I have the opportunity to interview some very interesting people. As a journalist/reporter, I always get more information from an interview than will fit in an article. You can always edit down, if you don’t have enough to make your wordcount that’s a much bigger problem. I’ve had many people request to see the bits of the interviews that don’t make it into the articles I write. As a writer, my focus with these interviews (unless the article is going to promote an event or tour) is about gathering the celebrity’s faith story.
So here we go! (remember – this is the stuff that DIDN’T make into my articles)
Paul Brandt is the most awarded male country artist in Canadian history. I’ve followed this Albertan for a very long time (personally being a fan of country music). I can still remember being in high school and watching his music videos on CMT when he was playing in Nashville. I couldn’t keep the smile from my face everytime I saw that maple leaf beside his name on the TV (yes, I’m that patriotic). I published portions of this interview in Toronto’s Christian Herald and Calgary’s City Light News, and Faith Today.
He’s calling from his “office” outside Calgary which he had to shovel a path through the snow drifts to get to because we spoke in mid-December. The office is also known as the barn. He’s got a bit of cold, but that didn’t stop him from taking time to chat with me. I answer my phone. “Hello, this is Paul Brandt,” he says in that deep cowboy voice he’s so well known for. *swoon*
LHW: What’s your favorite Scripture verse and why?
PB: I always find this a really tough question because there’s so many great verses and there’s a lot of go-tos for me. I was in Haiti just over a week ago and it was part of a project for the Build It Forward Foundation. The idea for the project came when we helped the people of Slave Lake after the fire. [We did a concert there to raise money and] asked if they would donate back part of the money raised back to Haiti. It was really inspiring. The project in Slave Lake was to rebuild a library that had burned down, and in Haiti it was to rebuild a church and a playground and soccer field that had come down after the earthquake. We put up a plaque when we were done and this is the verse I put on it. Romans 4:17
I like the NIV version: “‘I have made you a father of many nations. ‘He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.” That’s the one that really moves me. Our ability to risk and have faith is part of a gift God has given us and our ability to call things that are not into existence – our creativity – comes because we’re made in His image. I really like that idea.
LHW: You were raised in a Christian home. When did your faith become your own (instead of something your parents did)? Was there an event or circumstance or crisis of faith that led you to follow Christ?
PB: Just like any other relationship when you meet somebody you kinda know them, but you really get to know them as time goes on and you start to trust them. I was only 5 but I knew the difference between right and wrong, before my parents had become believers, and I heard one of my friends use God’s name in vain so I thought I’d try and I felt so guilty. I told my mom and she said, “Well, maybe not say that anymore.” I was at an age when I understood the difference between right and wrong and I gave my life to God at 6 when I got my first introduction to Jesus and that He loved me so much He died for me.
(This last bit made it into the article, but made sense to include it here as it was part of his answer.)
I remember my faith became the most real to me when I got a record deal at 21. I was in Nashville doing 190 shows a year. People were interested in what I thought and what I believed, and when they asked me that there were 5 or 6 cameras in my face. Am I going to take this relationship seriously? That’s when my faith became more real to me.
LHW: What’s next for Paul Brandt? Another album? More humanitarian work?
PB: There’s this idea in the Bible that music is written on the hearts of men. We all have that God-shaped hole and music was created to worship. I play the first few notes of “Convoy” or “Alberta Bound” and people raise their hands like it’s a church service. We’re all trying to put something on a pedestal. Rather than be a Christian country music singer I want to be a country music singer who’s a Christian. The fact that my priorities are God first, second, third, fourth, fifth is the funnel I put everything through when I’m creating. It’s all music I’m hoping He’ll use to point people toward Him in some way.
If you follow Paul Brandt on Facebook, you’ll know he’s working on a new album. Make sure you click through and check it out.
If you don’t know who Paul Brandt is, definitely check out this video. It’s one of my personal favorites. Enjoy!
Did you enjoy this? Should I post a few more of the many interview extra bits (with many celebrities) I have? Let me know in the comments. Are you familiar with Paul Brandt? Does this make you want to check out his music?