Mark Schultz has just released his brand new album "Hymns." Featuring perennial favorites such as "Doxology," "This is My Father's World" and "Nothing But the Blood/I'll Fly Away," Schultz has added his own unique stamp to these sonic chestnuts of the church. Schultz is arguably one of Contemporary Christian Music's most notable artists having sold 1.3 million albums and topping the chart with 10 No.1 Christian singles. He has landed the top spot on Billboard magazine's Christian Adult Contemporary Songwriter list and has been featured on "48 Hours" "CNN" and "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." In 2011, Schultz released his first instrumental album, Renaissance and his first novella, titled "Letters From War," based on his hit song of the same name. We are honored to be able to chat with him on this Hallels' exclusive interview:
Hallels: Mark, thanks for doing this interview with us. Congratulations on the release of "Hymns." Why record an album of hymns now?
The two "special" records that I've always wanted to do have been a Hymns Record and a Christmas Record. We had an absolute blast making the hymns record, so I'm looking forward to one day crossing the Christmas Record off my list as well.
Hallels: What do you think is so unique about the hymns that is rare or not even found in today's contemporary worship songs?
Well, I can't tell you how many times we would stop and comment about how well written and special the words of these hymns are. I wonder if you fast forward another 100 years if we will be singing the "hit" songs that are playing on the radio today? I'm not sure we will. I think these hymns will still be the anchor of the church. They are timeless.
Hallels: I love how you paired "Nothing But the Blood" and "I'll Fly Away" together. What was the inspiration behind this?
We were having so much fun with Nothing but the blood and we didn't want that groove to end so we thought, "Why not take it up another notch?" At the time I wondered if throwing a harmonica on a hymns record would be too much, but after I heard it the first time, I knew that it was the right thing to do.
Hallels: My favorite two songs on the record must be "This is My Father's World" and "Doxology." I know "This is My Father's World" is a song that is very personal to you, can you tell our readers a little about the inspiration behind your recording of this hymn?
I'm not sure why I picked it for the record other than I loved the song and thought it would be a great song for my son to listen to at night before he went to bed. But, after we recorded it we were listening to it in the kitchen and my folks were here and my mom said, "Oh, this is my favorite song, we used to sing it at bible school when I was a little girl." I looked over and my two year old son was watching my mom sing along and I thought, wow, what a great moment this is. One generation passing the mantle to the next one.
Hallels: 2014 seems to be a busy year for you. You have a new baby boy coming, tell us more about that.
Working on getting some sleep now because around May 25 we will have a new born and a two year old in the house and I won't sleep again for a long stretch. We are having such a great time. So glad that we started a family. It makes finding the time for everything more difficult but in the end there are such great rewards in the things that you choose to invest your life in.
Hallels: And you just finished touring with Selah. Tell us a bit about the tour and your experience.
We had a really great time, Selah is the real deal. Such great people on and off the stage. Not a bit of ego, just real people. We loved having JJ Heller and her Husband Dave out with us as well. They are also the real deal and had such a unique gift of communicating with the audience. They were loved! We had several sell outs and near sell outs. I hope it something we continue in the fall. Life is good!!