My story so far … I am an English Christian singer/songwriter, now living in the US and I shall soon be releasing a new album called “Beautiful Creation” which really marks the beginning of my journey into Christian worship music.
Compared to previous releases, this album has a more organic feel and visual element to the music. It blends rhythmic earthy percussion with oaky and velvety double bass, beautiful piano, chimes, Rhodes, guitar and multi-layered vocals sprinkled with electronic sounds. So many elements of God’s creation have been interwoven and hand-knitted into these songs to help you hear, see and feel not only my story but words of revelation breathed to me by God during this past year.
‘Beautiful Creation’ is fundamentally about worshiping God and tells a story about the circle of life which affects both you and me. It touches on war and conflict, our flaws, our rawness, as well as inherited and learned emotions. It’s about God’s incredible symphony in which we all play our parts, often without knowing. Occasionally we are blessed with tiny glimpses of the ending but we know that it is through our acceptance of His gift of grace, that it’s going to be glorious and very beautiful. A lot of the inspiration has come from the Psalms and often I have not realized the true symbolism of the lyrics until later, as I have delved further into my faith.
The name of the album was inspired by Psalm 139:13-15
“For you formed my inward parts
You knitted me together in my mother’s womb
I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made
Wonderful are your works
My soul knows it very well”
“Beautiful Creation” has come to mean many things during the writing and subsequent journey of this album but it all comes back to us being part of God’s wonderful creation and that he has a perfect plan, which will be carried out in his perfect timing.
Every twist and turn in my musical career has been an integral part of my journey and has over the last seven years brought me 4779 miles from my home in the UK to Anamchara Ministries in South Cle Elum, WA. I live in an Irish Patrician Monastery, fashioned after St Patrick’s mode of Celtic Christianity. No, I’m not a nun! But I have been learning the commandments of Christ, developing good character to be more Christ-like, living in community and learning how to live in peace with myself and others. I have also learned to be grateful to God for not only the good times but especially the more challenging times.
Most of the album has been written at the Monastery in a very short time since January 2013 and I can best describe the process as being ‘God breathed’. These songs have a completely different focus than before and I have discovered that this album isn’t about me any more but it’s part of a much bigger picture that God has been orchestrating before I was even born.
One of CS Lewis’s quotes also very nicely illustrates what has been going on with this album:
“What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
I spent most of my life in England until 2006 when I came to Seattle on a musical adventure and although I return annually to see my family and friends, my life now is here in the US.
I have written four other albums, an EP and various singles and was Grammy Nominated in 2010 for a concept album which was totally relevant to me at that stage of my journey. My musical style has encompassed many genres, including pop, electronic, rock, ambient, classical, meditation and acoustic but I am without question a Christian artist now, having returned to the place I left many years ago with my songwriting. I just took the long way round.
More about the making of “Beautiful Creation”
The course of this album has proved to be diverse, taking me all the way back to England to utilize a midi to audio real piano conversion on some of my songs by Jonathan Dodd at www.realpiano.co.uk. He also recorded the double bass (Neville Malcolm) and percussion (Karl Vanden Bossche) at his studio near London. When I returned to Seattle I was grateful to have the opportunity to record some more piano on a beautiful Steinway at The Piano Studio Seattle.
Below is the list so far of other musicians here in the US who kindly donated their time, talent and energy to playing on this album. Electric Bass – Roger Beardsley
Acoustic guitar – Roger Beardsley
Banjo and jaw harp – Jacob Grove
Anamchara Ministries Choir Drums & recording of above – Allen Larsen – Cascade Productions, Cle Elum, WA
Has there been suffering during the making of this album? Oh yes, along with endurance, trust and a lot of joy but overall, I am a much better person because of it and my rough human veneer has slowly and lovingly been chipped away through a gentle process of refinement that is more pleasing to God and my fellow man.
My journey prior to 2013: I released my fourth album, “Butterfly Song” in May 2012 which was quite a personal transformation for me, taking me on a new path of self-discovery and awareness, back to my Christian roots. The message in that album was also about urging listeners to make positive change themselves, both locally and globally and to look after their earth.
I collaborated with Medication Club on their songs ‘Drifting’ and ‘The Cleansing’ Also collaborated with Jim Graham (upright bass) and Ethan Matthews (guitar) on my remix of ‘Magic Queen’ from “Butterfly Song”.
I released her contemporary classical trilogy called ‘Red into the Blue’, donating part of the proceeds to WITNESS. Continued to collaborate with other artists and write songs for my new album, like ‘People come alive’ and ‘Rain’.
I released my concept album ‘Laserium for the Soul’ in August 2009, which was nominated for a Grammy. I also embarked on a new collaboration with Echo Us on their third album, ‘Tomorrow Will Tell The Story’. I added her vocals to some of the wonderful thought-provoking, haunting and melodic tracks from this album, alongside Ethan’s strong and passionate vocals.
I released my album ‘Daisy Dancing’ in March 2008, which is a collection of rhythmic and melodic downtempo, ambient and acoustic heartfelt songs, some of which are collaborations with artists like David Miles Huber, Marcell Marias and Ludington GT. ‘Daisy Dancing’ was mixed and mastered by Laz Harris.
I was active with events organised by EMC (www.electronicmusiccollective.com) here in Seattle.
I wrote and performed mostly with Marcell Marias playing both LIVE downtempo and dance sets as Henta & Marias.
Previous collaborations and influences
I’ve been in a number of bands and have collaborated with other musicians and sound engineers on projects in varying styles of music from ballads, pop, rock, dance and ambient. I have composed and released much production library music for Northstar Music and Stock International, many of which often appear on the Discovery Channel. I was also a finalist in Unisong 1999.
One of my most memorable and interesting projects involved working with Geraint Hughes (www.thepodule.com) who is famous for co-writing some hits from the 70s some of which have since been remixed recently, namely ‘I lost my heart to a Starship Trooper’ and ‘Barbados’. They produced a mixture of covers and original songs, as well as library pieces together from the famous ‘Podule’.
Another of my big influences was Marc Francois (www.darkstate.co.uk) who was my sound engineer for La Mint Collection and co-writer on ‘Wanna Luv You’ from this collection.