Capitol Christian Music Group and Jesus Culture Music are preparing to release a ninth live recording on January 15, 2016. The album title – Let It Echo – captures the heart of the community of the one-year-old church in Sacramento, CA seeking Jesus with a desire to know Him more and to see this passion spread from cities to nations. Hailed as Jesus Culture's "best sounding album" with "arrangements that are more progressive," release date for this highly anticipated new album is quickly approaching. Kim Walker Smith, President of Jesus Culture Music, and worship leader Chris Quilala recently took to Google Hangout to talk more about this new project.
Instead of being recorded at a big conference or event, Let It Echo is the first album to be recorded live every Sunday for about 6 weeks in front of their congregation at the new Sacramento church. Chris says this new setting brought a much different feel to the album. "Recording with people we’ve been building a community and worship culture with from the ground up is definitely different…It’s just a different atmosphere…It’s definitely different to lead these songs with our community who we have been writing these songs for. We have been writing out of this place of community…so it was really cool to say ‘hey here are the songs you all have helped sort of write, these are your songs too.’ I mean our other recordings have been very special but I think this has been my favorite in that aspect. It just felt very personal and special - not just for us - but also for our church."
Kim shared that this album is a very personal release, not just for her, but for much of the Jesus Culture family. "This last year…it was a rough year for both of us and within our Jesus Culture family. We faced some really big things and some really hard things as a community. When I’m saying that, I don’t want it to sound so negative, but that’s just the reality. It was a really hard year. But I feel that the maturity has come in choosing to press in closer to God. And I think that whenever we go through really difficult things, it’s kind of in our nature to want to run and fight it and be angry and stuff things away…but when we choose to pick ourselves up…and choose to worship and choose to believe in His goodness, that’s where the real growth comes from…And this next year I think we are going to see so much fruit from those times." Quilala adds, "These songs feel like they have come out of a very deep place within us. My wife and I lost our son, and a lot of these songs came out of praise and still believing that God is good even in pain and trials."
Also unique to this album, the record is composed of all original songs written and co-written by Jesus Culture artists. This project includes 12 new songs featuring Kim, Chris, Bryan & Katie Torwalt, and more. "I feel like we have reached a new maturity in our songwriting and have really come a long way in our songwriting," Walker-Smith explains.
Speaking about the inspiration behind "In The River," the first single from Let It Echo, Chris shared how the song was written in response to a need by pastors. "I was sitting down to write with someone and he had a friend who went around just asking pastors around the nation ‘what songs do you want songwriters to write about?’ And the overwhelming response was ‘we want songs about joy – not necessarily songs that say joy – songs that when I hear them I feel joy.’" You can get an instant download of "In The River" when you pre-order the album on iTunes now.
When answering a fan question regarding the record's title, Chris explained: "There is a song on the album called 'Let It Echo.' The chorus says, 'Let it echo, From this city to the nations, The sound of praise, Let the windows of the Heavens be open, Let it rain.' It really is a prayer. We know that when we worship God shows up. But ultimately it’s not just for us to encounter in our little four walls, we really want God to show up and impact our cities and our nations. And, He does! We see in scripture when Paul was in prison, and he began to worship. His prison door was opened, but not just his, also the doors of the prisoners around him. So we know that when we worship, God shows up and He infects the atmosphere."
For Kim and Chris, writing and recording new music is about much more than sales numbers. "We as worship leaders and songwriters, we have the responsibility to point people to God and also sing about where we want the church to be at in 10-15 years. We need to start singing about that now," Quilala concluded.
In addition to answering questions about the upcoming release, Kim and Chris also talked about how having kids has changed their lives, ways to keep refreshed after playing well known songs over and over again, and some personal 'bucket list' items. You can watch the full video session below.
This is the first Jesus Culture live recording that will be released since the CCMG partnership with Jesus Culture Music. Jesus Culture will be debuting the new songs live at their annual conference in Sacramento on January 23rd-24th. To register please visit http://www.jesusculture.com.