Worship leader, Zach Loomis, has released his debut solo project, Captivate, on January 15th. The album is being released through Influence Music, which is a division of Loomis's home church, Journey Community, in Cleveland, Ohio. The record features 12 songs that were co-written by Loomis, the worship team at Journey, and such notable songwriters as Stu G (Delirious), Chris McClarney ("Love Never Fails"), Dwayne Larring (SonicFlood) and Travis Ryan ("We Believe"). Captivate is distributed by Provident Distribution and is available at all retail and online music outlets.
Hallels: Zach, let's start with yourself. Tell us a little about yourself and your call into the worship ministry.
First off, thanks so much for talking with me, Im really excited to be here with you guys! I grew a pastors kid and traveled around a bit growing up. I was born in North Carolina, spent time in Alabama and then have lived most of my life in Ohio. Growing up, music was always around, everyone is my family either sings or plays an instrument so it was like we had no other choice but to be musicians! For as long as I can remember I always wanted to be in a band, I had those normal dreams of being a rockstar and all but those dreams faded when no one wanted to hear my bands music...makes it a little difficult when you play just for mom and dad or no one at all! But songwriting fascinated me, the thought of being able to tell your own stories and sings your own songs was an incredible thought! So around 12 years old I started writing songs, i'm sure they were terrible songs but my parents indulged me and said they were great which gave me the encouragement to keep writing!
Hallels: With your dad being a pastor, how has that influenced you as a songwriter and worship leader?
Yea, my parents are the ultimate picture of what it means to serve. They have been in ministry for over 40 years and are campus pastors at Journey Community Church where I serve as the Worship Director. He and my mom who is a worship leader amongst many other things (Pretty sure she's a superhero) always pushed me as a young worship leader to find my own voice and writing style, they gave the liberty and grace to try new songs out and see if people connect right away or not! I'm lucky to have a rich heritage of parents and grandparents who have served so faithfully and helped me and so many others in their spiritual walk.
Hallels: In your press release, you said this new album is a community effort. How has your church supported you with this record?
Our church here in Cleveland has definitely rallied behind me and this album! Our church is 6 years old and we have seen God do some amazing stuff here in Cleveland, we have 4 campuses and 1800 people call Journey their home!
I have been on staff here for 5 years and truly have the best job in the world. Our Pastor Jim Wilkes, is all about raising up leaders and releasing them to what God has for them so when I came on board I told him I want to help equip worship leaders and write our songs, he was totally for it and supportive so in 2012 we released our first project 'Not Forgotten'. It was such a great time of learning what it means to write an album for our church and was almost a snapshot of where we were in our church's life! It was never on my radar to do a solo project but I stopped writing so we had a ton of songs that we kept incorporating to our weekends experiences. When we told our church we were planning on doing a solo worship project everyone rallied behind it, financially, praying for us, doing all they could to really be family and walk through the entire process together!
Hallels: Why did you entitle the new album "Captivate"?
In our culture we are so fast paced, moving from thing to the next so fast that it seems like nothing keeps our attention more than a 15 instagram video. Captivate means to attract and hold the attention of something or someone, I wanted to make a statement to God with these songs that He has my attention, that I'm keeping my eyes on Him! The goal of this album is simple, to help people experience Jesus' presence in a clear, new way. We didn't set out to make some groundbreaking, or clever album..we made a real and genuine album that speaks of who God is and how faithful He is to us!
Hallels: For this album, you have worked with some well-known writers including Stu G (Delirious), Chris McClarney ("Love Never Fails"), Dwayne Larring (SonicFlood) and Travis Ryan ("We Believe"). Are there interesting stories you can tell us when you were working with your co-writers?
Man, I loved working with each of these guys and have a lot of stories I could tell! Being a pastors kid, my access to music was pretty monitored at times (Which I snuck a few Cd's that I probably wasn't allowed to listen to..don't tell my parents).
Delirious was always playing in our house, car, and church. So I had this feeling that these guys weren't real and just rockstars that i'll never meet and definitely never work with! So when my producer John Hartly called and said you are going to spend an afternoon writing with Stu G I first thought he was playing around, then he gave me the address and when I needed to be there. I was shocked, excited, nervous, and hoping to get an autograph at least if the session went bad!
Then I met Stu, the nicest and most genuine person I've ever met! We were in his studio in Franklin, Tennessee surrounded by plaques and awards everywhere but he never came across like the rockstar I pictured growing up, he was talking to me like an old friend! We wrote two songs that afternoon and one of the songs was 'Captivate' . I have learned so much from every songwriter who worked on this project, the church is fortunate to have people who are searching and listening for God's song and not just some pretty or catchy hook that will end up on radio.
Hallels: If you were invited to a church to lead just two of the songs from your new album, which would you choose? And why?
I would say 'Faithful' because its a declaration and when you sing it you feel faith rise up as your belting out 'Faithful You remain, faithful You don't change. Your word will always be, You are faithful, You are for me'
And 'Mountain of God', the song came out psalm 24 where it says 'who can ascend the hill of the Lord? Those with clean hand and pure heart'. It feels like you are climbing a mountain when you listen to it, then the bridge comes in where all you sing is His attributes and who He is!
Hallels: Many of us are easily distracted in our daily lives, how can we be captivated by Christ again?
Speaking for me and no one else, I can get so easily distracted with life and work that spending time with Jesus can get lost! Its a daily, sometime moment to moment reminding myself of who He is to me, I love how Jesus calls out to us in our own personal ways that connect us to Him. Whether it be through music, nature, sitting down with a book we enjoy and spending time with family. Jesus wants authenticity, not for us to be robots and coast through life. Being Captivated by Jesus is to have a relationship that is constantly pursuing Him and His voice!