More to this Life
- Wednesday, October 27, 2004
“There are things you’ve heard a hundred times,” Steven says, “but somehow it gets said in a way that your understanding of it suddenly becomes so much deeper. Piper was simply saying that to not waste your life means you invest all of who you are to make much of who God is — to make much of Christ. And that’s the point of our lives. And I could have told you: I’m not the point. It’s not about me. I’ve said that in songs before. But I think it was the first time I really began to grasp it.”
Through his recent adoptions as well as through the ongoing work of his foundation, Shaohannah’s Hope, which has financially assisted in the adoptions of hundreds of other orphans and worked with U.S lawmakers to address global adoption concerns, Chapman has found himself increasingly invested in the day-to-day outworking of what he believes are God’s purposes for the world.
“You just start to get this bigger picture of what’s going on around you and what God has given us the opportunity to be involved in,” Steven explains. “God is renewing all things. If this is truly the course of all of history, and I believe it, and I believe it’s worth dying for and, therefore, worth living for, then how is it really affecting the way I’m living my life? How does it affect the work I’ve been doing to rescue orphans when I consider there are as many as 15 million orphans in China, and we’ve only adopted three?
“But then I go, ‘Wait a minute. There’s a day coming when there won’t be any orphans. And if I really believe that, then what I can do today by adopting one orphan is to participate in what God has already determined. God has invited us to live out before the world these little previews of where [history] is going, of what’s coming.”
Translating the "All Things New" theme into the mechanics of the recording process as well, Chapman made an early decision to disrupt his own comfortable routine and “mix it up” a bit. For the first time he recorded in L.A. rather than in Nashville; and, with the exception of producer Brown Bannister, who’s been a staple for the last five or six projects, no one who had played on a previous record was allowed into the studio (the same studio, by the way — for those of you who keep track of these sorts of things — where Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and Van Halen’s “Jump” were recorded). In addition to special guests such as Mac Powell (Third Day), Jason Wade (Lifehouse), Kendall Payne and blues sensation Jonny Lang, the L.A. players hired were some of the hottest in the industry, with resumés that include credits for Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, Pearl Jam, Iggy Pop, Michelle Branch, Jane’s Addiction, Alanis Morissette, Carly Simon, Jude Cole and David Bowie. Those new players and engineers pushed Chapman’s music to places it had never gone before.
“It was really crazy,” Steven says. “I was like, ‘Man … we would never have tried that in Nashville; it’s too crazy!’ It was just that kind of exploratory, experimental stuff. I would end up reeling it in, just to say, ‘This is more what my record needs to sound like.’”
Even prior to the official release of "All Things New," there was a growing music industry buzz that the vocals captured on the album were easily Chapman’s best ever, somehow bigger and deeper and fuller than his past efforts. This says quite a bit when you consider how many “Best Male Vocalist” and “Artist of the Year” Dove Awards he’s already won, which is, well … a lot. Steven gives most of the credit for the improved vocals to the folks who engineered and mixed the record. But he says it also partly goes back to his vocal cord injury.
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