America's top-selling quartet Ernie Haase and Signature Sound returns, presenting their first recording of original material in over two years. Happy People is packed with the inspiring and energetic material that fans around the world have come to expect and love. After hearing the first few tunes in the studio, label executives knew this studio project should also be put into a visual format.
On November 22, 2014, this talented foursome recorded a live concert DVD in front of 2,000 fans at the Honeywell Center in Indiana. From the zestful title cut and current single, to the heart-warming ballads and classic quartet songs, Happy People is destined to become a chart-topping favorite.
Hallels: Ernie, thanks for doing this interview with us. Congratulations on the release of your new album "Happy People." Listening to this album, I can sense an upbeat and sunny disposition that comes across the songs. Do you think that this album is more thematically upbeat and uplifting?
Ernie: You are welcome. And thank you for the interest in Happy People. To answer your question...Yes! We are always striving to record upbeat and fun songs, but this project goes to another level. We put ourselves into the corner by titling the album Happy People. Therefore, we had to write and convey the things that are universal to Christians worldwide, and that is this: "In the good times and bad times, the Joy of the Lord is our STRENGTH"!
Hallels: What's the inspiration behind the song "Happy People"?
Ernie:The big song by Pharrell, "Happy," was blazing everywhere, all the time, when we (Wayne Haun , Joel Lindsey & I) sat down to write last summer (2014). We were not trying to copy the Pharrell song, but we wanted to emulate the contagious joy it created every time we heard it.
I already had the idea of making next the EHSS album all about the theme of "Shine" or "Shining For Jesus". We even wrote a chorus with that hook, but it just didn't work. We kept at it for three days when someone said, "God's people should be the happiest people on earth. How do we say that?" And it was like sparks started flying out of our ears. That question kind of took us the direction we needed to go. Happy People is not just a title of an EHSS project; it should be the title for His people.
Hallels: On your previous album "Glorious Day" you had a Bible story song on Noah. This time you have a Bible story song on Joshua, "Joshua Led God's People," was this deliberate? Ever thought about recording an album filled with Bible-story songs?
Ernie: It was not deliberate, but then again you could say it was and here's why: Kids absolutely LOVE the Bible story songs. They are the most requested songs by our little "Siggy Sound" fans. People ask us all the time to do an EHSS Kids project. And I tell them, I do one for them every record. One day, I'll compile those kinds of songs into one special kids record for our young fans.
Hallels: What I like about the new album is that there's a balance of older covers as well as new songs. For the new songs I really love "A Soldier Fighting to Go Home." Tell us more about this song.
Ernie: A few years ago, I was asked to be a judge for a Singing News songwriters contest. I agreed and picked that song from a long list. I was attached to "A Soldier" (fighting to go home) because of our road manager and bass guitarist David Griffith. His son Zach has served all over the world fighting for our freedom. Many, MANY prayers have gone up for him to just make it home. Last fall, Zach finally made it home. Lots of scars, physically and mentally, but he made it home and is doing well. So the song is for all those still fighting to get home and for those who make the supreme sacrifice and finally make to heaven, their eternal home. It's a special song.
Hallels: I've noticed you have a Gaither song on the new record. Are you a fan of theirs? Who else do you normally listen to in your spare time?
Ernie: I am a fan of The Gaithers! I have all of The Gaither Trio records and I'm always looking for something by Bill and Gloria. I think lyrics by Gloria Gaither are up there with the best sermons from any preacher or book from any writer EVER! I challenge you to listen to "I Do Believe" and tell me about a better lyric where poetry meets a believer's honest cry.
And to the second part of your question, I listen to a lot of different and diverse music. One moment it's Frank Sinatra, then Elvis, then Andrea Bocelli, Michael Jackson, Tony Bennett, George Strait, George Jones and George Younce. I really like my old black Gospel recordings. Jimmy Jones and Harmonizing Four, Golden Gate Quartet and the likes REALLY pumps me up too! Bottom line is I like it all...especially on vinyl.
Hallels: Being also the boss of StowTown Records, how involved are you with the artists on the label? Are you the one that signs the artists and guides them on their releases?
Ernie: I'm not that kind of owner. I have 3 other partners who help make those decisions. I am what they like to call the "Heart and Soul" of StowTown. I dream, pray, write and then stand back and watch the team bring all the magic to life. And when one of our artists stands on stage and connects with a crowd I stand back and smile like a proud poppa.
Hallels: For our readers who would like to purchase "Happy People" or/and find out more about you, where can they go?
Ernie: For ALL things EHSS, go to our website www.erniehaase.com. Links to our Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are there along with tour dates, special news and devotionals I write. The Happy People CD and LIVE DVD is available at Christian Retailers worldwide! Check it out and come check us out. Our live shows are so fun and full of the "Happiest People" I know!
This has been fun. Thanks! Ernie
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