If you have been to church for the last twenty years or so, you would most probably have sung the tunes worship leader Lenny LeBlanc have had crafted. "Above All," "There's None Like You," "I Believe" and "We All Bow Down" are just some of LeBlanc's compositions that have helped us in our worship. Recently, LeBlanc has just released "Anthology," an acoustic recording of some of his biggest songs. We are honored to be able to catch up with LeBlanc for this exclusive Hallels' interview:
Hallels: One of all time favorite songs is "Above All." This song has helped me to focus on God at times when times are tough. How did you come to write "Above All"?
Paul Baloche and I were together for a writing session and we were showing each other song ideas that we had started. At one point Paul played me the verses to "Above All". He had been working on it for a year or so and was at a standstill as far as the right chorus to put with the song. The next morning I awoke early and sketched out the idea in my mind for a chorus and later that morning Paul and I crafted it in with the verse and we were both so moved while writing and singing it we would begin to weep during the song and have to start over. We both Knew in our hearts that day that "Above All" would be sung around the world and Christian artist Michael W. Smith was instrumental in making that happen.
Hallels: You have recently released "Anthology" -- an acoustic recording of some of your better known songs. Why did you decide to re-record your songs again acoustically?
I've always loved acoustic music and it's been my desire for a while to record my better known songs in one project using this format. When you record a song in the simplest form, many times it will have more impact on the listener than if it is shrouded in a big production.
Hallels: You have also included two never released songs "Unchained" and "Hope." Tell us a little more about these two new songs.
I've been doing a lot of writing these days and those are two of the newest songs I've penned. "Unchained" is probably my favorite of the two. It was co-written with my friend Matt Johnson and it speaks of the power of the gospel to set of free from the things that keep us bound.
Hallels: Are you currently planning a new album now? What direction will this new record be? Will it be a studio album or a live worship recording?
I'm actually writing for a new project and hope to start recording in the summer of 2014. It will be a worship album in the studio. I've recorded many live projects through the years and honestly they are a lot of work to do correctly and they end up costing more because there is a lot of post production that has to to be done. I really enjoy working and creating in the studio because you can experiment with different sounds and production. I think if a song is great it will touch to people no matter if it was recorded in a small studio or in a live recording. I also plan to record a hymns project as well as a R&B album with faith based lyrics in the next few years.
Hallels: When you are not touring or recording, do you lead worship in your local church? What are some of the songs you would include if you were asked to lead worship this Sunday?
I have been the worship leader in my home church for about 30 years. Part of that time as a volunteer as well as some years full time. Recently I transitioned to more of a part time position so I could travel and tour more. We brought in a full time worship leader who I've known for years. I do still participate as a member of the team and lead a song here and there in the services when I'm home. If I were leading this Sunday a few of the songs I would do choose would be "Great I Am" by Jared Anderson and "10,000 Reasons" by Matt Redman.
Hallels: You have been a song writer and worship leader for all these years, what are two events in your career you really felt God at work?
God has done many incredible things in my life but as a songwriter I think the two most obvious times I felt God's hand was when I wrote "There is None Like You" and when Paul Baloche and I wrote "Above All".
Hallels: Being a veteran worship leader, how would you define "worship"? Has your definition changed over the years?
I think Jesus plainly describe for us what worship should look like in the book of John the fourth chapter when He said "The hour is coming and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth". I believe the truth part is us declaring in our songs and in our life style who Jesus really is. The spirit part is me surrendering my life to God and inviting Him to live through me. I always remember that scripture that says obedience is better that sacrifice. Worship is a daily dying to self and a life style that makes people want to know God for themselves.