Meet Matt Redman
A gifted songwriter, Matt’s songs have become mainstays in today’s worship repertoire and have impacted audiences across the world. Six of Matt’s songs, including “Heart of Worship,” “Better Is One Day,” “Let My Words Be Few” and “Once Again” are among CCLI’s Top 500, and have appeared on numerous worship recordings. Many of these songs were birthed during Matt’s nine-year tenure as worship leader at Soul Survivor Church in Watford, England.
It’s been two years since the release of Matt’s last solo recording, The Father’s Song, and as he began to prepare for his newest project, Where Angels Fear to Tread, Matt decided to take a four-month sabbatical to spend time with his family and get refreshed.
“I found myself becoming more and more busy,” Matt explains. “I felt as a lead worshipper, I was experiencing more output than input. There’s such a Biblical thing about waiting for God to reveal, that whole thing of being still and knowing He is God.”
It was during this sabbatical that Matt set aside a few “songwriting” days as part of his time of renewal. “Songwriting doesn’t feel like work to me,” Matt says. “It feels like the most natural way of responding to God. It’s almost like it’s a part of my devotions. Every song involves a Bible study and a time of pouring out my heart to God. It’s like a little spiritual barometer for me because if I’m not receiving any fresh revelation from God in terms of having a healthy relationship with him, then I find that I don’t write songs.”
The songwriting process is something Matt doesn’t take lightly, especially when thinking in terms of worship. “Songwriting is all about revelation,” he explains, “and as a songwriter who’s writing congregational worship songs, you’ve got to see before you sing. You’ve got to have a little fresh insight on some part of divine revelation. So I’m trying to learn that lesson, because I think it’s sometimes almost not worth singing out until you’ve seen something fresh.”
Produced by former Sonicflood members Jason Halbert and Dwayne Larring, Where Angels Fear to Tread, features 11 new songs, including a collaboration with his wife, Beth, on “Blessed Be Your Name,” and with fellow worship artist Chris Tomlin on “Wonderful Maker.” The album’s modern pop/rock flavor is accentuated by Matt’s signature guitar-driven tracks blended seamlessly with a few moments of strings interspersed throughout.
The album’s title, taken from the project’s last track, captures a theme that is cleverly woven throughout. “The whole thing for me has been about reverence,” Matt says. “‘Where Angels Fear to Tread’ is a phrase that has been in literature for years, but I thought it would be great to claim it for the church. The angels reverence every step when they walk before the throne of God, and I just wish we could grasp that fresh reverence when we are in His presence because that’s when the mystery kicks in.
“I think you can admire someone without wonder, you can appreciate them without wonder, and maybe you can adore someone without wonder,” he continues. “But you can’t worship without wonder. In our worship, there has to be something about the ‘otherness’ of God – there has to be. Yes, worship is intimate, and it’s about drawing near to God, but it must also contain that real sense of the ‘otherness’ of who He is. For me, that’s the stream that’s running through this whole album.”
Matt took a slightly different approach to recording this new album. He and the producers decided to begin the very first day of recording with a whole band in the studio. The idea was to create an atmosphere of worship – to “have church in the studio.” In fact, they even shared communion together at the very beginning of the week.
“Sometimes there’s a real musical bond when musicians come together in the studio,” Matt shares. “But we said, ‘Let’s start this album realizing that we have a greater, deeper bond than that – and that’s Jesus Christ. Maybe something can happen here that will hopefully go way beyond the bond of music. We wanted the bond of fellowship and the bond of gathering around His throne together to play, sing and respond to His word.’ I really believe there must be more to this ‘worship album’ process than just merely recording, and I hope we were able to capture some of that passion of the church on the album.”
Matt’s heart is to know God better and more intimately than ever before. It’s a passion that is reflected not only in his music, but in his humility and his desire to encourage others and to learn from others.
“I am so encouraged when I look around at the new wave of songs and sounds coming out of the worship movement today,” Matt says. “The music is fresh, it’s accessible, and it’s Biblically based. It’s a new time and it feels like it’s pure and true. That kind of thing totally excites me.”
While the songs on this new project are sure to find a widespread audience, Matt still keeps his feet firmly planted on the ground and his eyes focused upward. “We’ve got to keep checking our hearts and our motives,” he says. “Worship is pouring out our heart of adoration to God, and hopefully, at the end of the day, when I lead worship or record worship songs it’s not about Matt Redman, it’s about the King and His kingdom.”