Interview with Jesus Culture's Andrew Ehrenzeller (and a Giveaway!)
All About Worship's, Mathew Reames, interviews Andrew Ehrenzeller of Jesus Culture on his newest album, songwriting techniques, and family life of a worship leader.
MATHEW REAMES: Andrew, before we begin, let me say it is an honor to interview you. I have long been a fan of your music all the way back to your Fear & Love Album. So thank you for taking the time to talk to us.
ANDREW EHRENZELLER: Thanks Matthew! It’s a pleasure to share with you.
MATHEW: Previously you recorded your music independently, however this time you chose to work alongside Jesus Culture Music. How did this influence and/or change the style, and the tone of your music?
ANDREW: Not really at all. When I set out to record Children of Promise I knew that I wanted to work with Jeremy Edwardson. He’s been a good friend ever since we recorded Harbour Live together a few years back.
Trusting anyone with your songs (and the recording process in general) is always a risk, but it was so worth it. We had some great moments in the studio together where we’d look at each other and knew we were capturing something very special.
My friendship with Jesus Culture has developed over the years as well, and they were very gracious to put this record out to a wider audience. I love sowing into the JC movement and see good fruit of the Spirit in what we’re accomplishing together.
MATHEW: Some may not know, but you are a worship leader of a local church in Florida. When you are writing worship songs, do you specifically write for Your Church, or do you write for the Body of Christ as a whole?
ANDREW: That’s a great question Matt. I’d say most of the time I feel like the song is writing me. Melodies and phrases get stirred up in my spirit to the point that I’ll just have to grab a piece of paper and a pen (nowadays my phone). Hurriedly I try to record what’s coming to me.
Over the years I’ve taught my students that when it comes to songwriting and creativity in general, the best discipline they can learn is to serve their gifting.
Not everyone has the exact same talent or anointing, but what they do have needs to be fostered, nurtured, and even allowed to make mistakes. It’s in the development of the gift that people can get easily discouraged because it takes a lot of work to hone your skills.
Songwriting to me is like catching the wind. When it comes just stand in its way and hold up your hands. It will take you somewhere if you let it.
MATHEW: You are married to Mary-Kat who is also a musician in the Jesus Culture family of artists (A Feature on the Emerging Voices album) Currently you have worked individually in terms of recording, how does marriage affect your music? Also, as a follow up, do you have plans to do an album together?
ANDREW: Yes I’m married to my favorite worship leader of all time who happens to be my best friend. Kat is as pure as it gets.
I’d say marriage is really like a dance. I guess traditionally the male takes the lead and the woman is supposed to follow. There’s definitely beauty in that form of expression and it obviously works on many levels. Yet, there are times (many times) in life when Kat is the better leader than I am.
So rather than getting in the way of our flow with Holy Spirit because the “I have to lead. I’m the man,” ideology is whining, I’m learning just simply humbling myself and letting her win means we both win.
I feel the pleasure of God when Kat is being who Papa God made her to be. Helping her be that is an honor.
To serve each other like Jesus taught us is the fragrance we want to carry in life because our very lives are worship. Truly, if either of us wins, we both win.
And yes, when the timing’s right, we’d love to record something together. Right now we’re so enthralled with our little boy Liam Valor. He’s the best song we ever wrote.
MATHEW: Ok, this is a question I love to ask worship leaders. What is your personal philosophy on worship? How do you approach the process, from songwriting to leading?
ANDREW: Develop a close, personal relationship with Holy Spirit, get your heart broken a few times (not just romantically), and mess up songs in front of people.
All of those experiences will make you a song of worship instead of just singing songs and calling it worship. God is looking for partners, not spectators.
MATHEW: What are some of the major influences on you spiritually?
ANDREW: I’m currently reading a lot of Richard Rohr.
MATHEW: What are some of the major influences on you musically?
ANDREW: Anyone and everyone who has a story to tell and tells it well always inspires me.
MATHEW: One final question before we let you go. This one is a bit open ended, but What is the best piece of advice you can offer to the songwriters, worship leaders, and fellow believers who are reading this and hoping to grow in their gifts?
ANDREW: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Make lots of them. And when you do, be patient with yourself, humble yourself, and submit to your local church covering or your spiritual father/mother and let them love you to maturity.
Failure is the best way to learn who you are and who you’re not.
When you learn who you are in God, and can be that confidently, you’re then empowered to own your role in community without seeking approval all the time. And by the way, that learning process never ends in this life.
Just when we think we’ve learned it all God in His tender mercy shows us something that our younger eyes haven’t seen.
MATHEW: Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us.
ANDREW: Thanks for all the questions Matthew. You’re a great interviewer!
Want to get your own copy of Andrew's newest album? Free?! We'll pick 2 random winners. Must be a U.S. resident and at least 18 years of age. Giveaway ends September 16th at 2pm CST.
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