I had the pleasure of being able to interview Word recording artist Ben Glover. We talked about his debut release, his musical influences, and what his family thinks about his new career. Here's what Ben had to say
J MAN: I heard the beginning of your label deal depended on a broke-down transmission. What's that all about?
Ben: Man, it's weird. I'm from Colorado and I drove out to Nashville, and I think I got to Mount Vernon, Ill., and my engine is knocking really hard. It was pretty close to Tennessee so I was just like, "I've got to get there." I was coming up to Tennessee for a showcase with another label. I got it to a mechanic and he was like, "You've got to get another engine in here. And your transmission's shot." I was only supposed to be in Nashville for two days. So I did this showcase with this other label and during that time I was stuck in Nashville for about two and a half weeks. During that time, I met Brad O'Donnell over at Word and things just started rolling. If it weren't for that engine problem, I wouldn't have been stuck in Nashville for two weeks.
J MAN: Was music a part of your life before your record deal?
Ben: Oh, yeah. I grew up listening to Christian music. Guys like Keith Green, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith, those guys were my heroes. I heard Keith Green for the first time when I was 8 and I was like, "I want to touch people like he does." So I've always been involved in some kind of music, if it was high school band, church, or anything I could get my hands on that was musical.
J MAN: So you would say Michael W., Steven Curtis, and Keith are your musical influences?
Ben: I would think so. I mean, I have a lot of musical influences. Keith Green was one, Steven's one, Michael's one. I listen to this other singer, Jonatha Brooke. She's a big influence on what I do. I'm a big Cindy Morgan fan.
J MAN: What would be your favorite track on your debut release, 26 Letters?
Ben: I used to always say Stolen By Mercy, track 3. And it still is, but lately it's been Hope Will Be My Song. I like Stolen By Mercy, because it depicts me as an artist, literally. But for the meaning behind a song, I think Hope Will Be My Song is the best.
J MAN: Does the inspiration for your lyrics come from personal experiences?
Ben: I think most of them probably are. Sometimes, I'll have an idea and I'll sit down and write about the idea, that's not necessarily a personal experience. A lot of them can come from [moments] when I'm feeling down. That brings about emotions where lyrics come from. There's days when you're like, "Life is good, God is good, and I'm going to write a song about it." Then there's days when you're like, "Man, I'm discouraged, and the only thing I can write about is the hope I know I have in Christ. But I don't see it now, so I'm going to write about what's true." And that's where a lot of songs are born, those dark times, and the up times, too.
J MAN: What was it like, writing with Wayne Kirkpatrick?
Ben: Wayne was really cool. I walk in, this young kid going, "What in the world am I doing here?" This guy's written more hits than I have years in my life, and I get to write with him. I [walked] in not knowing what to expect, and Wayne just treated me like a pro. He was just so good to me, and so kind. He treated me like I was a legitimate writer, and as far as I know I'm not. He sat in there with me and he was just this humble, cool guy. And if you listen to Michael W. Smith, like I have, Wayne has to be the hero too, because he's written most of those lyrics through the years. I've always looked at him as the end-all, most brilliant lyric writer I ever heard. Just to be able to write with him was a great honor and experience.
J MAN: Do you have tour plans for the fall?
Ben: I'm going to be out with Mark Schultz and Erin O'Donnell.
J MAN: Sounds like a good match.
Ben: You know, it is. I went out with Mark in the spring, and that was just a good experience, we had a lot of fun. Mark's just a funny guy. He's always crackin' some joke. The one-liner king! How he does, I don't know. He's a good guy that is concerned about people's hearts for the right reasons. Erin's a good friend, too, because of Brad. So, it's going to be a really good tour.
J MAN: I know this is your debut album and you're the new guy, but have you been writing for your next album?
Ben: It's funny you should ask. I've probably got about 20, 30 songs ready, which is a lot for me. If you talk to someone like Steven Curtis Chapman, that guy writes so many songs, it's not even funny. But I've got [some] new songs that I'm really excited about. We're promoting this record and we're having a lot of fun but my mind's already, "Hey let's work on the next one." I want to make it better than the first one.
J MAN: How has your family accepted this new endeavor?
Ben: They've been great. And Kara, my fiancé, she's been great. My family has believed in me since the beginning and supported me. Without that, I don't think I'd be here. I've [always] had this set of cheerleaders," if you want to call them that, in my corner, they've been behind me all the way. Things have just been happening and it's great to have their support and prayers. And Kara ... They're all in Colorado, but she just moved [to Nashville] around three, four days ago. She got her a place around 20 minutes from where I am. We get to be together in the same town, which is foreign for us, cause we haven't done that for about a year. So that's been really neat, and I just got into town yesterday, so it's like our first or second date being in the same town. It's actually kinda weird to call up Kara and say, "You wanna go out for coffee?" (laughs)