Interview with Laura Hackett Park
All About Worship's, Julianna Morlet, interviews Laura Hackett Park on her newest album, songwriting techniques, and her calling as a worship leader.
JULIANNA MORLET: Laura, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us. We're excited about your album release and for our readers to hear it! First, we heard you just got married to label mate Jonas Park! Congratulations from the AAW team! I'm sure you've gotten this question every day since the wedding, but how has it been adjusting to married life?
LAURA HACKETT PARK: Hi, thanks for interviewing me! Yes, married life is wonderful!!! It’s so fun to do every day life with your most favorite person. After doing about 10 years of worship leading and ministry in the church as a single, it is really a gift to have a best friend to run with!
JULIANNA: There's been a lot of buzz around your song, “Lift Up Your Head,” where you sing, "Breathe, darling, breathe. It’s not yet time for you to leave. Love will have its day. Lift up your head. Turn your face to the rising sun while you wait, while you wait for redemption to come.”
Absolutely beautiful lyrics. Can you tell us the inspiration behind this song?
LAURA: Thank you! I wrote this song when I was in a difficult place. I was praying one day and asking the Lord if the season I was in was ever going to change. I heard Him say, “Breathe, darling, breathe. It’s not yet time for you to leave. You can’t yet see what’s right around the corner and the dark night will be over.” That night I went home and was thinking about how encouraged I was by hearing that from the Lord. When we know from God we are in a waiting period that’s going to end someday then it’s easier to wait in the present pain.
Then I read an email from a dear friend who was asking for prayer because she struggles with chronic pain in her body from a degenerative joint disease. I began to feel that phrase the Lord spoke to me that day was for her. The song just began to flow out of me as I thought of her and others in suffering.
I wanted it to be like a company of angels coming to strengthen believers that were suffering to remember that the Lord redeems all our pain. Not one day will be wasted and like a woman who forgets the sorrow of her labor for the joy of a child being born, we too will rejoice in the coming of the Lord when He makes all the wrong things right and redeems all the pain of His saints.
JULIANNA: A lot of our readers and subscribers are songwriters themselves. Can you tell us a little bit of your creative songwriting process? Where you glean inspiration, do you do lyrics or melodies first, etc.?
LAURA: Hmm, great question…I wish there was an easy answer, but the song writing process is a little bit of everything for me. Sometimes it’s a melody, sometimes it’s a theme I want to write about, and sometimes it’s lyrics first like “Lift Up Your Head," but I think its in the present-moment talking to the Lord that I get the most inspiration and creativity.
There’s a lot of music out there where people can say the right things in the right moments or have really great musical production. But the songs that really stay with us are the ones that feel authentic and real. I always reach for being authentic with my lyrics and emotions and refuse to write something that I can’t personally connect to or be moved by.
As a worship leader I think that the best way to lead a congregation is to be personally engaged with the Lord and lead by that example. People want to listen to and engage with music that is clearly from the heart of the songwriter. By just talking to Jesus about my life and using the truth in His Word to get to know who He is, I find that the creativity is unlimited because I am talking to the most creative powerful Man in the Universe. He is always alive with fresh ideas and revelation to encourage us. It’s what He loves to do - encourage and strengthen His saints!
JULIANNA: You're not only an independent artist, you're a worship leader! Where are you currently leading and how does that weave into what you do as an artist?
LAURA: I am currently leading about 12 hours a week of worship at a ministry in Kansas City, MO, called the International House of Prayer (IHOPKC). I love it!! It is a ministry that is dedicated to 24/7 worship and prayer. That means any time day or night you can come in and worship Jesus and pray with a full team of singers, musicians and intercessors. We do a lot of spontaneous worship where we ask the Holy Spirit to lead us, and we have a little format where we can make up the songs and choruses on the spot.
It can be messy sometimes, but it is the most exhilarating thing to sing to the Lord and hear His voice together as a worship team and respond with melodies and phrases from the Bible. It’s always a learning process, but this greatly helps me with my songwriting.
It teaches me to really ask the Lord about a subject in the Bible or prayer request and then to learn how to use the gift of music to communicate and describe what I feel the Lord directing. If there was one word of advice I had for people it would be: sing the Bible and your prayers to the Lord and just see what happens.
JULIANNA: As a creative, a woman, a daughter of God, and now as a wife, what do you feel your passion and calling is in the music industry today?
LAURA: I have a passion for people to invite the Lord into their every day lives. He gave us His Holy Spirit so that we would always have Him with us and it’s such a tragedy when we try and do all the right things but stay removed from Him in our hearts. When He fought to the death so that we could spend eternity with Him, even when we were His enemies, how much more does He want to interact and encourage us when we have been reconciled?
I feel like music is God’s gift to us to help communicate His heart and His emotions. It is an amazing vehicle of communication that can touch our hearts and emotions and help “write” the truth on our hearts. You can hear a sermon that someone says and maybe remember half of a sentence they said, but you can go to a concert and go away singing a few of the songs!
There is so much truth that people can receive through songs! I want to keep writing songs that hopefully the Lord will use to draw people to Himself. I love to write and would love to write songs for other artists to sing as well.
JULIANNA: And lastly, how can our readers connect with you? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Website…
LAURA: Yes, I have just launched a website, www.laurahackett.com, where I will be posting blogs on worship and songwriting. I also have a Facebook page, Laura Hackett Park, and a Twitter account, @LauraMHackett, where I love to connect with people!
JULIANNA: Thank you so much Laura, for taking the time to chat with us! We're praying over your album and the lives we know will be moved towards Jesus by hearing it.
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