Making music all of her life, Laura Hackett Park eventually became a worship leader at the International House of Prayer of Kansas City, an evangelical missions organization centered on 24/7 worship and prayer. Park continues to lead worship in the 24-hour prayer room each week, which is streamed LIVE to over 175,000 people a month. Additionally, Park recorded two songs Matt Redman's "Holy" and her original "The Love Inside" (which is also included in this new album) for the 2014 Dove nominated album "Oneting Live: Sing Your Praises."
Now orking with Ben Shive (Brandon Heath, JJ Heller & Andrew Peterson) and veteran producer Brown Bannister (Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman & Paul Overstreet), Park has released her new album "Love Will Have Its Day." It's our honor to be able to feature her for this Hallels' exclusive interview.
Hallels: Thank you Laura for doing this interview with us. Congratulations on the release of your new album "Love Will Have Its Day" in October. For some of our readers who may not be too familiar, can you briefly tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you for interviewing me!
Yes, I am a full-time worship leader and songwriter at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. It is a ministry that does 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week prayer and worship, and I get the privilege of leading worship there about 12 hours a week. I have been singing and leading worship there for about 12 years. The main part of my job is to lead Christ-exalting worship songs and then spontaneously sing/pray the Bible. At IHOPKC we have a few different formats that incorporate intercession times (praying to God about social justice issues, cities and nations) and Bible study times (singing through a biblical passage to gain understanding and grow in hearing from the Lord). I basically get to open my Bible, make up a melody and sing the word straight to God (which is prayer!). I think it's the most amazing thing, and it is really how I have grown in hearing God's voice and in songwriting. Music is such a gift that can help unlock our emotions and memories in a powerful way when we combine it with the truth of God's Word. Praying to God by using His Word and music helps develop a life-changing conversation that we remember more easily because it's attached to a beautiful melody or rhythm.
I also just recently got married to Jonas Park, a fellow worship leader at IHOPKC, and now I am Laura Hackett Park! This is still very new and exciting for me because we just had our wedding October 4th, a few weeks before my album released on October 21st.
Hallels: Did you approach the making of this new album any differently compared to your first record?
Yes, my first album was released about 6 years ago, and it really was a huge learning process for me. I had a great producer, Jared Logan, but I just wasn't very comfortable with adding much production to my songs. They were all really special to my heart because they had been songs that carried me through hard seasons, so I really wanted to keep them acoustic and mostly how I had played them. I also was finishing up a degree in music theory at the time and was kind of on a music "overload" so simplicity just felt better for me.
In the last few years I have really fallen in love with the gift that music is. I am interested in different styles and find that my heart moves just as much with a melody line as with the words. So for this album I really wanted to explore how to communicate through the music. I spent a long time revising the songs and really crafting the chord progressions behind the words to really fit the emotion of what I was trying to convey.
I also have grown more in my faith in Christ. This album represents a turning of my heart in HOPE to the Lord in a lot of ways I hadn't known in the past. The songs are a message of hope in Christ from some different angles: in pain, in anger, in exhaustion, in hopelessness, in confusion, etc. These songs are what the Lord has shown me about Himself to give me strength to believe and grow in my faith in His deep love for me. The intro of the whole album really sums it up for me. The Lord is convincing me that His eyes are always lovingly watching me to enjoy who He made me to be and to keep me from stumbling in to the sin that separates me from Him. Knowing this "changes everything" for me.
Hallels: On your new record, you got to work with producers Brown Bannister and Ben Shive. Both of them are huge names in the industry, they have produced albums for Amy Grant, Brandon Heath, Steven Curtis Chapman and many others. How did you come to work with these gentlemen? And how do you think they have added to the sound of the record?
It was such a huge privilege to work with Brown Bannister and Ben Shive! I was just pinching myself the whole time and really enjoying how much they threw themselves into this album with me! It is really a cool story how I got connected to them: I was on a ministry trip at a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) base in Kona, HI and I was leading worship one night with a lot of young missionaries. I had no idea, but Brown was there with his daughter who was working at that base at the time. He heard me play and loved it. Well, fast forward about 6 months, I was talking with my label, Forerunner Music, about doing another album, and we were talking about my favorite albums to try and find the right producer. I love the Sara Groves album, Add To The Beauty, and we discovered it was Brown Bannister. I didn't think we had a chance, but when they contacted him, he actually knew who I was from Kona, HI! And he not only knew me, but was happy to work with me. I was thanking God for sure...Brown then brought Ben Shive in to co-produce and the three of us got working. I spent six months going back and forth between Nashville and Kansas City. I would lead worship on the week days at IHOPKC and then fly to Nashville on the weekends to work on the album.
