likes Christian music,” like it’s something that’s not for everyone. But I think what you’re saying is maybe not the reason but a reason why that happens — because we’re creating something everyone can’t relate to. And then you’re creating this parallel universe, and you have “Christian” art as opposed to regular art.
Brad: My take on that is that we’ve created a monster. We defined it that way. Look, I’m in the entertainment industry, and I still have interests in the mainstream. They see me as a Christian comedian. They’re going to put you in a box in a way they can understand or marginalize you. As the anti-Christian bigotry in this country drives so much of the liberal ideology, the more they can marginalize and compartmentalize us where it's like, “Oh, that’s nice for you but has no relevance for the rest of us” is really just a way of censoring an idea.
In Europe, for example, I don’t think they have Christian radio stations. They have radio stations that play music, and there are Christians who get on them simply because they offered up a song the station found appealing. No one sits there and says, “This is inappropriate.” It’s simply judged based on the context of it as opposed to the content. But we get to America, and we feel we have to get into a genre to sell it. But I’ve never met an artist who hasn’t had the desire to have much more visibility in the mainstream. But they’re often stuck. I wonder if you find yourself in the same position of feeling you have a creative element to share but don’t have a place at the table.
Mark: As an artist, you want what you create to be heard by as many people as possible. It can be frustrating at times when we’ve made a record, and we’re thinking about, yes, reaching our Christian audience, but spilling over into other areas. But the powers that be will say, “No that doesn’t make sense because you’re Christians, and you have your Christian audience.”
Brad: You find you’re still unable to leverage your strength as artists in our business to say, “Look, we want to go over here, so make it happen.”
Mark: I think the best songs have a chance of being played on the radio. But it’s set up so that it has to be a hit in Christian radio first. So automatically it has to be a certain type of song to be played on Christian radio; but to be carried over to be a single on a mainstream station, it’s already gone through this Christian filter. That’s a challenge.
I always go back to Johnny Cash. He went to Billy Graham and said, “I think I need to change and start writing Christian songs.” But Graham said, “No, you’re able to reach certain people I’m never going to be able to reach.” I think so many people get confused when they start talking about Christian music versus mainstream music.
Brad: If you could chose one song that would fit in mainstream radio, what would that be?
Mark: We had a song called “I Will Always Love You,” and I think that message is something anyone could hear. It’s universal, something anyone could relate to. I keep thinking, “What message would I want everyone to hear?”
Brad: That’s great because, as Christians, our ultimate purpose is to leave a legacy of our art because God gave it to us. And He expected us to deliver it. But something that bothered me is that a guy would do something cool, and everyone would clap. But the guy would stop everyone and say, “No, no; it’s for the Lord.” Of course it is. But it feels false to me because, as artists, we’re not allowed to acknowledge our fans and appreciate what we’ve done. Don’t you think, as Christians, we should assume they understand that we are giving this gift to them via God’s placement within us?
Recently on Music
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content