Exclusive Interview: Mark Bishop Introduces His New Band Forget the Sea

Mark Bishop and Forget the Sea

Singer and songwriter Mark Bishop, who was once part of the Southern Gospel group the Bishops, has formed his own band simply called "Mark Bishop and Forget the Sea."  The team is led by Dove-Award winning artist Mark Bishop and his two daughters Courtney and Haley on vocals, John Isaacs on percussion, Josh Rison on guitar, Chris Withrow on bass and Russ Funk on keyboards.

They are set to release their brand new album Mark Bishop and Forget the Sea on January 8th, 2016.  The record will be released on Horizon Records produced by Bishop and the legendary Jeff Collins.  All the songs on the album are written by by Mark Bishop, John Isaacs and Josh Rison.  The music on this new album is described as acoustic Christian with influences ranging from folk, americana, southern gospel and acoustic praise and worship.  

Hallels:  Thanks for doing this interview with us.  Who is Forget the Sea?

The new band is comprised of my daughters, my son-in-law and some wonderful musicians who love the Lord.  I have been writing and singing Christian music for about 30 years now.  It is wonderful for me to share the stage with these great young people who express their love for the Lord through song and lyric. We hail from the hills of Kentucky and so there is a heavy folk and Americana influence in the music, along with southern gospel and worship music in there too.  It definitely is its own musical animal.

Hallels:  How did Forget the Sea start? 

On my last solo album with Crossroads Music, my oldest daughter came into the studio and sang on a couple of songs.  The record company folks loved her voice.  I told them "I have another daughter at home that sings just as well!".  From those conversations, they became interested in what an album would sound like if Mark Bishop the soloist became Mark Bishop the group.  I have to tell you, it's the most fun that I have had making music in a long time. They have such great musical ideas and they have a laser focus on singing songs that will minister to searching souls.  The songs we have created really make you consider how God interacts with us here in the "real" world.

Hallels:  Why do you call yourselves "Forget the Sea"?

The name is meant to be more than just the name of a musical group, but a "mini-sermon" right in the title.  We were thinking of the story of Peter stepping out of the boat.  As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he was not only safe, he was doing something spectacular and supernatural.  But when he took his eyes off of Jesus he began to sink (a great metaphor for all of us).  We want to encourage everyone to forget the storms, forget the waves, keep their eyes on Jesus and forget the sea.

Hallels:  Many fans of Mark Bishop are definitely wondering, how is this new music different  from your previous music? 

I have been making christian music for thirty years now, writing most of it.  As a believer, these songs are my sermons. I started out making music with our family band The Bishops.  I have been a soloist for the past few years and that sound was different from the first chapter.  Now, making music with my daughters and some talented musicians, I have become excited about that creation process again.  The sound is a little different because it is a collaboration of creative minds, but it does still pay homage to our musical traditions while still exploring some new sounds too.  I think that people of all ages and tastes will like the clear, pure sound of this recording.  It's just good music!

Hallels:  Is there a single being released off the new record yet? If so, tell us more about the single.

The first song being released is a song called "You Love Me Anyway".  Despite all of our shortcomings, our God is so big, He can look past those and see our hearts (and he did... Ephesians 2nd chapter says that he loved us, even in our trespasses) So I think it's wonderful to remind folks who might be devaluing themselves because of their mistakes and regrets that hey, you know what?  God loves you anyway.  And He does! If you are in a place where you want to please God and you're not happy with yourself when you "mess up", well I believe you are on the right track.

Hallels:  Recording this new album as a team, was it easier or more difficult than your own solo records? 

What a great question... It was definitely very challenging to sort out everyone's ideas about what the album should be.  It becomes an exercise sometimes of not musical creativity but of social diplomacy and crowd management! But in the end, we were all on the same page about what we wanted to say.  We wanted something that was musically true to our Appalachian roots but still modern and fresh.  The whole recording is clean and airy and acoustic-based.  I'd say there are folk and traditional elements in there but wrapped around some thought-provoking and modern-day relevant lyrics.  The music really does fit the message.  The vocals are pure and up-front.  I wanted that with my daughters singing on this.  They have such angelic voices. So to answer your question, yes... it was a lot more work... but the result is worth it.

Hallels:  Mark, will you then still be releasing your own solo albums?

I honestly haven't thought that far ahead.  I am just enjoying the moment, right here and now.  I know that I will always create music.  I have always placed that in God's hands.  I feel blessed to have lasted this long!  When God is through with my music, I will be too.

Hallels:  Where can our readers go to learn more about your new music?

They can learn more about the new band on all the social media stuff...  just search for Forget The Sea.  They can learn about us too. 

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