Casey J Shares Her Heart Behind Her New Album "The Gathering"
Integrity Music and Tyscot Records announce the January 25 release of the much-anticipated album The Gathering from Stellar Award winning, Dove Award nominated worship artist Casey J along with the immediate release of the album's title track to digital platforms.
The new song follows The Gathering's debut single and Casey J's current Gospel radio hit, "If God", and her 2015 album debut, The Truth, and breakout song "Fill Me Up", which has over 25 million combined streams.
An Atlanta, Georgia-based worship leader and former elementary school teacher, Casey J (Hobbs) grew up in a house filled with God's Word, watching as her grandmother hosted Bible studies and home church groups. That mantle for sharing the Gospel outside of traditional church settings now rests on Casey who began holding "pop up worship" events in public places. With vulnerability and joy, she shares Jesus through song, inviting others to join her in worship, no matter the location.
Q: Casey, thank you for doing this interview with us. Congratulations on the release of your new album. What was in your heart while making this album?
How do you wish this record would impact the lives of your listeners? I think the heart of the record is scripturally rooted in Acts 4:31 "After they had prayed, the place where they were GATHERED together became shaken. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and walked away speaking the Word of God with boldness..."
Although I was born and raised (and am still being raised.. LOL) in the local church, I have been graced to experience worship in a number of unique and special environments. I have seen God move in huge mega churches and small coffee shops. I have seen Him speak to "spiritual veterans" and watched as He softened the heart of a new believer for the very first time.
I wanted to create an experience and music that spoke to all of those places and people. That no matter WHERE we are gathering and with WHOM, we can experience and respond to the amazing power of God.
Overall, I hope that this record is not just 10 more songs on playlist that someone listens to passively. I hope that it is an invitation to create a Gathering wherever you are and to respond to Him in worship.
Q: Your album is the first release under the joint venture of Tyscot Records and Integrity Music. How will this joint venture help better serve this new album?
Tyscot and Integrity are leaders in the Gospel and Worship music fields and they both have a passion for helping people encounter God through music. My music blends styles but it's all worship. So, they're great partners! We get to work together to serve gospel music fans, worship music fans, worship leaders and everyone in between.
Q: Why did you title this album "The Gathering"?
With Acts 4:31 in mind, I want to encourage listeners to not just limit experiencing and responding to God to Sunday mornings. God is so much bigger than that and to confine His nature to a few hours once a week is such a fragmented view of just how vast He is. This record is a spiritual soundtrack to the traditional and non-traditional gatherings.
Q: I have read that the album was recorded live in a park. This is very unusual, why did you record it in a park?
Ha! Yep the secret is out. I recorded The Gathering with about 50 friends at a farm outside of Atlanta. I wanted to really create a model for non-traditional/ authentic worship gatherings. I love the local church, I'll always enjoy corporate worship in a building with a steeple; but, the park or a farm or your car works just as well!
Q: What were some of the highlights for you in recording these songs?
There were so many highlights from that night. From the laid back environment, bonfire, kids running around in flower crowns, to the families and couples who chose to spend that night in corporate worship together. Overall, there was no pretense.
From that environment, we got to experience people's genuine and authentic reaction to the Spirit of God. You can literally hear our voices on EVERY song. I'm so honored that they would share their worship with me!
Q: In my review of your new album, I rave on the fact that you tried to cross genres with the songs. You even had a country/Americana song on it. Why did you choose to do a country worship song?
That's so funny. I think music heads and the music community at large is a little obsessed with categorizing sounds. I get it. We need boxes to help explain content and to find likeness. However, I'm so excited that when writing I didn't really have a particular goal of trying to make "cross genre" music. I wrote what I heard and we worked to create music that helped tell each story well.
The fact that the final product touches so many genres is, to me, more a testament to the vastness of God then my own personal diversity of sound.
Q: What other genres did you cover on this record?
I think there are a lot of influences across the record... everything from traditional choral music, gospel, neo soul, spirituals, pop, folk music and so many intersections and sub genres in between.
Q: Many have noticed the racial divide in Christian music. What is your view on this issue? How can we bring unity within Christian music?
I think that music is so unique in that it is simultaneously a cultural mirror and a cultural catalyst. As a cultural mirror, it is only natural that our culture will begin to influence and infiltrate our Kingdom culture, particularly in the area of music. Music is such a strong cultural indicator.
However, I am most excited about music as a cultural catalyst. As songwriters, song carriers and Kingdom storytellers; we have the capacity to change cultural norms for the Kingdom of God. In practical ways, I have had a chance to be a part of some amazing writing camps with such diverse backgrounds coming together to write inherently cross-cultural music.
The sound of worship is evolving and it is my prayer that we are writing songs of racial reconciliation for the Church.
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