A wise man listens far more than he speaks. And I’m usually not a very wise man. But this week at Kingdom Bound festival it was easy to be. There were a few moments when I was lucky enough to just be in the right place at the right time to soak up good stories and life lessons and industry insight from some veterans.
And lots of jokes. Sometimes at my expense.
The festival’s president is Rick Cua, the artist, bass player, former label head. And there were other self-proclaimed “old timers” there too, guys like Phil Keaggy who’ve been making music for decades. They’ve rode the wave of increasing popularity for the Christian music genre from the seventies through the eighties. And they survived well the downturn of the late nineties and the plummet that’s occurred since 2001.
David is Rebecca St. James‘ dad and manager. I walked toward him backstage with my hand out and before I could speak a word…
“There he is, everybody! He repents of Christian music and they make him president of Compassion. He’s too good for us now! He’s above all this music stuff – moved on to helping the poor and making the rest of us look bad…”
He went on like this for a full minute. Joking of course. And I was laughing the whole time – half out of embarrassment from all the attention. David and Rebecca and the entire family have done so much for Compassion over the years.
Then Rick walked up. And David started up again announcing my repentance from Christian music etc etc etc. And that lead somehow to a conversation about how the music industry has changed. I didn’t say a word. I just took in the history lesson – how it all started, became more corporately run and much more popular, the rise of the influence of radio stations and retailers, shifts in marketing and styles, the problems of piracy and the unwillingness of fans to buy music in recent years, and all the mistakes we musicians and our labels have made to make things worse for ourselves.
I stood amazed at how much the industry has changed. Thankful for the opportunity to be with these men for a minute, to take in the history lesson, to better understand how we got here and what the way forward might look like. And thankful for you. Because of you, through all the change I’m still here, still making music and still seeing lives changed because of you.
You funded my new record! You’re the reason the pre-orders keep coming in every day. You encourage me on Facebook, Twitter and e-mail as my family walks through our adoption. And together you and I have seen around 20,000 kids released from poverty in Jesus’ name!
My life would be a lot less interesting, a lot harder at times, just a lot different without you. I’m not sure I say it enough: I appreciate you. Thank you for everything.