His website describes him as a “young artist with an old soul.” It’s been four years since the release of Randall’s last album War and Peace. I recently caught up with Randall to discuss his new EP bluebird among other things.
- Were you raised in a “Christian” home?
Yes. I was raised in the Baptist Church by committed Christian parents.
- Were you raised in a musical home/when did you take up music/when did you realize it was your life’s calling?
My parents were not musicians, but they enjoyed music and encouraged me to play once they realized my affinity for it. I started piano lessons at around 8 years old, and I don’t know if I’ve ever thought of it as my life’s calling. I’ve just walked through doors that God has opened for me, sometimes even with prayerful consideration. However, I have recently begun to recognize music as the vehicle God has allowed me to travel in as I live out my life’s calling… which I now know is seeking him and his will.
- Would you mind sharing a bit about your salvation experience?
I remember praying “the sinners prayer” as we called it back then, during my 5th grade science class. But God had been working in my heart long before that. It was probably just a really hard day with friends or school that brought me to the place of saying those words. But they are powerful words, and I think that was the beginning of conscious faith for me.
- Did salvation change your view of music?
I don’t think so. We didn’t talk about music much in my house. We kids just listened to whatever was on the radio, which at the time was Van Halen, Madonna, Phil Collins… and my parents listened to stuff like John Denver and The Gatlin Brothers. I do remember a time in high school, though, when I realized that God was the giver of this gift. That’s when I began to consider him and wrestle with the question of what honors him and what does not.
- Is expressing your faith through your music something you consciously focus on?
This is going to sound like I’m channeling Hank Williams Sr., but really, I just focus on expressing the truth. It is hard to do, because I spend much of my life keeping the truth at arms length. But when I am most honest with myself about how I feel and how I see the world, the best songs are born. At the end of King Lear, one of Edgar’s famous last lines are “Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.” That makes the best art, and the best people. I think that’s why Shakespeare gives the line such prime real estate.
- If possible, please describe your creative process? Do you begin with lyrics or music? Do you primarily write with pen & paper or computer?
There’s no set way for me. Right now, I’ve got 2 unfinished songs that have fully finished choruses. For those, the music and lyrics came simultaneously, but now I’ve got to write verses for both of them. Sometimes I’ll write on scraps of paper at traffic lights, and sometimes I’m sitting at my computer writing late into the night in my office at home.
- What are your thoughts about the growing trend of artists moving away from larger record labels?
It is so exciting. The whole industry is changing and I believe the model that will rise to the top will be one like Brite Entertainment that acknowledges the value of good music and the people’s desire to support the creation of good music.
- How do you balance the business and creative sides of music?
It is hard for me. I have good business-minded people around me, and I need them to push me toward good business decisions as I work on my craft. I think artists need people around them speaking the language of smart business, so that it sinks into their sub-conscious. Issues from interactions with promoters, to what the record sounds like, to wardrobe choices all benefit from frank business discussion. In the end, though, the artist must be able to move forward fully confident in himself (or herself) and his decisions.
- Are you much of a reader? If so, who are some of your favorite authors/books:
Yes, I read quite a bit. I love historical fiction, I love good stories with great characters… everything from Hemingway and Graham Green to J.K. Rowling. Right now, I am reading a ton on healthy eating and healthy living. We have had some health issues at home that have opened our eyes to the problems with the typical American diet. Then there’s writers like Ian Thomas and Jean Guyon and Friedrich Buechner and C.S. Lewis that write so thoughtfully about the Gospel. I couldn’t do without that stuff.
- Who are some of the artists who have influenced you?
There are so many. Billy Joel and Elton John, Jimmy Buffett, Bob Dylan, David Wilcox, Patty Griffin, The Band, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and then all of my friends who are musicians. They are a big influence, I’m sure – because I’m always listening to their records!
- What are you currently listening to?
I got on the Coldplay train very late. So I’ve been catching up on them and other bands my friends tell me I should hear. And friends like Andrew Peterson and Sara Groves stay in the rotation a lot, which is fun because my kids listen to it and love it as well. My kids assume that I must be friends with Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson because I know Andrew Peterson and Ginny Owens. It’s pretty hilarious.
- What’s next for you?
Well, I’ve spent the last 4 years working as the worship pastor for my church and writing songs for congregational worship. During that time, I’ve thought and prayed an awful lot about the Church. When I began thinking about touring in 2009, the vision God gave me combines my traditional concert with a time of congregational worship. The Church is great at compartmentalizing faith (I know that because I am great at it too). But the Gospel reaches into every corner of our lives, and I am passionate about inspiring the Church toward a deeper awareness of Jesus in every aspect of life. By beginning the evening with songs that deal frankly with the journey of human experience, and ending the evening with a call to sing together and worship our King, we will together acknowledge his presence in every detail of our lives. I’m pretty excited about fleshing that out.
- Visit Randall Goodgame’s official website