British worship leader Ian Yates has just released his new album Awaken to Love. Produced by Trevor Michael and recorded at Bones studio, the album features the songs "High Wire" (co-written with Nick Herbert) and "No Longer I," co-written with Sam Blake and Matt Redman (and also appearing on Matt's latest album Unbroken Praise).
Yates is married to Kate and leads musical worship at their home church, Bootle Elim. He is also part of Elim Sound, an exciting initiative that seeks to inspire, create and equip worship leaders and teams within the Elim movement of churches through networking and resourcing.
Ian' Yates' highly acclaimed first album The Hope and The Glory, was released in Spring 2010. Cross Rhythms (Tony Cummings) called it "an epic album". M-Brio Music said "it will challenge, inspire and engage you". June 2012 sees the release of his second album entitled Good News released on 7core music. Ian says: "After I recorded the last album I was asking a few questions, one in particular was, what is the good news? One thing I'm sure of is that it's so much better than I ever thought or knew! This new album is my small part of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ".
Q: Ian, I was reading your press release for your new album and it says that this album almost didn't happen. What happened there?
Awaken To Love is my fourth album. I wasn't sure if I'd make another album. If I'm honest I was almost ready to call it a day. Ready to move on. For a year I didn't know if I could sustain this, pay the bills and provide for my family and not get burnt out. Yet God had other plans and in June 2015, after a few powerful confirmations we felt we had enough songs, enough of a message and enough of a God-given calling to go ahead. The result is Awaken To Love; twelve songs that revolve around themes of trust, hope and the unending love of God.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself. How did you become a recording worship artist? Besides recording and writing, are you involved in a local church leading worship?
I'm married to Kate, we have two amazing boys Jackson (2) and Elijah (6 months) we're based in Liverpool UK. I've been writing music and leading worship for about 17 years. In 2008 two of my songs got recorded on the Soul Survivor Peoples Album 3. From that I signed a record deal with Survivor records (Now Integrity Music UK) and we recorded my first album in 2010. It was a huge God thing. We are in based our local church in Bootle (Bootle Elim) I've been there since I was seven. My Dad is the pastor, He's been the pastor for about 12 years now. I'm not staff at our church, however I'm there twice a month leading worship and the other weekends I'm usually travelling to other Churches. I'm also part of the Elim Sound Core Team. Elim Sound is the National Worship department for the Elim Churches in the UK (around 600 pentecostal churches)
Q: You have said before that your music is also to reach people outside the church walls. In what ways does "Awaken to Love" speak to the non-believer and the unchurched?
My hope with 'Awaken To Love' is that people who are unchurched or don't currently believe in God would know and experience true Love. That God loves them, that He is for them and longs for a relationship with them. It's always been my passion for people to connect with God through the songs. I hope the themes in the album can speak to people in their struggles, pain and suffering.
Q: I must admit that I came to know about you via Matt Redman. Our church has been a song you co-wrote with Matt Redman called "No Longer I," which you have also included in your new album. How did you get to write with Matt? What was it like writing with him?
Great to hear you're using the song.'No Longer I' started out on our Elim Sound School Of Worship on one of our prophetic worship modules. It was a real special moment. I love the old chorus and had been using it for about 3 years spontaneously in worship services. At the weekend Sam Blake (Elim Sound) and I started singing and some other parts came and we had the first draft of the song. Matt had previously helped me out with a song on my last album (DNA). So I sent the song to him and he really liked it. We then worked on the song over email and voicemail. Matt is an amazing songwriter, he has written some of the most sung songs in the church. He was really keen to make sure every line and phrase was strong. Matt then informed me that the song was put forward for his album. It made the album and he recorded it in Abbey Road studios which was a great night. It's been amazing seeing how the song has blessed so many people.
Q: One song on the new record that is really good (and surprising) is your cover of the Beatles' "All You Need is Love." We don't often think of the Beatles when we are talking about a worship record, why did you decide to record this song?
This was a little risk for us. I'd always loved this song. A group of friends in Liverpool and I used to sing the chorus in our gatherings. I always thought there was something special and profound about the song and the chorus. 'All You Need Is Love' is a statement that is true. God is loveIt's been great seeing the feedback from the song. We've had 2 of the major Christian Radio stations playlisting the song which is really unexpected. The feedback has been mostly positive.
Q: What song from the new record reflects you and your relationship with God the best now? And why?
'Dream Again' is a huge song for me. As I said before I'd almost given up on my dreams. Life and responsibilities can often jade us and fear can cripple us. I remember I had an amazing moment at an event in the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral where I was leading musical worship. It was powerful moment where I felt God say 'Ian it's time to dream again'. To dream again for our city and for all that I had been created for. Each one of us has a unique message and calling. So many of us can give up, or stop pursuing our God given dreams. Right now this song rings true. No one said things would be easy and sometimes we have to push through the change and challenges of life. It's a huge privilege to serve God, the Church and people through music and I'm so blessed to be able live out my dreams.
Q: I believe you became a dad about two years ago, how has being a father affected you as a writer and worship leader?
The biggest thing for me was knowing how much I loved my little boy and If I loved him this much how much more does God love His children. It ruined me. It still does. Matthew 7:9-11 (JB Phillips) says: 'If any of you were asked by his son for bread would you be likely to give him a stone, or if he asks for a fish would you give him a snake? If you then, for all your evil, quite naturally give good things to your children, how much more likely is it that your Heavenly Father will give good things to those who ask him?"God's love for us is far bigger than we'll ever know. Being an earthly Father is only a small glimpse into the love of our heavenly Father.
Q: For our readers who would like to find out more about you and your music, where can they go?
My website is www.ianyatesmusic.com, I'm on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - @Ianyatesmusic. I love connecting with people. Please get in touch.