I think Brown and Ben are incredibly humble and talented men. They are genius at pulling creativity out of those around them, and they really came around and refined my songs in the most beautiful way. I can honestly say that I love this album. You can't always say that about songs you record but I love what we did and how they helped craft these songs. It's how I hoped it would be and better. The arrangements, the editing, the mixing and the mastering were all so professionally done and every detail was labored over. I am so very thankful!!!!!
Hallels: Some of these songs on the album are very personal to you. I was very moved by the song "Lift Up Your Head," which I believe was inspired by a friend who had a chronic illness, can you tell us more about the story behind the inspiration of this song?
Yes, this song was inspired by a beautiful friend of mine with degenerative joint disease. I wrote it because I am was inspired by her hope in the Lord in the midst of pain. It all started on a hard day for me. I was praying and asking the Lord to change the "season" I was in. I just felt so stuck and that it was never going to change. I heard Him say "Breathe, darling, breathe. It's not yet time for you leave." And I knew that this time of waiting was not over for me. Later that night I was reading an email from my friend about how she needed prayer, and I started thinking about how John 16 talks about the pain and suffering we will experience before the second coming of the Lord. Jesus spoke to us that our suffering would be like laboring with a child, though painful, it is afterward forgotten for the joy of the child coming forth. He said this is how His coming would be.
I began to picture a company of angels coming to someone in suffering and what they would say to remind them that the coming of the Lord will redeem all pain and suffering. I began to write in the song like I heard angel wings fluttering and voices crying out, "There is a redemption coming so great that every tear with be wiped away and all sorrow will flee!!!" This song is really about our ultimate hope in the coming of the Lord, but it also can give so much hope in the day to day because those of us in Christ can boldly know that our pain is not for nothing. The Lord will remember and redeem the time of those who wait patiently for Him...Also, my friend is greatly encouraged by this song, and I pray that the Lord will heal her before He comes again to redeem all pain.
Hallels: Also, your fiancé Jonas Park was also very influential behind "Got Something Going On." Can you tell us more about this?
Yes!! He is my husband now! J This song was definitely written for him, and it's about our journey into making this covenant together. We both hit some really rough patches in our dating relationship where we had to face our need for heart healing from the Lord, and it took a lot of faith, hope and real love to stay together at times. This song is pretty much what we both felt for each other in those hard times-that we got something that's worth fighting for and we want to let "loyalty takes us to higher heights of love".
Hallels: My own personal favorite is "He Shall Reign (Son of David)" which I think weaves the Old and the New Testament together beautifully. Can you tell us more about the song's inspiration?
I am so glad you like this song! Brown and I would laugh about saying "Jewish Man" in a worship song because we had never heard another worship song say that. But that is exactly who our Lord Jesus Christ is--a Jewish Man, who fulfilled the promises of Jewish Scriptures and declared future promises of reigning as a King from Jerusalem. I know there are a lot of interpretations for what different prophesies in the Bible mean, but I like to take the words and life of Jesus at face value. The more I study the Bible the more I see Him as this Jewish Man, who was also fully God. "Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh", as Timothy says, but God chose to come as a Jewish man, and He spoke most of His parables and teachings so that Jewish farmers, craftsmen and shepherds could understand. The more I learn about Christ in His first coming the more I am convinced that the future prophecies will come to pass. The person of Jesus Christ ties together the Old Testament prophesies and the New Testament prophesies and pulls the evidence together that my faith needs to gain strength. I hope people want to study the Bible more after hearing this song. I also wanted it to feel devotional and not just be "head knowledge" so we added that longer intro and repeated choruses throughout so that our hearts, and not just our minds, can grow in this knowledge of Jesus as King over the nations.
Hallels: For our readers who would like to find out more about you or purchase your new album, where can they go?
The easiest way to get my new album is on iTunes®. You can stay connected to my music and chord charts on either my website: www.laurahackett.com or www.ihopkc.org/lovewillhaveitsday