Bethel Music's Paul and Hannah McClure on Songwriting, their New Album & More

Paul and Hannah McClure

Featured on every major Bethel Music release since 2010 with songs like "Jesus, We Love You," "One Thing" and "Faithful to the End," Paul and Hannah McClure have released their highly anticipated full-length Bethel Music debut, The Way Home. Produced by David Leonard (All Sons & Daughters), the project features songwriting contributions from labelmates Brian Johnson and Josh Baldwin, as well as Seth Mosley (for KING & COUNTRY), Matt Hammitt (Sanctus Real) and Mia Fieldes (Hillsong), among others. 
A 10-track Americana and folk-based collection paying homage to the duo's North Carolina roots, The Way Home reflects not only a three-year process of creation, but a broader life journey for the couple. An initial trek from North Carolina to Bethel Music's WorshipU in 2009 ultimately led Paul and Hannah to a cross-country move three years later. Today, the McClures serve as an integral part of the Bethel Music Team based in Redding, California.
The Way Home was recorded at Nashville's historic Layman Drug Company and features the buoyant lead single "Now I See." Echoing the sound and passion of an old-fashioned tent revival and inspired by the story of the blind beggar in John 9, Paul and Hannah joyfully sing of the delight God takes in His children-something the parents of two have come to intimately understand in their current season of life.  

Q:  Thank you for doing this interview with us.  Let's start with yourselves: how and when did you become involved in leading worship at Bethel?

In 2010 we visited the worship school Bethel holds every summer. It changed our lives quite literally! The presence of God we experienced and the leadership here at Bethel compelled us to move across the country so we could be part of this movement. We had connected with Brian Johnson and Jeremy Riddle through a songwriting class at the worship school. They gave us feedback on a song we had been singing at our local church called "God of the Redeemed." Long story short, they ended up putting the song on their album, Be Lifted High. Through that process we stayed connected with Jeremy and moved here in 2012 and began leading on the worship team.

Q:  When you choose songs for a worship set for Sunday, what factors do you consider when you choose your songs?

We like starting the set with vertical worship. The goal is to make sure we are pointing people straight to Jesus. There's no set formula, we just try to look at it from a pastoral view of what will bring people into His presence.

Q:  You have written many songs for Bethel.  What normally inspires you to write?  Does songwriting come easy for you?

It feels like we are really just digging into writing after years of doing it, honestly! We used to write only when we felt inspired, but we've learned to make it an intentional time on our calendar and to co-write with other people. There are often times we don't feel inspired before a writing session, but when we get into it and start thinking about things God has done, creativity usually begins to flow and it's rare to have an unsuccessful session. It comes easily now, but it's been years of growing and learning how to push past perfectionism and being comfortable putting our ideas out there.

Q:  Your new album has a different sound to what a Bethel worship record would sound. How would you describe your sound and approach to this new record?

We wanted to draw out our North Carolina roots on this record and were encouraged by Brian Johnson and Joel Taylor (the CEO of Bethel Music) to explore our sound. We'd previously written for corporate albums, but this process was more about our own journey and telling our story, which was exciting and scary at the same time! The vulnerability in the process of putting our heart and soul into an album has been a new and beautiful experience.

Q:  How and why did you choose All Sons and Daughters' David Leonard to produce the album?

Part of the Lord's kindness towards us during this project was the timing of every detail. Our album was originally scheduled back in 2016. We are so happy now that the original timeline didn't happen, mainly because we hadn't met Creak Music (David Leonard, Brad King and Seth Talley) yet. One of our publishers recently moved to Nashville and connected us with David early this year, thinking he could really help develop our sound. We met and demoed a song and hit it off. We had been writing for so long and faced some discouragement along the journey, but David and the guys made the project light and fun. David is incredibly talented and pastoral at the same time, and he really helped draw things out of us that we forgot were there.

Q:  Who else helped you in co-writing the songs?

Lots of amazing people contributed to the project. Joel Taylor was one of the main voices of influence on the album, going through each song and making sure it was the best it could be. 

"Believe in You" was a song we wrote with David in an hour at his studio. It was one of those songs that just came out and we didn't change a thing about it.

We wrote "Always Good" with Rita Springer. She has such a motherly influence and it comes through in the song in a beautiful way.

Some of the other writers included Seth Mosley, Matt Hammitt and Ethan Hulse. They are all incredible and we feel so honored that we got to work with them.

Q:  Let's talk about your single "Only Have One."  What's the song about?  And why are you excited about it? 

We'd been writing towards this album for what felt like 10 years! There were several songs we didn't think should make the album just because we had so many songs and were starting to lose perspective. David insisted "Only Have One" and a couple others had to be on the album. We absolutely love the vibe of the song and the fresh take David brought to it. We wrote it with Matt Hammitt and Seth Mosley. As we were talking about what kind of song we wanted to write, we all agreed that there is so much confusion today-a lot of people walking away from God or calling whatever they like "truth." The idea felt exciting to be able to declare the Truth of the Bible, but with fun, fresh melodies and lyrics.

Q:  If you could sum up the message of your new record in a few sentences, what would they be?

This album has been about coming home in a sense. We've been on the road back to our roots and becoming confident enough to be ourselves and tell some of our story. Every song represents a part of this story and how God has been so present and faithful in every season of the journey.


Tags : bethel music paul and hannah mcclure Paul and Hannah McClure interview Paul and Hannah McClure the way home david leonard paul and hannah mcclure new album

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