Michael Land has just released his faith-filled album Standing on Truth. The new record features 11 newly recorded songs, including "Forgiveness is Here,""Leanin' (Psalm 86)," and "Living in Me." Listen to the song "Love Came Through" here.
Q: Michael, thanks for doing this interview with us. Tell us about your upbringing and what kind of music influenced you while growing up.
I grew up in church and listened to Christian music but I was most influenced by gospel music, particularly artists like The Winans, Donny McClurkin and Fred Hammond. When I was 14 I remember having a membership to mail-in CD club and I always checked the 'gospel' box and would get 12 cd's in the mail every few months...I couldn't get enough!
Q: You started out as a pop singer. Tell us a little about this season of your life.
Well actually, I started out singing in church and after I graduated Bible college I had an opportunity to tour with the CCM group Newsong for about 6 months, during the time that Michael O'brien was the lead vocalist. My first concert was in front of about 8000 people on the Winter Jam tour with other artists like Carmen, Natalie Grant and Michael Tait from DC Talk. It was quite the experience...I was suddenly singing and touring with a lot of the artists that I grew up listening to on the radio. We had baby number 2 on the way (we now have 5 total), and I was sometimes away from home a few weeks at a time, so I decided it best to be home with the family and not to continue touring.
After I got off tour with Newsong, I then auditioned and got a job as an entertainer in Branson, Missouri...singing 50's music for a living for the next 4 years.
Q: In your bio, you mentioned that you grew up in the church but didn't really know Jesus. Then your life took a spiral downward. Tell us what happened.
I had a solid upbringing, with amazing godly parents, and I knew a lot about Jesus. As I mentioned before, I even went to Bible college and got a preaching degree, and was always involved in church ministry, whether it be singing or teaching. The 'spiral downward' was more of a foundation issue. Even though I had all the right knowledge and great Christian surroundings, I didn't truly accept who Jesus was and how important it was to make him the King of my heart. This is the choice that we ultimately all have to make about Jesus, no matter what our upbringing...is he King or is he not?
Looking back, I now realize that I was looking for my identity in other things, like being a successful singer, a perfect Christian or trying to be a people pleaser. This kept me consistently walking on slippery ground, and that's what continued the downward progression. I ultimately found myself identifying as a Christian only when it was comfortable and I stopped reading the Bible. I slowly began believing the lie that truth is relative and that I can define my own truth. The world makes that lie sound warm and fuzzy but is actually very scary and destructive.
Q: How then did you re-discover Jesus?
Thankfully, through the prayers of many friends and family, God opened my eyes to see the writing on the wall, and what continuing in that lie would do to me and my family. I began to read the Bible again and started praying with my wife every night. The only way I can describe what happened, is that I finally began to see myself in the story and the beautiful plan that God intended for all of us. A plan made possible through the self-giving love of Jesus, for us to walk in freedom and stand on the truth. I was finally finding my identity in Christ. And so many Scriptures that I had known and heard about before were starting to drop into my heart, and the songs started to flow!
Q: How has your music changed since knowing Christ?
In the past, I always tried to keep my pop music 'positive', but this is WAY more than just a positive experience. Now that I'm beginning to truly know Christ, I can't NOT sing about how great He is. The more I ask questions about Jesus and seek to really know who he is, what he did and why he really matters, the more life makes sense and the more excited I get about singing and writing songs about my journey with Jesus...the ups and downs both. He truly works all things for the good!
Q: Tell us about your new album "Standing on the Truth." What's your vision for this record?
This album is nothing more than an outflow of a very real experience with Jesus. That's what gets me so excited, is that it feels authentic. My vision and prayer is that thousands of people will hear the authenticity behind the music, and ask those same questions about Jesus that I did. The tite 'Standing on Truth' is not only an important declaration for myself but I believe it's what Christians need to be saying and living out in our society, which desperately needs to be transformed by the truth of Jesus.
Q: Did you write all the songs yourself? If you were to pick a song that best describes your faith and journey best, which would it be?
I wrote 10 of the 11 songs on the album by myself and co-wrote 'All In' with a friend of mine, Ryan Gose. I really enjoy co-writing, but as you've now heard in my story, I had a lot to say in this project and the music flowed out like a river, just like the rivers of living water that the Bible talks about. I'm so grateful!
The song that best describes my journey would have to be 'All In'. I was weeping when I wrote the bridge because that's exactly what God spoke to me when I began to 'put my nose back in the book'. Jesus went 'all in' for us on the cross. When I truly began to understand what he did for me and the power of grace, it was a game changer. I'm all in!
Q: How do you wish these songs would impact the lives of your listeners?
I hope everyone who hears these songs and listens to my journey will take a long look at Jesus and allow him to rebuild and strengthen their foundation on the truth of the Gospel.
Q: How can our readers know more about you and get to know more about your music?
Signing up for my email list on my website (michaellandmusic.com) is the best way to stay in touch. I'm a new man and the journey has just begun...I'm excited to celebrate Jesus with friends all over the world!