Watermark: Coming Full Circle
- Friday, September 24, 2004
It’s a busy day at the Nockels house, and it doesn’t sound like that’s much different from any other day, given that it’s home to two young kids (Noah, 4, and Elliana, 1 and a half) and their parents, who double as producer, singers, songwriters, worship leaders and recording duo.
While Nathan talks briefly about his brimming-over production schedule, Christy is the storyteller of the two. After he’s gone back down to the studio to record some vocals for the Phillips, Craig & Dean album he’s working on, she talks about the rest of what’s going on in the life of Watermark, much of which seems to have come out in her and Nathan’s new batch of worship songs.
Their newest release, "The Purest Place," is an attempt to merge what they do — perform as singer/songwriters and lead worship at “Passion” events, the latter of which they’ve been involved in since 1997.
“The title really just came from conversations we’ve had over the past two years,” Christy says. “As an artist, you can really quickly get caught up in what’s ‘working’ in our industry and what isn’t and let that make you feel a certain way about what you’re doing. There’s a danger we’ve found in letting that injure what we’re doing in order to appeal to the masses. It’s been a 10-year process of learning that there can’t be anything or anyone else validating what you do; you can only let God validate what you are.”
She goes on to explain that a friend was talking about a word study of the term ‘anointed’ and that one of its more obscure meanings is “to paint.” “When people are attracted to what you do — your writing or musicianship or whatever — it’s God’s presence that people are attracted to. The first line [of “Purest Place”] says ‘Paint me with your purity.’ All these songs are coming from that place of exploring that thought. We’re always asking God to keep us in that [mindset].”
This time out, that meant a conscious shift from writing about God or about earthly relationships to focusing intentionally on singing to Him. Listeners may remember “Knees to the Earth” from the "Passion Sacred Revolution" CD, which Nathan produced. It was actually written the day they performed it at “OneDay 2003.”
“We’d been given this little slot at ‘OneDay’ last May. Both of us feared that the moment was going to bring a new song,” she laughs. Christy says she had the beginnings of the words in her journal. “Matt Redman just had his guitar sitting out, this really cool guitar; and we picked it up. I didn’t have that [first] line yet.”
The pair continued to work on it the next morning — right up to the time they went on before 20,000-plus college students. She says she went back and forth about whether to go with what she had of the song.
“And right before we went on that first line came … ‘Knees to the earth.’ We walked out, and everyone was kneeling on the field. We hadn’t seen them from down behind the stage. It was just one of those moments.” Their performance was so overpowering that they felt compelled to re-do much of the track in the studio “because I was so weepy when we sang it,” Christy says.
Another milestone is a new version of a tune with a history that stretches back to pre-Watermark days. “We wrote ‘Holy Roar’ almost 10 years ago, and that song was significant in our writing together and beginning to walk together spiritually. The words are talking about something we were beginning to see but had not yet seen. When we wrote that, I had a vision in my head of masses of people worshiping God. But, at that point, there wasn’t a ‘Passion’ or ‘OneDay’; and worship was just coming to the fore.”
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