Introducing Chris Habermehl
I recently had the opportunity to interview Worship Writers Network artist/songwriter, Chris Habermehl. Enjoy!
Wisdom: First of all, how do you pronounce your last name?
Chris: Hobb-er-mell. But even my closest friends who I’ve known forever still mispronounce it “Habb-er-mell” so I’ve learned to accept all pronunciations.:) I’ve been called much worse.
Wisdom: Great to know! Can you tell us how you got started leading worship and writing songs?
Chris: I’ve been writing songs ever since I was little. I remember being super inspired after listening to a Petra cassette tape! Around the age of 14, I started messing around on the guitar and that changed everything for me. I started writing all the time -mainly secular songs. At that point I had absolutely no desire to ever be on stage singing, much less leading worship. One day my youth leader asked me to play guitar in the youth band, and before I knew it I had found what I was created to do! I started leading a few songs at my church under my dad, who at that time was pulling double duty of worship leader and lead pastor. I was able to learn from his awesome example of what it looked like to lead worship on stage and most importantly off stage. Fast forward about 10 years and I just can’t believe how truly blessed I am to be able to lead God’s people in worship every week!
Wisdom: You released your first full-length album, All Things New, back in January of this year. How long did it take you to complete the project and what was that journey like?
Chris: It took forever. At least that’s what it felt like. I put out a 4 song EP in 2008 and, from then on, I seemed to hit every roadblock possible in pursuit of my full-length album. I wanted to make sure that whatever I put out was of a certain quality and style. I knew what type of sound I wanted to capture and it was really difficult finding the right studio, not to mention the funds and the time. Those were some of the most frustrating years of my life. I had all of these songs inside me and felt like I was going to explode if I didn’t get them out.
Finally, a ray of hope: fellow Worship Writers Network artist, Stephen Miller, recommended his guitar player/engineer/mixing extraordinaire Taylor Webb. The guy is crazy talented and was the perfect match for me as far as the direction I wanted to go with the record. I would definitely recommend him to anyone. So, with the 4 years I spent in frustration, wondering if this project would ever be a reality, it took only 4 months in the studio to complete. Proof that God’s timing is absolutely perfect. His ways are so much higher than mine!
Wisdom: Wow, that's amazing! What did the songwriting process look like for the project?
Chris: I wasn’t overly intentional about writing songs centered on a specific idea or theme. They were mainly just an overflow of what my heart wanted to say to God and His people. Interesting though, when I chose the 10 songs that made the cut for the album, all of them seemed to really flow well together thematically, sort of painting a picture of the overwhelming love of God and that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. His love brought us from death to life… His love makes all things new.
Wisdom: Amen! One of the songs from the album, “Greatest Love”, is featured on the All About Worship Collective 6. Could you tell us the story behind that song?
Chris: I had the main chorus hook of this song for the longest time. It came during a private worship time one night on the stage at my church with all the lights off just trying to pour my heart out to Jesus. I had a good idea melodically for the chorus but didn’t have lyrics. I would revisit it from time to time but didn’t have all the lyrics until about 3 years later. Something though was still not quite right about it. I had brought it to a friend and he suggested I put it in 6/8 time signature instead of 4/4. I had to rework the phrasing and a few small lyric things, but it totally changed the feel of the song and it finally felt right. It was a great reminder of the power of co-writing (something I really want to do a lot more of for the next project).
Wisdom: People have mentioned that you sound similar to Jeremy Camp. Was that an intentional effort or a coincidence?
Chris: Haha! I’ve never, ever heard that before. No, actually I’ve heard that so many times I just tell people that we’re brothers. I do obviously take it as a compliment. I had been singing a while before I ever even knew about Jeremy Camp. I would say his music was an influence early on, but I honestly never intentionally tried to mimic his voice, that’s just the sound that always seemed to come out of me from the beginning.
Wisdom: Very cool! What's coming up for you in the next 12 months, personal or ministry?
Chris: Well, I recently became a family of 5, and my main focus is on being the best godly husband and father as possible, and I pray that I can serve my church family better than I did the year before. Those are my most important ministries- in that order. If there’s any time left over, I plan to continue to lead worship at different churches and venues as an extension of my ministry at my home church.
Wisdom: What are various ways our readers can connect with you?
Chris: Oh, so many ways. My favorites being:
Wisdom: Thanks for hanging out with us today! I hope our readers will check out your music and connect with you online!Comment on Facebook Comment on Twitter
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