Povestea din Spate (EN)
I'm sure you're sick of this question already, but what's the story behind "My Savior My God"?Aaron Shust I was one of the worship leaders at a Presbyterian church in 2000. They place a very high value on hymns. As worship leaders putting together sets, we would often joke tongue-in-cheek-but-half-dead-serious that we had to at least have two hymns in every worship service. So after two months, you can definitely exhaust the standby hymns. So we started to dig a little bit deeper and get a hymn that's remotely familiar and just put a new little arrangement to it. Or we'd find a hymn that's completely obscure and try a new melody because we knew we wouldn't offend anybody by changing the old melody.So I was flipping through a book, The One-Year Book of Hymns, and I found this hymn "I'm Not Skilled to Understand." I thought it was a very strange title for a hymn, so I read through it and it just blew me away. It really focused on [the fact that] I don't have to understand the mysteries of theology. I don't have to understand God's perfect plan. I don't have to understand why Uncle So-and-So got cancer and died last year. I want to, but I don't have to if I truly trust that God is in control.I hadn't even heard of this hymn, but I figured it wasn't a familiar tune. And I started a really basic melody, 'cause I wanted people in the church to sing it right away. So all we would sing was the verse and the little pre-chorus.What about the chorus?Shust Well, [at the time] the pre-chorus was the chorus, I guess. Two years later I wanted to sum up all these words of straight theology in a nutshell so we could sing the chorus and also take the energy up another notch, and be able to sing, "My Savior loves, my Savior lives, my Savior's always there for me. He was, is, and is always going to be."So I was sitting at a red light at 11 o'clock at night after a rehearsal, and the words kinda hit me upside the head. And I jotted them down on the passenger seat before I took off. That was in 2002, I think. I'd been singing it at church for a while before it got recorded, long before it hit radio.Do you think the advent of contemporary and modern worship has shifted the focus away from theology and hymns?Shust In my church, absolutely not—there's definitely a regard for [hymns]. I think because of the freshness of the choruses that have come out in the last 20 years, churches can go to the other extreme and forget the past and disregard some quality songs that have been around for hundreds of years, songs that have stood the test of time. We've been singing a song that's been around for a thousand years—"All Creatures of Our God and King"—or "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing," a song that's been around for three or four hundred years.A lot of the hymns have not stood the test of time. I found an old hymnbook that my mom had that was copyright 1870 or something, and a lot of these hymns are really bad in their theology. Thankfully, they have not lasted. It's one thing to hold hymns on a pedestal and say all hymns are great. That's not true. [Today] there's a lot of choruses that are great, but a lot of them have bad theology. Thankfully, the songs like "How Great Thou Art" and "Amazing Grace" have survived not only because they have a good melody, but because they have great words too. If I wrote a song that's bad theology, I hope in 25 years nobody's singing it. I hope it disappears.You started as a worship leader. Did you ever expect to "blow up"?Aaron Shust I would certainly not say "expect." I always felt like God might have in his plan for me the ability to take my songs to a broader audience. I hoped for that. The other thing is validation: You write songs and first of all you hope your mom likes it. Then hopefully your friends will like it. Then maybe even some strangers will like it. So it was nice having people from Nashville come down and listen to the songs and say, "Hey, we're interested in managing you. We're interested in booking you." It's a new chapter. But I've been writing songs for a long time—it's what I do.If things hadn't taken off as a recording artist, would you still be content with leading worship?Shust I would hope so. But I believe God planted in my heart a desire to take it outside of our local home. So maybe I wouldn't. I wasn't doing everything that I should. I don't know—that's a tough one. I take it one step at a time, man. I feel like if God is calling me to this door, I'll kinda push on it, and if it's open, I'll walk through it. But if it's not open, I'll stay in the room that I'm in.Your have a huge radio single, topping several different charts, over 50,000 albums sold, numerous tours—were these aspirations you had?Shust Maybe. If it were an aspiration, it was subconscious, subliminal. I have a lot of people coming to me with that situation. They ask for advice, "How do I make it in the Christian industry?" "How do you go from being a worship leader to a performing artist?" And well, [my answer is], "I'm still a worship leader. Sometimes I lead worship in Atlanta, and sometimes I'm leading worship in Fargo, North Dakota." The best [advice] I can give them is, "Bloom where you're planted."Although it's good to be a visionary and dream about what you want to do, God made us all different. And God has you here right now. Maybe you're doing music in your local church—maybe you're not even playing Sunday mornings, but Wednesday nights for the sixth graders. Do the best you can to play great music for the sixth grade group, and to the glory of God. Then maybe God will open doors for you to lead on Sunday morning, or maybe you'll get asked to open for a national act. Or maybe not. Maybe God wants you to be a local hero to the sixth graders for the rest of your time there. Bloom where you're planted.You signed with Brash Music, a "secular" indie label out of Atlanta. How was it that they got involved with you, an overtly Christian artist?Shust It's through a mutual friend that happens to be the producer of my album. This guy, a guitar player at my church, was building a studio in his basement. He said, "Hey, we should record some of these songs you've written." I said, "Sure." So he brought in this guy named Dan Hannon to be the producer, and Hannon is friends with Mike McCorey, the owner of Brash Music. They had lunch together and they were meeting about some songs that [Hannon] was working with, and McCorey said, "Do you have any other projects?" So he said, "Well, I recorded this Christian guy." He gave him the CD.Over the next couple of weeks, it eventually made it into his six-disc changer in his car. He heard my CD. He didn't know who I was. He didn't know I was that Christian guy. So he got through two or three tracks before he realized, "This guy's singing about God, I think." So he just felt the music was good. Brash Music says their genre is good music. I thought that was a compliment. I get along with them really well. I like working with them. I like the idea of just being a record label—not a Christian record label—a group of people that believe in music. So I said, "Sounds good to me."Christian music is particularly fond of outside success stories—it quickly wraps its arms around them. Do you find that strange?Shust I don't find that strange, although I'm incredibly flattered by it. Sometimes I pinch myself thinking, "Man, people play me on the radio." I don't think it's weird that Nashville is accepting it. It's just Christian music. It's just pop. It's music that people of all ages can say, "Hey, I like that song." So it's very validating that Nashville is putting its arm around me. It definitely encourages me to keep improving.Speaking of improvement, what's next? Do you fear the "one-hit wonder" label?Shust Absolutely. It's dangerous to think, "Okay, what's the next 'My Savior My God'? I have to write another [song like it]." I don't want to be formulaic. I don't want to sit down and say, "I need to write a hit." Because when I wrote the first set of songs, I didn't try to write a hit. I was just writing. I didn't know if any of them would flop or if all of them would be hits.
I've had people "compliment" me and say, "You can go ahead and write a second album, but it's never going to be as good as your first." Well, thank you. Don't tell me that. That's depressing. I just want to have a good focus about it. I want to make sure I'm living right with God. I need to stay in his Word. I need to allow him to speak to me.
And if he wants me to be a songwriter for a second album, he'll give me the songs, he'll give me the words, and hopefully they'll bless the lives of the people that listen to it, even if it's not a No. 1 album. That doesn't matter.