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Exclusive Interview with Martin Smith

Exclusive Interview with Martin Smith

By Mathew Reames on December 18, 2012

We recently had the opportunity to interview Martin Smith, former singer/songwriter of Delirious? Here is the interview that Mathew Reames, one of our contributors, conducted with Martin.

AAW: Let me begin by saying it is an honor to have the chance to interview you. You are the main inspiration that made me want to be a worship leader. I remember seeing you on your first American tour when you came running over the roof of the church to the outdoor stage, and thinking, 'this guy has fun when he worships.' That was more than a decade ago, so let me begin with this question: How do you keep the joy and passion for worship that you have even after years of touring and traveling?

Martin: I think community is always the perfect place for passion - a place where you can spark off each other. I think the local church keeps you passionate about God, about life, about people, and about touching the world with the gospel. That's probably how I've stayed in one piece over the years.

AAW: I have been listening to your three newest EP’s. Would you share a little about where this idea came from and the inspiration behind The “God’s Great Dance Floor” series of Movements?

Martin: I've found myself again in a really simple place. No record deal, no publishing deal, just a bunch of new songs and the time to really think about how I was going to record them.

Every time I picked the phone up to book a session musician to help I would always feel 'no, this is not the way'.  We joined a new church plant called St Peter's in Brighton, and there I met a whole group of music students, including 20yr old Johnny Bird. He would come to my house and help me demo the songs, and in a sense he never left the studio. He has really helped partner with me on the whole production process.

The songs weren't written for records, these EPs are like a journal really. and it's been a real joy to be able to release these EPs as and when they've been recorded rather than waiting for a big record company release.  

AAW: Currently your song “Song of Solomon” off of Movement 3 is tearing me apart as I type. So intimate that it just echoes the very presence of God. Would you mind sharing about this song and what motivated you to write it?

Martin: "Song Of Solomon" is one of the first songs I wrote after the ending of Delirious. It's from chapter 2 of the book of Song Of Solomon, about how God wants to be intimately involved in our lives. The verses talk about some of the pain of transition, and the fear of beginning a new journey.  But the song says over the mountains, over the sea, here you come running - my lover to me. I know that the song has quite strong language in it, but i believe for many of us the idea of being close to God is a big hurdle to overcome in our lives.

AAW: Now that you are recording as a solo artist, how has the process and mindset of songwriting shifted from your work with Delirious?

Martin: With Delirious, we would write songs together and record the songs all as a team, but now that there isn't that same framework there's more flexibility to write with other people and develop a bigger musical team around the project. I really enjoyed that on many levels.  

I've met new people and also been able to encourage some new people in the music-making process.  Also, when you're a solo artist, you're able to write about some things that would be more difficult in a band context.  On the 4th EP I wrote a song about my wife Anna, its a very personal love song to her and that probably wouldn't have fit on a Delirious record.

AAW: When Delirious ended a few years ago, you dove heavily into your charity Compassionart. How has that been going and are there any more plans for another Compassionart album?

Martin: Compassionart was an amazing project that brought lots of different artists together. There have been so many relational connections that have come from our time in Scotland. I think that has been the real fruit from the project.  Through the writing of the songs and making the record, we've also been able to raise some money to significantly improve the quality of some peoples' lives.

So we were all proud to be a part of coming together for that reason - giving our songs away for a greater cause. I'd like to think in the future that we could gather again...but time will tell.  At present I'm working on a new concept where the income from a song copyright can go directly to a charity from source. I'll share more about that as i go on the journey.

AAW: Aside from the music and the charity, what have you been finding to fill your time?

Martin: As I mentioned before we are really involved in our local church, St Peter's. I lead worship there once a month and am involved in the worship team. I have been traveling a bit, leading worship at conferences around the world, in between all that being in the studio recording all this new music, and then if I have a spare minute after that I have to be a dad to 6 children and a husband to my wife!

AAW: One final question, is there anything that God has specifically been teaching you and revealing to you lately that you can share with us?

Martin: One of the things that I've been amazed at on this journey since the end of Delirious is how kind God is.  I've really discovered the kindness of God in a brand new way, that He is really interested in our lives, that He wants the best for us. I've also rediscovered first hand that when the gospel is preached in power, then it really can change nations. 

AAW: Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us. I really love your insight and experience. God bless you!

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Mathew Reames

Mathew Reames

Mathew is a missionary and a worship leader serving the global body of Christ through worship training, biblical teaching, and evangelism. He resides in Lawrence, KS and Serves at Eagle Rock Church when not on the mission field.