Brandon Heath finds forgiveness works

Brandon Heath 2008 in Denver

Dove Award male vocal­ist of the year Bran­don Heath will be at the Den­ver Col­i­se­um on Feb. 3 with Toby­Mac’s Win­ter Won­der Slam tour. Heath cur­rent­ly holds the No. 1 spot on Bill­board­’s Chris­t­ian Radio Audi­ence with ‘Your Love.’ Pho­to by Eliza Marie Somers

It was an act of for­give­ness that helped Bran­don Heath heal a rela­tion­ship with his estranged father and start on his road to a suc­cess­ful music career.

The Dove Award male vocal­ist of the year in 2009 and 2010 released his third CD, “Leav­ing Eden,” this past week with a debut at No. 1 on the iTunes Chris­t­ian Albums chart and already boasts a No. 1 radio hit with “Your Love,” (Billboard’s Nation­al Chris­t­ian Audi­ence). Heath hits Den­ver on Feb. 3 at the Den­ver Col­i­se­um with TobyMac’s Win­ter Won­der Slam tour.

I had a chance to chat with Heath about his music career, last year’s flood in his home­town of Nashville and his inter­view with Katie Couric on why peo­ple are leav­ing the church.

Q: Your life has real­ly changed in the last three years since your first CD “Don’t Get Com­fort­able” in 2006. You won the Dove Award for song of the year in 2010 for “Give Me Eyes” and two male vocal­ist of the year awards, along with an inter­view with Katie Couric about the exo­dus of peo­ple leav­ing the church. So what are the rea­sons peo­ple are leav­ing?

A: I just fin­ished read­ing “Hip­ster Chris­tian­i­ty” and a lot of peo­ple are put off by that. It has an air of try­ing too hard. It’s like that guy at the par­ty who is social­ly awk­ward. He’s try­ing too hard. You want to love him, but it’s just not nat­ur­al. Church­es have to get back to the basics and talk about the Word and take care of each oth­er. You don’t need all that smoke and mir­rors. Jesus didn’t have tech­nol­o­gy. He had a don­key. A lot of church­es just need to sim­pli­fy. Just give me Jesus. Just give me Jesus.

Q: Just give me Jesus. That seems to be the theme of your new CD where you sim­pli­fy and real­ly empha­size your voice.

A: I think from singing every­day for five years my voice has got­ten stronger, so we spent a lot more time on vocals. There were some hard vocal times. (Pro­duc­er) Dan Muck­ala turned up the knob a bit, but it was worth it. He pro­duced “Give Me Your Eyes” and I said I would nev­er ques­tion him again. Dan has tak­en me to the next lev­el. I put a lot of trust in him.

Q: What is your favorite song on the CD?

A: The last song, “As Long As I’m Here.” I wrote that last year after watch­ing a friend of mine (pilot Ter­ry Virts) go up in the space shut­tle for his first mis­sion. It’s intrigu­ing to think about what he’s doing up there, and how God gives us the oppor­tu­ni­ties to do these things that take us to the brink — how we can push the bound­aries. There is this sense of dan­ger but then peace. And my oth­er favorite song is “Stolen.” I was think­ing of this dude in New York who was run­ning from the police, but he is inno­cent. Like that show “The Fugi­tive.” There’s this pas­sion­ate cop who is run­ning this guy down. It’s like God is pur­su­ing us, but we keep run­ning. But as soon as we are cap­tured we know this is where we should be, but we keep run­ning.

Q: You grew up in Nashville and still live there. What was it like with the flood­ing there last year?

A: I was so proud of our town. I don’t know any­one who didn’t help clean up. The dam­age was exten­sive, but it wasn’t like this sense of hope­less­ness. You know, the news reporters got there and showed all the bad, but there was so much good news. You saw all these vol­un­teers, even from out of state, pitch­ing in and rip­ping out dry­wall and car­pet­ing. My neigh­bor­hood was hit, but we weren’t. We offered up our show­ers … It was eerie, but encour­ag­ing.

Q: You also did a ben­e­fit.

A: A few year back Jason Ingram and I did a local ben­e­fit to help peo­ple hit by a tor­na­do after read­ing Nehemi­ah where he asked the king per­mis­sion to leave the king­dom to help Jerusalem rebuild its city. We thought we should ral­ly the troops and help these peo­ple rebuild their com­mu­ni­ty. Faith in action. So with the big flood we thought we would bring it back. (The “Love Your Neigh­bor” con­cert raised more that $61,000.)

Q: How has your life changed in the past few years?

A: I have to pinch myself: Is this real­ly my job? I get to real­ly do this? Some­times I feel… not guilty… but so lucky. I see peo­ple who don’t have jobs come out to hear me and that means the world to me. It kin­da rais­es the stan­dard of what is expect­ed of me. But as a Chris­t­ian artists we don’t get rec­og­nized in the gro­cery sto­ry, not like pop stars. So it hasn’t gone to my head.

Q: Were you always a Chris­t­ian?

A: It wasn’t until I was 16 at a Young Life camp that I accept­ed Jesus. I was from a divorced fam­i­ly and I was real­ly angry at my dad. That was a big part of my rec­on­cil­i­a­tion was for­giv­ing my dad. I was con­cen­trat­ing on how angry I was, but once we rec­on­ciled God start­ed focus­ing on me and my heart, my fam­i­ly and my rela­tion­ships. Jesus promis­es to accept you for who you are but you won’t stay as your are. He will make you more like Jesus. He will show you what you need to change and some­times it’s hard. My dad and I are in a good spot now. You know, God has giv­en me every­thing that I have asked, except for that Lam­borgi­ni (laughs). Every­thing that mat­ters, he has giv­en me and I am thank­ful for that. Once I for­gave my father, it start­ed from there. It changed the tra­jec­to­ry of our rela­tion­ship. You can be devoured by unfor­give­ness and a spir­it of bit­ter­ness that can ruin your life. I keep short accounts of peo­ple. It’s made my life bet­ter.

Q: You’re com­ing to town with Toby­Mac. He is a high ener­gy, hip-hop, gyrat­ing show and you are more mel­low, singer song­writer type. It seems like a weird jux­ta­po­si­tion.

A: I embrace the dif­fer­ence. Peo­ple come to see Toby and I don’t want to give them a dou­ble help­ing of meat­loaf. I want to be the mash pota­toes, no the sweet pota­toes – a nice sur­prise side dish. (chuck­les).

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1 Response to Brandon Heath finds forgiveness works

  1. Rhona Kyomuhendo says:

    I love Bran­don Heath. His music is just amaz­ing. May God con­tin­u­ous­ly show­er you with His bless­ings as you reach out to His peo­ple.
    With Love from Ugan­da, East Africa

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