Matt Redman's '10 000 Reasons' is a fantastic album that has taken the US and the UK (in particular, though not exclusively) by storm.
Matt Redman - A Brief Biography
Matt was only 15 when he and his Youth Leader Mike Pilivachi started to plan a Youth Festival for Bible teaching and Praise that would become the now famous ‘Soul Survivor’. Worship leading at the first few Soul Survivor conferences, Matt wrote original songs that would allow young people to reach out to God in worship.
Worship leading full time since the age of 20 - this has taken Matt across the world, leading at churches and events from the US to Australia, Africa, India, Japan and Eastern Europe. ‘Why so popular?’ seems an appropriate rhetorical question to pose. The answer, I think, is clear: Matt writes songs for the Church, not himself - he is a servant not an artist or celebrity. For this approach, worshippers have given him much credit. I once attended a songwriting seminar led by Matt, and the first thing he did was to lower the microphone, remarking ‘People always expect me to be taller than I actually am’. Though he is only about 5 ft 5 (165cm for the metric fans) Matt is seen as a man great stature because of his 20 year service to the Church. This is goingsome for a man aged only 38.
Married to Beth with five children, Matt currently lives in Brighton having returned from a short spell in Atlanta working with Chris Tomlin, Louie Giglio and co. He returned to Soul Survivor in 2011 to lead worship for the first time since the mid 1990s.
Matt's Previous Albums
Prior to ‘10000 Reasons’ Matt Redman released 11 albums, including two compilation ones.
Each of Matt’s albums has provided the Church with songs to sing. As Matt himself says ‘There’s so much to write about God’ - it’s impossible to sincerely run out of things to say.
‘The Father’s Song’ has such a poignant title track. It is especially poignant considering that Matt didn’t have a good father figure growing up. ‘The Father’s Song’ is testament to the fact that God has revealed himself to Matt as Father - ‘For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.’ Romans chapter 8 verses 14-16.
‘Facedown’ was released in 2004. Some of Matt’s earlier work with Chris Tomlin led to the song ‘Worthy, You are Worthy’ being featured - some call this song repetitive, but I believe it has great rhythm and feel. The title track ‘Facedown’ is extra special.
10 000 Reasons
Now to talk about Matt’s latest (and greatest? ...yes, I think so) album: ‘10 000 Reasons’. I was privileged to experience Matt leading some of these songs live at Soul Survivor 2011.
Particular favourites of mine include ‘We Are The Free’ and ‘Here For You’. ’We Are The Free’ follows a popular trend, choosing not to start with words, but with a series of ‘woah’s. The word ‘anthem’ has been applied to a number of recently written songs in this genre, sometimes inappropriately. However, think it’s probably the best word for this song. The only problem is that a BIG congregational sound is required (11000 was ample at Soul Survivor) - unfortunately the majority of churches may fail to achieve this. ‘Here For You’ identifies our role and purpose as heirs of God - to do his will; it’s a prayer of thanks that also asks God to help us to complete this.
In early 2011, the album was recorded live, with 1000 worship leaders present - no pressure, Matt - the melodies penned were brought to life as enthusiasm from the worshippers translated to an uplifting yet accurate feel that is truly unique. The ‘10 000 Reasons’ album artwork is an explosion of colour that characterises the positivity surrounding the album. It’s an album of celebration, an antonym of melancholy. Recognised for its quality, ‘10 000 Reasons’ became the 1st album by a British artist to reach the No. 1 spot on the Us Christian music chart.
Matt has proved once again that he has much to offer the Christian music scene; he’s not going to disappear and live the quiet life despite his extended time of success and his becoming a family man. Continuing to serve in any way he can, Matt has authored four books, recorded the ‘27 million’ single with LZ7 to raise awareness of human trafficking and is part of St Peters - a church plant from Holy Trinity Brompton.
Matt is an artist (not a word he would use to describe himself) who is really worth engaging with; he has been consistent in fulfilling his calling - to resource the Church with meaningful songs to sing.
‘10 000 Reasons’ is the product of Matt’s enthusiasm for worship, his willingness to work with others to resource the Church, and his recognition that God should be central to our lives - we have unlimited causes to praise Him.
April 5th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Peter Harrison